Earlier this year, Google announced plans to shutter Google+, its failed social network. While this decision won’t affect many of us, some folks consider Google+ home. A post on Medium by Steven T. Wright highlights the plight of these communities that will go away when Google+ shuts down in April of 2019. Can they find a new place to meet?
The story profiles developer John Lewis, who built a group on Google+ with the purpose of trying to find a replacement information environment for these folks. Some are finding their trust in large companies as stewards of their information environments has eroded as a result of the way Google (mis)managed G+:
“Some are going to platforms similar to Facebook like MeWe, some are going to open-source sites like different Diaspora pods,” he says. “I think people are a bit wary of the big companies, after seeing what the rest of Google did to Google+. With their divided attention, Facebook was able to take all of their cool features and cannibalize them. I think we want something that will last for a while, that won’t be shut down by some exec.”
People invest real time and energy in these places. While on one level they are “products” to be “managed,” they’re also infrastructure where people build out important parts of their lives.