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Agility is the word: Whither G+?

If you teach with technology, you learn that nothing is forever.

My pre-service library grad students recently expressed concern about jumping in when we have no guarantee of platform immortality.  The problem is that, if you wait, you risk not experiencing anything.

Another lesson you learn is that, along with grit, agility is an essential disposition.  Despite the hopes you have when you make a platform discovery that works, evolution is part of the process.

So I simply sighed this week Mashable,  Forbes, The Verge and Information Week and a number of other social media news sites discussed change in leaders and some very fuzzy predictions of change within the Google+ brand itself.

Though it is hard to identify specifics among the clues bloggers are piecing together, it appears that Google is planning to split G+ into parts, placing emphasis on the photo editing and sharing elements, as well as Hangouts.

I suppose as one of those devoted core group members described in several of those posts I read, I’ve become very fond of G+ Communities.  I don’t really know what the future looks like for Communities, but I hope it remains part of the plan.  For me, Communities presents a space for promoting events, for sharing news with particular focus, for private peer review of student products, for easy connecting via Hangouts, for polling and hosting mini-threaded discussions without the personal noise of Facebook.

In his Forbes post, David Pierce celebrates Google’s own agility and advises:

But don’t write the obituary yet. It would be a mistake to call this a retreat, or an admission of failure. This is actually Google doing what Google does best: relentlessly optimizing its products based on data and feedback. There’s a small but very dedicated core of Google+ users, for whom Streams will now simply be a cleaner, more focused product. (At least, until Google kills it off, as is its ruthless tendency with power-user products like Reader. Actually, let’s not talk about that, I’m still not ready.) The truth is that when Google launched Google+, it actually launched three things. What it didn’t realize was that the two that weren’t “the social network,” Hangouts and Photos, were actually the future of social networking.

Speaking of obits, this Google Graveyard poster created by WordStream, shares some memorable retired projects from which many of us migrated.  While it happens across the brands, I particularly grieved iGoogle, WonderWheel and Reader.   Before adopting my new agile posture, I lamented my personally deep losses in a post: Google’s Evolution of Search, my lament, and will a giant listen?

I am aware that some people’s chaff is other people’s wheat.  While there’s no timetable, I am on alert to the possibility that I may need migrate the Communities I’ve established over the last couple of years–those I build for my courses, as well as those I built or helped to build for projects like GlobalTL and TLChat.

While I am not certain of what will happen, I am gearing up to migrate.  It won’t be the first time.


Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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