New users over at Google Plus, the new Google social network are now provided a list of suggested users.
Google is now suggesting to new users the option to “Follow public posts from interesting and famous people” and to “Supercharge your stream.” Rather than joy this new list was met by anger and scorn, some even from list members themselves.
The overarching tone of the debate is one in which people are asking “Why must Person X be chosen for the list?” Additionally there are concerns that this sort of list will end up with a feedback loop of the rich getting richer, with people following people because they have a lot of followers. In the run up to the list, Bradley Horowitz VP of Google Plus put out a call to Twitter users with 100k followers to talk with him–ignoring that it is possible to buy followers on Twitter, and that some famous people have already been alleged to do so.
My objection to this list include that, in order to see the profiles of these users to even judge if they are worth following, I have to add them. The list does not link to their profiles, but merely has the option to circle them. Additionally, many of the suggested users are famous folks with no public posts or even a bio. After all, when I think of mindful discussion of technology and social interaction, the first two words which pop into my head are Ashton Kutcher–“When over weight funny people lose weight do they get a little less funny?1” Oh Ashton, you’re so insightful!
Google responded with promises of fairness as the system goes on, Real Soon NowTM, mentioning “In order to retain a position on the list, a user will need to continue creating compelling content”. List member Paris Hilton has responded to this call with such compelling gems as “Packing for Vegas… what to wear?” and “Just got to Mallorca! Anyone ever been?”
Truly, wisdom for the ages.