In Defense of Google Plus

CLMOOC Google Plus

It feels odd and strange, defending the information-sucking, ad-selling, money-making Google behemoth here, but the recent news of the demise of Google Plus is actually worth a mention, given so much of the negativity it has seemed to arouse in people in some networked spaces. Putting aside the recent privacy breach (which is always something alarming and maybe should not be put aside at all … forgive me), I’ve read with some frustration as folks in some of my other networked spaces have mocked Google Plus, along the lines of “only three people who use it will care” to “Google Plus is still here?” to “Why would anyone use Plus?” and so on.

I get it. Google Plus never caught on with the masses, and is often listed as a “failed” experiment for Google. I get it.

But I have to tell you, Plus has been quite useful for a handful of projects that I have been involved in. In particular, the Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration (CLMOOC) has long used its CLMOOC Google Plus space (3,000-plus members) as a way to easily share media files, engage in quick conversations and check-ins, and organize Make Cycles.

CLMOOC itself, as an experience, is never in one place for anyone person, so the Google Plus space was always just one of many platforms being used by folks to explore art and learning and making and connected learning.

Still, Plus was quite useful for what it was, providing a flowing connecting point of easy sharing. In particular, the sharing of images — for ongoing ventures like SilentSunday or Doodling — and adding video files was somewhat easy to figure out. Sure, things got lost in the mix as new material was added, but that’s what connected spaces are like.

Everything is always in flow.

And compared to the terrible visual design of Facebook (which is still, despite all that money flowing in, an awful mess to my eyes and gives me headaches whenever I happen to look at it, which is not very often) and unsteady tinkering of Twitter (which I use and still find useful), Google Plus — with its tiling box-like post formats — worked for me. I actually liked the organization of it. I found it useful.

I’ll miss it.

What happens to the CLMOOC G+ space now? It will probably disappear, but I figure with connected work, that is always bound to happen at some time. We will still have our main website hub (Thanks, Karen) and folks will continue to share and connect in other spaces, online and offline (postcards, anyone?). Some of us will investigate some other possibilities for sharing. Maybe it will open up more doors for more projects in other exploratory spaces. Who knows.

CLMOOC was always more than the technology and still will be.

Peace (the defense rests),


  1. Kevin, I feel the same way, and note all the spaces NWP has used G+ for. We’re now searching for where to move the collections, for example. If you have ideas, post them in the thread on Yammer.

    I always thought the problem (outside of the Google issues you correctly mention) was that they couldn’t see what it actually was good for.

  2. MeWe seems to be a popular alternative to Google Plus that many groups are migrating too. The open groups are poorly categorized at the moment, in my opinion, but with more quality open groups joining MeWe the chaff will be drowned out.

    I am not sure how collections would work in MeWe, but with experimentation, I’m sure they too can be migrated. Perhaps MeWe will add features as more G+ groups and presenters join.

  3. Totally agree about Facebook! I never understand how it determines what comes up on my feed, and finding older information is practically impossible! It also seems to be morphing into a “special interest,” “garage sale,” and “post events” platform, which is actually very useful for those purposes.

  4. Great obituary for Google+. I would add that back in 2012 when the #clmooc, #etmooc, #dlmooc were launching, Google+ was the place where everyone met.

    It’s only been in the years since that #clmooc spread to other platforms and G+ became the road less traveled. Yet, like any road, it had a hotel that was home, where we could all gather and share, as you’ve said so well.

    I agree with the negative reviews of Facebook. I’m there, but can’t really figure it out. Happy to see that the #clmooc there has regular contributions and interactions.

    I’ve used Inoreader to aggregate links to blogs like this one, so that is a way to stay informed and connected to a few who I have begun to build relationships with since first meeting on Google+..

    I’ll keep following you all to see what the next meeting space will be.

  5. Nice reflection Kevin.

    One of the things to note is that it is not the death of Google Plus, but rather death of Google Plus for consumers. It is uncertain what this will look like. Surely they will allow users outside of the domain, but I am not sure how this will all play out.

    Reading this update from a few months ago about the ability to add a Google Group to a community:

    We’re adding the ability to directly add users and Google Groups as members of Google+ Communities. When a moderator adds a group, group members are automatically added to the community. Subsequent updates to the group membership are automatically reflected in the community membership.

    I wonder then if the workflow will involve a process of adding people to a group and subseqeuntly to the community? If this is the case, it maybe possible to use Plus for CLMOOC (and any other project) as long as the community is housed in a particular instance of Google for Work.

    Personally, I think that Plus has had its day, but if it works within the context in question then I still reckon there would be options moving forward.

    Also on: Read Write Collect

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