Friday, July 15, 2011

Google+: New Car Smell or Valuable Force Multiplier?

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Pardon my initial skepticism but I live on the "battlefield of life" where time is a scarce resource and consequently I tend to budget it tightly when it comes to testing new technology tools. My typical method of inquiry includes questions such as: Is it the "new car smell" that's caught my attention? Could it be the different gizmos and gadgets that give it a "shiny penny" appearance? Or does it have real potential to be a force multiplier on a fluid battlefield, overcoming the scarcity of time and leveraging what it takes to accomplish my mission and achieve our vision?

You see, twenty-two years of military training in mission analysis leads me to make quick on-the-fly evaluations of new ideas, tossing down any that don't readily appear on the outset to be of value in overcoming MODD (things that make our day difficult), as I traverse the avenue of approach to the objective.

Twitter proved quickly to be a valuable force multiplier.  It's leveraged my ever-shrinking time resources to provide me with a "drive-thru" personal learning network (PLN), helping me defeat the MODD and close on the objective. The old way of reading every journal or new professional book, attending lengthy conferences, or taking more graduate-level courses was an inefficient time consumer. Twitter has compacted that learning and even made it mobile.

Facebook has proven to be a force multiplier, too, although I sometimes question the overall value. It certainly allows me to maintain professional and personal relationships with a relatively small investment of time. Let's face it (no pun intended), relationships are inherently time consuming and while Facebook is no substitute for face-to-face relationships, it's the next best thing when time resources have become thin. And you have to admit that compared to a hundred years ago, when communications meant writing a letter and waiting weeks for a reply, both Twitter and Facebook have certainly been force multipliers in speeding up communications and make battlefield decisions.

Other Google attempts at social networking have proven a bust, at least to me. They took far too much time in setting up, learning the ropes and building networks, especially if an extensive, suitable network has already been established via Twitter or Facebook. Now comes Google+ and once again I'm naturally curious while skeptical that it will prove any more valuable as a force multiplier. In the meantime, the daily disruptions of the battlefield demand attention and results. There is little time to enjoy that new car smell.

Time will tell but then again, time is a limited resource.