Google+’s effects won’t be positive

The new social network replaces real relationships with instant gratification.

Leah Lancaster

I look back on my years of childhood fondly. Life was so simple then, when my thoughts consisted purely of friends and playtime. Upon entering college, life got much more complicated. I watched my social life quickly dwindle away to be replaced by work, school and other âÄúgrown upâÄù obligations. The same thing was happening to nearly everyone else around me, and I watched as they quickly became reliant on social networks to facilitate their now plentiful âÄî but entirely superficial âÄî friendships.

Social networks âÄî the newest of which is Google+ âÄî market themselves by claiming to connect people to one another, but in reality they intensify social isolation while creating the illusion of meaningful relationships. Google+ will intensify this dynamic by encouraging users to become completely socially reliant on their services while stopping real communication.

Google+ goes above and beyond Facebook by offering its own version of video chat, customized chat rooms, personalized news feeds, and a mobile phone application. The immediate thought that comes to mind is that Google+ will help people conveniently keep in touch with friends and family, but communication of this sort will consist only of short, meaningless transactions. More people will be glued to their electronic devices, focusing more on superficial relationships sustained with superficial electronic communication than on all the real-life people around them.

Yes, Google+ can help connect you to people, but past the sleek, streamlined façade is yet another company who hopes to monopolize and capitalize on our need for instant social gratification. Contrary to the mission of Google+, relationships are not built on picture comments, shared links and status updates. Instead, a real relationship is built on something more, something Google+ âÄî and the Internet in general âÄî will never be able to provide.