Today I decided to delete my Google+ account. I do so for a variety of reasons, some of which I try to explain below. I've come to the conclusion that I enjoy blogging, but not social networking. Even if it's social networking about role-playing games.
As a son, brother, husband, father, and teacher there is usually something family or work-oriented on which I could be spending my time. Google+ is something that requires upkeep. It's one more thing to do on an already tottering pile of apps and devices vying for my attention and pocketbook. I'm talking about adding friends, blocking foes, tweaking settings, joining communities, etc. If I invest time in such an endeavor and the process itself isn't valuable, then the end product should be. I've found that, at the end of the day, Google+ doesn't deliver that value for me in either case. This is in steep contrast with blogging, which presents value in both cases; the writing and creative process and the end-point content.
Google+ is built to present snippets and previews and summarized updates. The format encourages short and quick bursts of reading and writing. I prefer blogging because I want to build multiple paragraphs of content for sustained attention without the lure of ubiquitous hyperlinks, profiles, and news updates everywhere.
Google+ offers a quick way to keep up on what's happening in the role-playing world, but quickly turns into a chaotic hodge-podge of different accounts streaming past my eyeballs. If I want to know what's going on in the OSR, for example, I only need to visit a single OSR blog with a huge blogroll (of which there are many), then scroll down the title and preview list. If there is a new meme or announcement, I'll see that immediately.
I write and illustrate role-playing game adventures and try to sell them. Therefore I want to increase readership. Google+ along with Twitter, Google friends, Facebook, Instagram, etc, can all do that. Correction, they all do do that. I saw a bump in page views after joining Google+. I find it only reasonable to assume I'd see similar bumps if I started plugging myself on Facebook or Twitter. However, none of these impart quality over time. That comes only from me and my ability, or lack thereof, for sustained attention and action, namely practice and revising. If I want readers and customers I am far better off using the little free time I have to create quality work rather than blast off a one hundred forty character comment three times a day. I don't even want readers that want that. If the core content is good, that is, if it has quality and if I continue to produce quality, then I will both keep readers and gain readers over time without social networking. That is my goal, at any rate, and looking over the past few months in which I've been on Google+ I don't see an increase in blog followers or game sales compared to my pre-Google+ existence.
Google+ offers a free video chat service that many gamers use for role-playing. That is awesome. It presents a fantastic opportunity for people to bridge great distances or even short ones with a convenience unimaginable decades ago when Gygax first published his game. Google+ also offers an effective way to meet new gamers. However, I have no interest in teleconference play and my blog has proven to be very effective at introducing me to new gamers I likely would never have met without. So, there is value and quality in Google+, but it doesn't align with my needs or my infrastructure format preference.
Google+ more or less forces you to use your real name and I want to use a pseudonym. It's constantly consolidating all of your disparate Google accounts into a single and fairly simple system for one-stop-shopping. The down-side is it becomes difficult to use a nickname or pseudonym in a merged Google+ account. And untangling accounts, once merged, is a difficult and timely endeavor destined for frustration and likely to end in failure.
Finally, I'd like to thank you, Constant Reader, who has been with me these past three years. You've observed the blog develop over time into what it now is; a reservoir for my materials and musings for role-playing games. With each post and product that reservoir grows deeper and, I hope, more fulfilling.