A few words about Google Buzz, posting, and me

If, like me, you've been spending time playing with Google's new social media platform, you've probably seen a few posts about the "right" or "wrong" way to use Buzz, what you should or shouldn't post, how to get unfollowed, etc.  It seems that lots of people have their own ideas about what Buzz is and how it should be used; the complication is that not everyone shares those ideas.

This is as it should be. As a new platform, Buzz will be defined by its users. The norms of interaction and the acceptable ways of using the platform will be--are, in fact, now being--defined by the early adopters and the heaviest users. That's why I find the notion of trying to dictate some kind of Buzz etiquette to be misguided--laughable, even. You can't dictate this stuff. It's organic, and it grows from the ways in which people are even now using the platform, pushing its limits, and defining its problems. 

Take @-replies (or @-mentions), for example. The whole notion of an @-reply originated in the early days of Twitter, when users themselves began to use the convention of an @ symbol in front of a username as a way to reply, since the platform itself gave them no way of doing so. It became so widespread that it was eventually adopted officially by Twitter. The lack of a truly workable equivalent on Buzz is not necessarily a deficiency. It may well be that a better method will eventually emerge over time as users wrangle with the issue, or when Google engineers bow to pressure and simply provide a button or a dropdown. But simply because it works one way on one system does not mean it has to work the same way on another. My point is this: we're in the early days of an exciting new product. This stuff is going to get worked out. Relax.

On a related topic, I should mention something about how I intend to use Buzz, my philosophy about posting in general, and my feelings about following and unfollowing people. For me, Buzz is the perfect aggregator, pulling in my content from various places on the Web, and doing a fine job of presenting it all in one place where someone can see it all at once. That's my hope, anyway. To that end, I think it's perfectly legitimate to pull in blog posts and my shared Google Reader items along with my native Buzz posts. You may disagree, and that's a legitimate area of disagreement. But I'm not going to change to suit anybody else.

As for posting, if you take a look at my profile or read my About Me page, you'll see that I have a fairly eclectic range of interests. You can expect my posts to run the gamut of those interests. One post might be about Buzz, the next one about some oddball Eastern Bloc car, and the third about health care or the Orthodox Church. You may or may not agree with what I write, and that's fine. I will be honest about who I am, but once again I'm not going to change to suit anybody else. I hope not to offend anyone (unless, of course, they _need_ offending) but it is worth noting that none of us has the right to not be offended. However, we _do_ all have the right to take our respective balls and go home. I follow a wide variety of people with differing backgrounds and interests, because I hate a one-note chorus. I follow with deliberate care, and unfollow very reluctantly. If you feel the same way, I think (and hope) that you'll enjoy reading what I post.

There is one sure way to get me to unfollow or block someone, though, whether here, on Buzz, or on Twitter, and that is for them to be persistently obnoxious--in short, to violate Wheaton's Law. Life is too short to waste time with the obstreperous. Enough said.

And that, dear friends, is my philosophy about Buzz, posting, life, the universe, and everything. Thanks for listening.