This has been something I've thought about how to write for some time now. I'll admit this isn't a fully baked metaphor or analogy (I never can remember the true difference), but I'm still somewhat butthurt about the whole thing, so bear with me on this.
As I'm writing this I'm sitting in a Tim Hortons - this is in no way for or against Tim's at all - and it's busy. There's a steady stream of people in and out, each grabbing a few things and dashing out. Medium double-double, large dark regular, maybe something to nom on and away they go about their day. It's the epitome of a modern efficiency case of convenience, right? Everybody's here. Typically, when someone tells you they're going for a coffee run, in Canada it's almost assumed that they're running to a nearby Tim's. They're so ubiquitous.
Maybe it's my 'counter-culture', my quasi-hipsterism, that just because it's popular I try to avoid it usually. I remember as iPods took off I for some reason eschewed them because they were so popular... I know, I'm a horrible person. So, lately, I've been trying to enjoy my hot beverage of choice at a locally run cafe. That could also be my job title coming out. In my neck of the woods, there's no loss of options. But I want to speak of an allegorical cafe, rather than a real one.
So, in looking around at my options of locations I opted for this little cafe in my neighbourhood. It was a little out of the way, but it was eclectic. There were comfy couches, there were quiet corners, there was a stage in a corner for a performer if there needed to be.
They served coffee of multiple varieties, they tried different events to get together the patrons as well as kept trying to keep up with the opportunity to listen to everyone and provide the food we'd want, events we could get behind.
The decor was such that it didn't exclude any type of demographic. If you were a bohemian hipster, there was a corner with unique European furniture. If you were a music enthusiast, there was an open jam night. You could share jokes with each other, and moments of your life that you just couldn't do at Tim's.
Groups of all sorts would come there and put information up on the bulletin boards to let you know when they hung out and where.
There was something for everyone. And most people really enjoyed it.
Except, there were a few folks out there that when you'd say "hey, come with me to check out this cool cafe" they just would instinctively say "hey, they're just ripping off of Tim's".
It's true, both had the ability for people to congregate and get a cuppa, but on principle they were very far from each other. People were just blind to the entirety of the opportunities of my cafe. They knew Tim's, knew what it could offer and anything else that was remotely similar to that was just a pale comparison.
Flawed as the comparison was.
And so the cafe went on. Those that loved it, loved it. We would go at least once a day for our daily 'dose' and spend time interacting with those that we met and we shared that real enjoyment of the place.
Ol' Tims just kept trucking along doing what they do, serving long lines and dealing with the hustle and bustle of the trade.
My unique cafe continued to be a unique cafe ... there were changes along the way, and the patrons, we'd talk about it and make our suggestions to management on how it could be made better.
Slowly but surely, the comparison to Tim's was impossible to overlook and someone, somewhere, decided that the pin had to be pulled. Time to close up shop.
The patrons, we were upset. Sure we could get coffee at another shop, but ... we liked this one. Fitting in our cafe styles into Tim's just didn't work. We could get comfy in the mass-produced seating. Sure, we saw a lot of the people we knew on there, but the discussions were different. It was ... different.
Slowly but surely, we've tried other cafes, looked at different coffee shops, tea shops, to try to find that right vibe again.
for some people, going out to dinner is a functional thing. Go out, grab sustenance, consume, leave. Some, like to go out and enjoy the atmosphere, some need the tale of the preparation. I love a little diner or gastropub. My parents love chain restaurants.
Nothing is wrong with either option. Each have their valid opinions.
When Google+ was closing, I had no end of "haha, told you so, the Facebook imitator finally admitted they can't be Facebook" (or variants thereof). That hurt. I knew it was said out of ignorance.
Some people go the Beer Store to just grab their case of Molson and peace out. Some, like to go to the brewery and do flights of samples and appreciate the different nuances.
Because one person would love a triple hopped saison (is that a thing?) doesn't mean that the fan of OV is wrong, or that the OV fan should tell craft beer enthusiasts are just trying to be like the big breweries.
Anyways... it's my way of saying that Google+ was a fantastic place. It was its own, it was unique.
The early days (and I believe I have to thank Tom for my early ticket to the party) were amazing. New features, the events you could create and anyone who RSVPd and took pictures would automatically get uploaded, the Hangouts on Air, the public hangouts, ... such potential.
Finding our niche groups of cyclists and Androiders and was amazing. I'm still kicking myself that I turned down a set of Google Glass and let Derek Ross take my spot. Finding those groups was a breath of fresh air. Definitely not the same from other social media platforms we've found.
I'm going to miss the hell out of a lot of people that I met. Without it I probably wouldn't have stuck with blogging as long as I have. The ability to reach such passionate people was amazing. Marketing, they always talk about the fact that followers isn't the only metric that's important, look at the engagement. And we had that in spades on Google+.
What was your favourite moment on Google+? I have so many.