Social Media

Did Google+ fail?

I was one of those very excited and enthusiastic people when Google+ started. I told everyone I know about it. I promote it within my Facebook friends. I wanted everyone to move to Google+. I very much liked the idea of “Circles.” But Google+ failed miserably to attract Facebook users. Furthermore, it failed to keep its users like myself excited about it for the following reasons:

  • A newbie or a business owner can add 4,000 Google+ users in his circles within couple of hours hoping to be added back.
  • Some attention seekers started irritating other users by continuously posting junks.
  • Unlike Facebook and because of the circles feature all posts are impersonal.
  • Instead of writing a concise post or comment some users write long paragraphs.
  • When humans like something they say “like” not “+1”.
  • Posting photos is much slower than in Facebook.
  • Beside the hang out feature, which I never used or going to use, noting significantly new is added.
  • If you can get the original (Facebook) why use an imitation copy (Google+).

There are much more bad things about Google+ but this is a quick list. To be fair, the blame is not only on Google+ it is also on those users who don’t know how to use social media by just posting links of articles they didn’t read, animated pictures circulated 1000 of times, stupid videos, and just pure junk.

It seems Google+ is another unsuccessful Google project.

I have to say sorry to Facebook because I doubted you.

Social Media · Technology

Online Communication Etiquette

Although it has been millions of years since the humankind started communicating face-to-face, we still see many fall behind in this real life course. To make things worse, we now are introduced to a new kind of communication that we have never learned how to deal with in school or at home; the online communication etiquette.

Our parents taught us to say “thank you” and “excuse me.” These are complete, powerful, nice, and kind statements that mean a lot and serve a purpose. In school, we developed even better communication skills. We learned how to talk to strangers, how to acknowledge others and how to engage in a discussion with more than two persons.

My real world communication skills are very good. I know when to listen and when to speak. I know when and how to initiate a conversation and when the other party doesn’t want to engage in the conversation. I know when my students are nodding their heads as a result of agreeing with me or comprehending the material, and when they are nodding to fool me that they are following but in reality they are not. I know when to shake hand and when not.

On the other hand, my skills and etiquette in the online communication are very bad. Neither my parents nor my school taught me what to say or do when a stranger send me a Facebook friend request, or when someone doesn’t answer my Facebook friend request. Or someone doesn’t follow me back on twitter. No one informs you that they stopped following you on twitter, out of a sudden. All these behaviors are considered very rude in the real world. Imagine speaking to someone in front of you and he/she doesn’t answer you or even acknowledge your question.

When I joined Twitter I followed people but many of them didn’t follow back. Being new to twitter I unfollowed them, thinking it is rude not to follow back. Later, I decided it was naïve to do such thing. And since I wanted to hear news about Jordan I had a following mania. I followed more than 300 most of them tweet from Jordan. In the beginning, it was fun to be on top of what is happening in Jordan. It was great to be able to follow the news about #March24 Protest Camp in Amman . But then months later, more than 150 of those who I followed didn’t follow me back. So, I decided to unfollow.

As I said, I lack the etiquette of online communication. I just followed and unfollowed people twice in less than a year. Of course I didn’t inform them because they were not following me in the first place. I am not saying that everyone you follow should follow you back. It is, in some case, unreasonable and it is their choice to follow you or not. But not following back could be interpreted for different reasons. And since we lack the online communication etiquette we will never know why someone is not following back. It could be one or more of the followings:

  • It could be a polite message to the follower that you can follow me but I wish you don’t
  • They have thousands of followers and hence they can’t follow back everyone
  • You are not adding much to their online presence. I think I fall in this category since I only tweet my new posts. Twitter still not my thing
  • You tweet too much, or your tweets are useless, or any other reason that they don’t feel they should follow you back
  • Some individuals think it is prestigious if the number of their followers is more than the number of people they follow
  • and whatever other reasons

