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Google+ an elegant fit online

WHEN I was a kid, my dad had this beautiful separation in his life

He divided his work and his family with a chasm that was never crossed.

When I consider my life, and the life of my friends and family, there is no separation at all. We check work email at home and post status updates on Facebook while at work. How many of us have rolled over in bed in the middle of the night, picked up our BlackBerry or smartphone, and checked our email? Yep, guilty!

Social networking, persistent access to the Internet, mobile devices, and a total lack of will to maintain separate spheres have led us to a point where work and home life are as one.

For many people, the final straw was embracing Facebook.

Let's face it - most of us have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. We love the people with whom it allows us to connect, but we often hate the medium. Facebook is fraught with issues: it is increasingly cluttered, there are huge concerns about privacy, and we do not trust the people who run it.

But it is a connection to our social world, and, for many, to the business world as well.

Now another company we are loathe to trust has a better idea. Google+ is rolling out as a newer and possibly better way to connect with friends, family and assorted hangers-on. We are left to decide if there is more value in Google+, if we should make the effort to switch, and if it will have a significant impact on our lives. And to be totally honest, we probably don't appreciate being asked to learn yet another piece of software just to keep pace with the rest of the world. Yet here it is.

It is into this blended world void of work/home balance that Google+ may find its biggest advantage over Facebook. For many of us, Google+ will be a far more elegant fit in our own private lives. There is a bit of a selfserving discord when we use Facebook for business; trolling for work opportunities sideby-side with pictures of your new niece is disquieting.

In Google+, however, we find that we can separate the work and personal lives using Circles. This is the feature most people are focusing on when looking at Google+. Circles allow us to collect different groups of individuals into a Circle: for friends, co-workers, fishing buddies, you name it.

We will be able to group all our family into one circle, and our work colleagues into another, and then simply deal with the individuals in a single circle at a time. This is the biggest advantage I see in Google+.

There will be a lot of discussion comparing Facebook and Google+ over the next few months.

The bottom line will be the solution that best serves us in the digital age, not creating home/work balance, but enabling our shift from it.