It’s all change in social media

The Google+ redesign is the latest change to shake up social media users. Some like it, some don’t, but what matters is whether people continue to use Google+ and more people take to it. It’s the same with other social media services.

It’s surprising that many people still don’t take change in their stride. I admit to being able to remember when, in the mid-1980s, some travel agents objected to having their dumb terminal travel reservation systems replaced by PCs. They had become attached to these boxes and didn’t want new boxes to replace them.

Since then we’ve gone from DOS to Windows, seen the Mac OS, Linux and mobile operating systems arrive, flocked online to build html web pages, then abandoned them for content management systems and are now immersing ourselves in social media services.

I’m sure social media won’t be the final development or change we see. Computing and communication change daily: a new feature appears and a familiar one disappears. Changes are not always for the better, but those who make them hope they are. Where these make life easier and are useful, people tend to go along with them; where they make usage impossible, people can respond by abandoning that service.

Do I like the new Google+? I liked the clean design of the previous version, but I’ve just written a workshop on using Google+ and find I am now using it more. For me, it is becoming more usable.

I’m glad that the new version was released before I wrote the workshop, but it has reminded me that the material I’ve written now will soon have to change to reflect future developments. Nothing stays the same.

Keeping up with change

Sometimes it’s easy to think that everything is changing so fast that it’s hard to keep up with every new development. While there certainly is lots of change, when you look closely often the fundamentals have not changed much, if at all.

In terms of communication, that is certainly true. There are so many twitter and social media tools being launched, some of them very useful, that deciding which ones to use can be a challenge. I know I can’t use them all so I decide which ones offer the features I want and are easy to use.

Ultimately, all these tools are there only to help us communicate effectively. Knowing what we want to say and how to say it so that other people understand us remains the primary task. Everything else is secondary. Yes, tools can boost efficiency and effectiveness, but if the signal we send out is garbled, all they will do is amplify confusion.


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