Eureka. I have solved a problem and my salvation appears to be Google+, the new social networking tool that is currently invitation-only from Google.
Google+ is to social networking as a six-burner gas stove with pancake grill attachment is to making the most heavenly meal of the day: Breakfast.
Zucchini muffins from Simply Recipes. Image used with permission.
That's right: Google+ is the social networking breakfast of champions. My shameless references end there.
Call me a drama queen if you will, but for years now, Facebook has been way, waaaaay, oh-dear-no-way out of my comfort zone. (Twitter I love -- Twitter reading and sharing enables my inner librarian, who peers over her spectacles at the latest Tweet-newspaper clipping I'm sending via virtual Pony Express to my geeky cronies. I love the new voices I find, love the recommendations I read, love the efficiency.)
But the Facebook, no. Facebook's mashup of everyone-plus-the-kitchen-sink has always made me clench my teeth and shake my head, no thank you. I've never been able to perfectly articulate why I don't want everyone in one virtual kitchen. I've tried explaining to friends that, well, I don't want my tween/teen/twentysomething kids watched by the Web -- but my churning gut-level rejection is actually much more selfish than that explanation allows. Other people I've told, hey, I don't want my artsy friends mixing it up with my venture capital friends -- but again, that's not the complete picture and, interestingly, there's more crossover than you'd think between the two communities.
Now that I have joined Google+, I realize what my problem has been with Facebook all along: The Facebook never adequately served my need to compartmentalize this crazy thing called life so that I can find time to live it.
See, if I have a social network where my colleagues, college buddies, customers, clients, mentors, moms group, extended family, children and better half are all in one rubber-band ball called Facebook -- I have no way to turn away from the many and focus on the few. I want my colleagues and my darling babies to have most of my attention, not a flickering, distracted, "uh-huh, um, what?" version of me.
With the easy user-interface of Google+, and the "circles" I can create for conversations, when I'm at work, I'm At Work. Once more brands get on-site, I'll even use Google+ to hone in on the brands and customers who help BlogHer pay thousands of women to write, in a way that will be visible to the Web, unlike Facebook. When I'm at home, I'll be able to focus on my identity as Mom/Aunt/Daughter/Sister/Partner. When I'm with my girlfriends, I'll be able to just Lisa (not Lisa-who-can't-shut-up-about-work or Lisa-who-only-talks-about-her-kids). Ironically, by forcing me to mash-up all my identities, the Facebook didn't allow me to be all of me. I'm sure someone will try to tell me that Facebook has better tools than I'm describing, but you know what? To quote BlogHer Mashadutoit: "Not really."
That's why I predict a particular affinity between Google+ and women, the power users of social media. Yes, men are using and will use the heck out of this thing, but just wait until more women get hold of this virtual list-maker and roving-conversational-party-maker. This tool renders my life in the only way I've ever managed to survive working motherhood -- to avoid longing for home when I'm at work, or to avoid longing for work when I'm at home -- by helping me manage my conversational responsibilities in a way that makes me feel responsive, organized and good about it. Not to mention save some semblance of time just for me.
What do you think? If you want to see a demo, check out the video embedded in Virginia DeBolt's post, Bloggers React To Google Plus, and the conversation that follows. I'd love your thoughts.
Lisa Stone, BlogHer Co-founder
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