Worldview: Random thoughts from a wandering mind: You’re so angry, you probably think this post is about you…

(With apologies to Carly Simon…)

So, here it goes: everybody is offended these days and it’s likely nobody who doesn’t already agree with you cares.

I’m guilty of it. So are you. So is almost everyone, especially if you are any kind of user of social media. We’re all angry and we’re not going to take it anymore.

Except, yes we are.

There’s a curious thing about offendedness in the current era. For the most part, people are angry and they’re doing things because of their anger. The problem is that most of the things they’re doing don’t end up doing anything about the things they’re angry about.

Instead, their efforts come down to various measures of passive-aggressive uses of force to compel others into doing things their way without making much attempt at all to convince those who may disagree of their point of view. These are, at best, hollow and Pyrrhic victories that sow the seeds of future discord and backlash.

And so we’ve entered an era of hurling insults, casting stones, passing laws, and generally brutalizing one another without any real effect.

Well, any real effect except one: the perception things are getting worse is a direct result of this nonsensical process.

This is not to say there are not real reasons to be concerned about the state of the world or to even be angry about that state. Rather, it is to call into question the way we are dealing with it. The preponderance of evidence is that the problems are real but that our responses to them are ineffective.

History shows us many things, and one of the things it shows us most is that anger and force rarely accomplish the things they set out to in the long run. What most effectively changes the course of events is dialog and compromise. What makes things better is the active attempt to make things better.

Until we set aside our angry offendedness and start looking at how we’re going to actually fix the things we find wrong with society and the world, all we are going to end up with is more angry offendedness.

The irony is that your choice of action will be defined by how you respond to this post, even if I never know what it is. Is this post about you?

DLH

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Science and Technology: My first impression of Google+

I have to hand it to the people at Google. They managed to create a lot of buzz about their latest project, getting millions of people to start using it in less than a month. Unfortunately for Google, my first reaction to Google+ is, “So what?”

It’s not that Google+ is a bad product. It’s more that it’s a product that does not yet have a need. It’s a superficial clone of all the other social media experiments going on out there that doesn’t add a whole lot new to what people are already doing.

That’s not to say it couldn’t. Google has the potential to weave together its impressive array of products using Google+ in a way that could revolutionize the way people use computers and the internet. But, so far that hasn’t happened. Instead, Google+ is a sophisticated chat board.

So, what would I like to see in Google+ that would get me excited? Here are a few things:

  • I already use a battery of different services to maintain an online presence. Having to migrate all of that information to Google+ by hand is the single biggest detriment to me using it. If Google wants its product to be amazing, figure out a way to let me import information from places like Facebook and LinkedIn so I don’t have to reproduce it.
  • Create a way to support groups. Facebook may have botched the attempt, but it had a good idea in introducing the concept.
  • Tie Blogger,  Google Docs, Sites, and other Google based web presence applications into Google+. For me, my Facebook pages, especially for my businesses, are valuable enough to deal with the annoyance of the rest of Google.
  • Figure out a way to tell me my streams have updated in some sort of unobtrusive way.

I think the biggest thing Google could do is develop Google+ with business applications in mind. Make Google+ a clearinghouse for small businesses trying to get the word out about who they are and what they do, and I think people would join in droves.

DLH

Read more at my Science and Technology site...