Yes, we're all playing with Google+, and I suspect blogging reactions to it, but this is not one of those posts (quick verdict: it's immediately better than Buzz/Wave, and Circles combined with Hangout could be very useful for research teams, institutions). No, what this post is about is the categorisation dilemmas that tools such as Google+ generate, and our relationship with technology.
In terms of categorisation my first dilemma was whether work colleagues count as 'friends'. I chatted to George Siemens about this and he concluded he didn't have friends, just colleagues (or colleagues who are also friends). I'm in a similar position, or at least my online self is. I do have some friends (some of whom are not imaginary), but they tend not to be the sort of people who'll be in Google+. And there are plenty of people I work with who I would also count as friends (such as George). And then there are people who I've never even met who I think of as friends (Jim Groom and Alan Levine for example). But friends is a very laden term, so do I want to recreate the Facebook definition, or reclaim it for 'special' people? Dunno.
And on this subject of this I am unsure which approach to take to adding people into Google+. When I started in Facebook I befriended anyone, but after a while I stripped this back to people I knew reasonably well. In Twitter I have a more open approach, although once I was following about 1000 people I stopped following back automatically. So do I want the wide or narrow network in Google+. Dunno yet.
Lastly, looking at Google+ brought to mind a post I did a few years ago, in which I argued that we are largely irrational in our choice of software, but often dress this up in terms of rational decision making around features. We have an emotional connection to software and tend to be loyal to one type. We are essentially monoamorous for categories of software, you're either a Facebook or Twitter person, a Blackboard or Moodle advocate, Flickr or Picassa freak, etc (you may have accounts in both, but you're loyalty will be with one or the other). As I argued then, it's like the team you support (in football or whatever) – the whole point of the attachment is to have only one (although it is acceptable to have more than one loyalty at different levels eg local team, main team, national team).
If you are launching a new software service then this monoamorous behaviour is significant – either the service needs to be better enough to lure people away or it has to be distinctive enough to constitute a different category. You can't rely on people wanting more than one service that does the same thing.
Which brings me back to Google+, sooner or later those of us who use these things intensively will have to go with one or the other. There will be cross-streaming so you can feed one from the other, but our attention and loyalty will be with one or the other. And in these kinds of businesses, it's attention that counts.
Which leaves me with the big question – which one will win my affections? Definitely dunno.