I found I have a problem with my online communication etiquette when I started using Twitter and when I started receiving comments and subscriptions to my blog. I never for example thanked any of my blog subscribers. I even didn’t acknowledge their subscriptions which now while I am writing this feel it is very rude and unprofessional. I wasn’t sure if I should do that or not. I think it would be a nice gesture but I never did it. I wasn’t taught what to do and what not in such case. It is totally a new realm for me. No one knows if we should acknowledge every comment to our blog or not. I know some Jordanian bloggers like Rand and Whisper do it. For some other bloggers like the Black-Iris it could be almost impossible with thousands of readers per post.  I many times feel I have nothing to add to the comment on my blog but maybe a thank you would be enough. But again, it is a new communication skill that I need to learn about.

Facebook communication etiquette is much easier to learn than Twitter. When I send a friend request I always send an email with it. Informing the person that they should not feel obliged to accept my request. Some people reply back when they don’t feel comfortable accepting this request others ignore to reply back.

We all know to be successful we need to have a good communication skill. There are thousands of publications, courses and events about learning, developing and acquiring these skills. Unfortunately, most of these, if not all, publications are limited to the real world communication. Maybe it is time for the people in the social networking to start addressing these issues and start an online communication etiquette course. I am sure some on top of this business people already started addressing this issue but I think it is still undeveloped and in its early stage.

For everyone who reads and comments on this blog I would like to say thank you. And a special “THANK YOU!” to those who I have never thanked or acknowledge before, my dear subscribers. I know it is late but I am learning a new skill, the online communication etiquette. Without these comments and subscriptions I would never know if someone out there is reading my posts or not.

Social Media · Writing


I treat this blog as my not so private journal. It helps me record segments of my life and thoughts. I have another two blogs one for my teaching and another one for my research. The one for teaching I use to update students by posting new notes, algorithms, assignments, etc. I found the dynamic blog to be better than a static website. Students like it. I knew that from the students’ end of semester evaluation forms. My research blog is not as good as it should be. I found that blogging is not the best way to keep a journal for the research. I use other tools to keep track of my research work.

The most I like about writing in my journal is it reduces stress. I use it as a relaxation tool. It is a way for me to vent. Although, when things get really bad and while I am wearing my black hat I vent into my spiral notebook. Some thoughts are better kept hidden from the public.

Many bloggers left for a younger trendier social media called Twitter. But I don’t think Twitter can replace blogging. Twitter is very helpful when it comes to know something about everything. My best usage of Twitter is to follow the news media I usually browse their websites. Instead of browsing each individual media website, now I can read the latest news headlines from one place and decide what I want to read, skim or ignore. Of course, there are more useful usages of Twitter. I am trying to discover or like them one by one, slowly.

I am still a fan of blogging. I enjoy reading concise one page posts. The Chronicle has a good article about different types of journals and the benefits of journaling:

Journaling regularly relieves stress

Journaling help you keep a list of things you are grateful for

Journaling can help you record your short-term goals to help you achieve them

Journaling reminds yourself of your intentions

Journaling reminds you of your mistakes (to show you how you overcame them)

Journaling allows a place for honesty

Journaling helps you overcome writer’s block

Journaling records the highs and the lows of your year

Journaling provides an outlet for pent up emotions

Journaling gives dreams and ideas a place to grow and be respected

Journaling allows you to gain clarity as you sort through the constant deluge of daily life

The article also provides some helpful links about writing. It also includes some tips on how to start a journal. One suggestion is to start blogging, an idea that I found very useful when I start this blog. When you treat your blog as a journal finding topics becomes much easier. Some topics would find readers others not. Blogging is a very good way to improve your writing. When I read some of my early posts I found many mistakes that I try to correct when I write my newer ones.

Blogging is good. Hopefully to see more Jordanians write blogs. The more the merrier. More blogs means more topics and more diversity. It is good to find some specialized blogs in local affairs, arts, design, advertisements, entertainment, politics, etc.