Tragedy of the google+ Commons
Have you ever heard of the “tragedy of the commons”?
Well let me ‘splain it to those in Rio Linda… From the oracle called Wikipedia…
The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen.
That my friend is google+.
We are the individual, rational actors, and the scarce resource is our time and attention. Read the tragedy definition again. Now think about your social networks.
Dead on IMHO.
We graze the initial social network common pasture until our attention and time resource is depleted and then we move on to new common land - and do it all over again.
I ask you…Can we do it different this time?
Google + - Heading off the Tragedy
I’ll go on record that I like google+.
I like it because…
- I feel like I have more control of my experience with the way circles work (real or imagined - it works the way my brain works)
- I believe that google will innovate and change based on the input they receive during their “beta”
- I think they will innovate faster than other platforms
- If I’m going to invest the time and energy in a social platform I want to be on one that works the way I do and will grow and change as my needs change - in sync with my change schedule.
I believe google+ will do that.
However, But, Although…
The tragedy is developing - but we can stem the tide.
Because google+ is new we are at a point where we can actually manage the commons and make it what it could be.
Here are my thoughts on how we can better manage the commons…
First and foremost - Guy Kawasaki.
Sorry dude. Loved your book Rules for Revolutionaries. Don’t love that you feel the need to push every freakin’ thought, link, idea, brain-fart out to the public.
Jeez Guy… take a break. Add value. You’re a marketing and VC person - I don’t follow you to figure out how to take better pictures. Find a niche and stick with it.
Unfortunately, there is some corn in there now and then, so I do have you in circle by yourself and a few others who have a huge noise to signal ratio.
Ultimately, this is about one or two people using more of the resource than others… even though it is common and pretty abundant now… it won’t stay that way forever.
Sustainability isn’t just for Mother Earth. Is is for Aunt Internet too…
Second - Businesses staking claim in the G+ land grab.
Hey - google said they’d do something for you in the future - something built around your needs and desires. How about you wait for it and let the rest of us just enjoy the conversation? I don’t need you showing up at my party and interrupting my discussions with friends and acquaintances with information YOU think is valuable and “I” find insulting. Wait your turn.
Just so you know - I’m keeping track and when you finally get your space on G+ I’m gonna make sure you get blasted as being a spammer and a pain in my ass.
Third - The Need to PUSH everything to somewhere…
I addressed this issue in my previous rant on G+. But please google - DO NOT ALLOW pushing INTO G+ from other services. Let me push out - but not in. Please, please, please. That just makes it easier to be a spam haven and to deplete our resources faster.
Fourth - People who forget that google is a business and that they are providing a service (the commons) to us and it’s their product.
The metaphor of G+ being “common” kinda breaks down a bit here - but they have set aside some land for us to play on - and some rules. We should try to abide by some of them.
So you don’t like the fact that google wants you to have a real name? Tough. It’s their ball - they can play whatever game they want and you can deal with it. I’m sure they will make allowances for those that want to go by hipster-cool weird made-up names (can you say “Situation”.)
I for one, like the fact they have some strict rules about creating profiles. It makes me feel like this might stay a conversational medium and not a spamfest (see previous point.)
I know you don’t like it… but to say that G+ is bad because your hippie Mom and Dad named you “7” isn’t my problem or google’s.
Will they allow pseudonyms in the future?
Probably - but don’t think they have a moral obligation to allow any form and manner of naming convention. This is their product. You don’t like it - leave - go back to Facebook or twitter or MySpace. How about just providing constructive feedback and keep the holier-than-thou attitude to yourself?
Fifth - Public Posts 100% - 24/7
I watch whether folks are publishing to limited circles or to the public. If 100% of what you’re publishing is going to “public” - you don’t want conversation - you’re worried about conversion. I get it - you got a business to run.
Me too. I do it different than you. Cool.
But realize, pushing everything to your public circle means you aren’t thinking - you’re just broadcasting. And I don’t need another medium for that - I got twitter.
I know I shouldn’t be telling folks how to use G+. I’m really not. I’m saying if you choose to use it that way (your right) I will choose to not pay any attention to you (my right) - see how this works - cool huh?
The Net Net
Acting in our self interest - I get that.
Heck I do a lot on social networks myself. But I watch what I do and take into account the limited resources we all have. But acting in self interest - when ultimately it will not help you is just stupid.
Hence the tragedy and the dilemma.
Please - let’s not have a tragedy on google+.
Let’s preserve the landscape and use it to the best use of ALL of us.