Google+ and The Entropy of Social Media

First there was order, then chaos.

The universe was born in near-perfect order: small, organized and perhaps even serene. Over time, the universe expanded and became messy, diverse and beyond comprehension. Chaos reigned.

This effect is called entropy, the process by which order decreases in a system over time. This is admittedly a simple description, as a single system can still produce order provided there is a balance of disorder somewhere else in that system.

But since I’m just a writer and marketing guy, I’ll stick with the main concept: Order begets chaos.

The same thing has happened with social media – but this time it’s different. This time we are trying to reverse the Entropy Effect.

Our brains are linked to when the universe began, when order was the norm. Our lives – learning about the world, going to school, following rules and laws – are a constant battle against entropy, a fight for order against chaos.

The Web grows out of control, barely manageable. So we create tools like browsers, RSS and folksonomies to give it order, because our brains are wired for order.

Then the Web becomes social, a platform built for people – not machines – to connect with each other. It quickly grows out of control, so we create better search engines and hash tags, data mining and tools to “curate” content and determine influence.

Google+ is the latest weapon in our war against entropy, against chaos. Better information streams, closer and more relevant circles of relationships, stronger real-time connections to people we care about and actually know (notice I didn’t say brands – they will be a part of this too, but how or even if they should remains to be seen.)

Google began as a way to organize the world’s information. Now it wants to organize the world. It’s taking the Entropy Effect head on and of course it wants to win.

Facebook isn’t Google’s competition, nor is Microsoft (client) or Twitter or Yahoo! or any other company or social media service. In this case, they are all on the same team.

Google’s enemy is entropy. Its nemesis is the underlying force of the universe itself, of order vs. chaos.

It’s hard to believe that companies like Google will succeed where millennia of nature has failed. But like us silly humans, with our dreams of something better just beyond the horizon, Google is going to try.

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