It's been almost two weeks since the launch of the "field trial" of Google's new social network, Google Plus. As the hype grows, more and more people are receiving their invitations to the service, and in turn, there are an increasing number of discussions about how Google Plus might work for teaching and learning. (Take a look at this collaborative Google Doc that lists all the ways the social network site could work with students and teachers.)
The early consensus seems to be that Google Plus has a lot of potential, with services that could aid collaboration and communication in the classroom. Hangouts, for example, allow video chatting with up to 10 people, including the ability to jointly watch YouTube videos. Sparks provides a collection of posts on a particular topic, a way perhaps for students to gather research. And most notably, Circles allow users to sort their various contacts into social circles, giving them a more granular level of control with what they share.
Google has been blasted by technology observers for its recent "social" failures - Google Wave and Google Buzz, namely. But the reception to Google Plus has been quite positive. However as a new social network emerges here -- a successful Google network -- new questions emerge, particularly for those active on other sites: do we relocate our efforts to Google Plus? Do we replicate our efforts there? Do we have time for multiple social networks?
For those already active on Twitter, for example, it seems rather daunting to try to recreate that network on Google Plus. I'll speak for myself here: I follow a lot of educators on Twitter; I have a lot of educator followers. I've tried to find folks on Google Plus and add them to my "ed-techies" circle, but that's easier said than done. I've also been added to Circles by educators I don't yet follow on Twitter, and then I feel like I should add them there too. For the time being, it feels as though I need to cover my bases and work with both networks, but I'm not sure if that's sustainable.
It isn't simply a matter of recreating a personal learning network of people either. Twitter has also become a site for many important events, including the weekly EdChat where educators discuss a particular topic on Twitter using the #edchat hashtag to gather and track the conversations.