As if Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and all things David Pogue weren’t enough, I just fell into another time suck.
Google’s latest offering — for those living under a rock, or who spent winter break on a cruise ship with usurious internet access fees — is the newest salvo in the social networking wars. Ripping off some of Facebook and Twitter’s best features, it’s like an RSS feed on ‘roids.
And because it’s Google, it’s both unfathomably interesting and somewhat controversial.
Because I already had a Gmail account — but hardly ever used it — I wasn’t burned by the early catastrophic rollout, which (without asking) added your most frequent email contacts to your Buzz list, then published it for all the world to see. (“All the world” included, for example, abusive ex-spouses you had to communicate with because of your kid, and journalists’ uber-secret sources and tipsters.)
So I was lucky. Without a predetermined Buzz list, I could build my own. I dug into my Outlook contacts, saw which ones had Gmail accounts, and added them to Buzz.
I waited all of about 6 seconds for something to happen. John Blossom — a Westport-based media and online analyst — buzzed about — well, Buzz. That was quickly followed by something on Apple. Then a story about his own book, “Content Nation.”
Each of his buzzes included graphics, clickable links, and comments from John’s followers. He responded to them; they responded back. It was a conversation in real time — about topics I’m interested in. (One of the raps on social networking — “Who wants to hear what someone had for breakfast?” — is unfounded, so far, on Buzz. The ability to upload photos and videos steers most folks away from the mundane. But if you must know, it was an everything bagel and coffee.)
Fiddling around, I realized I could click on a list of everyone else following John — and everyone John was following. Most names meant nothing to me, but I culled 1 or 2 I recognized as media bigwigs.
I had better luck with former Staples student Charles Gallant. A web developer in New York, his list led me to a number of clever, insightful Staples alums. Charles buzzes often. Some of his stories I’ve seen already — thanks to my Google Reader subscriptions to sites like Gizmodo and LifeHacker — but much is also fresh and thought-provoking.
Make no mistake: Buzz is as addictive as Facebook or Twitter. It is not something to dive into lightly. You must be prepared to sacrifice some area of your life, such as sleeping or eating.
Well, those are overrated anyway.
So come on, Westporters. Go ahead. Follow me. I’ll follow you.
And none of us will get any work done, ever again.