It’s no good. I’ve so far resisted the urge to blog about Google Buzz, choosing instead to read the deluge of posts and tweets from the big players that have inundated the web since the latest hot thing entered the digital media fray a couple of weeks back. But I’m now compelled to throw my hat into the ring like the small-time challenger up against the unbeaten heavyweight champion of the world. Or something.
Google Buzz has created more, well, ‘buzz’ than Google could possibly have hoped for over the last week or so. But it seems to have been both positive and disparaging in equal measure. “Google Buzz Has Completely Changed The Game”, said some. “The Day Social Became Anti-Social”, said others. One thing would seem to be certain, however: the social web will never be the same again.
Personally speaking, I’m a big fan of Google (despite my last blog post). I wouldn’t even think of using Bing or Yahoo to search, Reader is a staple of my day, Chrome is now my browser of choice, Gmail wipes the floor with other webmail services, and I bought (and love) an Android mobile. But I’m far from convinced about Buzz. It’s like the anarchic bastard-child of an unlikely union between Twitter and Facebook. If YouTube were a Presidential candidate, Buzz would be the in-bred, redneck cousin paid to keep quiet. Except that there’s no way Buzz will keep quiet.
Buzz takes the ‘bull in a china shop’ approach to social media, generating unbearable noise and mess when its intention is to tidy the social web into one, convenient and easy-to-use hub. Leaving aside the privacy concerns that have largely dominated the media since Buzz launched and which Google has been quick to address, Buzz is a series of contradictions. It was genius to put Buzz into Gmail, with a 176 million strong instant network. This has generated around 160,000 posts and comments per hour. And yet this is also a threat, as who in their right mind is going to ditch Facebook, which is the largest social media hub by a country mile and yet is not integrated into Buzz?
Buzz is intended to give the user total control over their own personal social web. But it creates a never-ending stream of consciousness in your inbox that makes it virtually impossible to keep any sort of order. Similarly, filtering and highlighting popular, and therefore supposedly relevant, content seemed at first to be a great idea. Until you realise that this means that ‘popular’ means content with lots of comments, and that this means that blogs like Mashable (which must be loving Buzz, by the way!) dominate your inbox. I could go on.
I didn’t get Twitter for a long while, but now I love it. So maybe in a few months I’ll have changed my mind? I’d love to hear your initial thoughts on Buzz below…
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