Google Plus? But I don’t have friends there!

“No matter how good Google Plus is, it won’t be fun if my friends aren’t there!”

In my last post I listed 21 reasons why you should ditch Facebook and switch to Google+. 21, folks. That’s a lot of reasons. The issue, of course, is how good a platform/service has to be to get you to give up Facebook, when Facebook is where nearly all of your friends are, and the main reason you use Facebook probably isn’t all the geeky technical reasons I listed in that post, but to have online fun with your friends. That’s valid, and I want to address that in this post.

On a certain level, there is no persuasive argument against this. If your friends are not on a social network, it is not very social, and there would seem to be little reason to use it. So why would you want to switch to Google Plus if you don’t have friends there?

1. Chances are good you have more friends there than you think

I am not suggesting you have scores of friends there (although it’s possible), but perhaps more than you think. In response to my previous post, someone told me they didn’t “know anyone” there except for me. One of his friends then responded to him, “What? You’re on Google Plus? I didn’t know that, so am I!”  Google Plus, right now, has roughly 1/5 as many users as Facebook. But 1/5 of 900 million is still 180 million people, more users than Twitter.  Google Plus is the number two social network, and it has only been around for a year and a half. Chances are decent that you know a few of its 180 million users.

2. Out of all of your Facebook friends, how many of them regularly post things that interest you?

How many have you muted so you never see their posts at all? How many would you be okay if you never heard from again, but you just haven’t wanted to hurt their feelings by unfriending them? If you could take a subset of your Facebook friends with you to G+, how many would suffice to make it an interesting place to be, especially given the frustration and garbage you’ll lose by ditching Facebook? I still don’t have enough on  Google Plus to make it as fun as I’d like, but that’s partly because…  

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To my dear Facebook friends

My dear Facebook friends:

What I am about to say will not be easy to hear. But I am saying it because I l care about you and want what’s best for you. After all, if you had a booger on your lip, I’d tell you. If you had toilet paper sticking out of your pants, I’d tell you. If you had bad breath, I’d give you a mint.

In the name of all that’s holy, as a creature created by a loving God who wants good things for you, please, please, please consider checking out Google+. There is so much better out there for you than Facebook. It’s hidden in plain sight. There are hundreds of millions of people right now with boogers on their lips and most of us are doing almost nothing. It’s a crisis, and I have to speak out.

Please remove that booger. One day you’ll be so embarrassed! (Remember MySpace?) I know it’s hard to hear, but I had to tell you this. Friends don’t let friends wallow in Facebook’s mud when there’s a crystal clear pool within reach. But in order for the transition to work, a lot of people need to move over there at once. So get ready.

1…2…3…JUMP! Enjoy your new found freedom!

Friend or refriend me on Facebook!

As I have moved more seriously into writing I have realized that I need to develop my personal online identity better. From now on here is how you will be able to contact me:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/davidkflowers5

Twitter: http://twitter.com/davidkflowers5

Google+: http://gplus.to/davidkflowers5

Blog: http://davidkflowers.com

Email: dave at davidkflowers dot com

This blog will no longer be available at thefallencleric.com effective November 3. As of that date, it can only be accessed at http://davidkflowers.com. Thank you for your patience as I learn how to present myself more professionally online.

Faking It On Facebook

I am socially awkward.  Socially I’m somewhere between Rain Man and someone just a hair less socially awkward than Rain Man. Okay, I’m not actually that socially awkward – I mean, not in the way I come off to other people.  But most social situations for me are painful.  Sometimes people say, “How can you be a preacher and feel that way?”  The answer?  I read from a manuscript.  I write down every single word I’m going to say and by the time I say those words I have thought about them for days.  I have had plenty of time to make sure I won’t say anything stupid.  This means I only feel stupid about some of what I say instead of most of what I say.  It may not show, but if I bump into you on the street corner, or after church, and we’re doing the “small talk” thing, I’m sweating it out.

Terry Scott Taylor, a brilliant songwriter and lyricist, writes of all those times he lays in bed with what he should have said.

With what I should have said I would know in advance
I’m the master of banter the King of Romance
the guy in the center whose leading the dance,
not the kid in the corner with the big pair of pants
And now I’m in bed with what I should have said

Source: Terry Scott Taylor, With What I Should Have Said

This is why I dig blogging.  And Facebook.   And email.  They are writing mediums, and as such, I am easily able to fake it.  This new world that is increasingly connected by means of the written word – that world, dear reader, is my oyster.  I can be the guy who says clever things and knows what’s up.  I can be the one who writes about stuff like marriage and parenting and living in truth, and seem like I really have it together.  I get to live out this mythology of competence and expertise.  I can take on only those topics where I am confident I can look as good as I want to look.

What is real life?  In real life I’m the gomer who doesn’t really know how to talk to people about the weather, and sports, and the traffic on I-69 this morning, and how they’re doing in their jobs.  I’m the nutty professor – the guy who can think constantly about abstract and lofty concepts and dizzy you with words and ideas.  But I suck at small talk and everyday social life is, for me, constant second-guessing and embarrassment.  But there’s a bottom line here.  If I am going to convey to people that I care about them (which I do – very deeply), I simply must keep learning how to connect with them, even if I never become comfortable with much of what is required.  As much as I’d love to text message people I’m standing directly in front of, it’s probably not a strategy for healthy relationships.  Or for avoiding getting punched in the face.

So how do you compensate?  How do you set up your life so as to avoid discomfort?  How do you insulate yourself from your fear of looking or feeling stupid?  Is there a chance you need to expose yourself a little bit more often to the very things that scare you?  Remember that it’s okay to drift toward your “sweet spot,” but it’s important to move out of your comfort zone sometimes and engage other people in ways that matter to them. This will keep your relationships strong, and strong relationships make for a happy life.