Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plus one

Like every other semi-tech-savvy-ish twenty-something in the country, I've secured an invite to Google Plus and started playing around with the Circle feature. It's a pretty cool solution to the eternal quandary of what to share with which of one's friends. The dog haters need not be bombarded with micro-updates about the latest developments regarding little puppy Willow's upcoming arrival, and my guy conservative friends need not be bothered by my fashion dilemmas.

Of course, this all works for politics. I can create a separate circle for libertarians and another for libertarians plus conservatives and easily share only thoughts that will likely be agreeable to each group with them. On the one hand, this is good; Facebook is not a great forum for political debates, and I don't want to annoy my non-libertarian friends (say, people from high school or childhood) with the kind of crankery that my D.C. based policy friends eat up. On the other, it means that I miss opportunities for conversion. Not that anyone's likely to undergo a radical conversion overnight thanks to a 400 character update; I get that. But maybe a slow and steady accumulation of exposure to alien views might slowly move an acquaintance in a new direction. It would be sort of sad -- not tragic, but a little bit unfortunate nonetheless -- if embrace of Google's new platform makes people less likely to encounter opposing ideas than they would be otherwise.

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