So Google have finally dived head-first into the social networking pool and created… well, quite a BUZZ!
Obviously it’s still early days, but that never stopped anyone having an opinion before so here goes. Whatever happened to the Google we all knew and loved? You know, the one that was obsessed with simplicity and clean interfaces. I thought Wave was bad enough, but now along comes Buzz to add even more clutter to my toolbars.
We all know that limitations feed creativity. Just as in Jaws, when a young Steven Spielberg was forced to create one of the greatest films of all-time because his technical marvel (Bruce, the mechanical shark) didn’t work, Twitter’s 140 characters have led me to some of the most inspiring conversations and serendipitous connections of my life. Google’s attempt to reimagine the social network with Uncle Tom Cobley and all has left my head spinning.
Google seems to have lost sight of simplicity in favour of relevancy. This almost fanatical compulsion to rank every single piece of data has even led them to suggest that updates from your friends with only a few words are not as important and as such have been relegated to the bottom of the stream. Almost every amazing thing that has happened to me via Twitter has been completely random, and unless Google have created some kind of serendipity filter relevancy is just not something I feel can be broken down into an algorithm in social conversation.
Dunbar’s number, currently thought to be about 150, is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. Robin Dunbar theorized that “this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.” Relevancy is already hard-wired into our brains, as anyone who’s ever spent an evening clearing out their Twitter stream knows all to well.
Maybe I’m just too old for this shit, and when my kids are Buzzing their FaceSpace Friends on YouFlickr I’ll be left Tweeting with all the other old farts. But until then, you can find me @stuartwitts. Say hello, you never know what might happen 🙂
Hat tip > Eric Burke