I'm sure I once had a few more friends than I do now. People I'd see quite often. And then something happened. It all changed. We stopped communicating on the Internet. I wasn't invited to parties any more. We never saw each other and that was that was that...
What changed? Social networking... The number of times I've bumped into someone and they've said something along the lines of "I would have invited you only you're not on Facebook" is enough to make me scream. Or, the really annoying "I don't use email anymore. I use Facebook". i.e. I no longer communicate with people who aren't cool.
There was also the really early days of Bebo - where a friend took some photos at a birthday party and when I asked for a copy, she sent me a link. In order to get access to photos of my own event I had to sign up...
There's a whole "You've got to be in it" kind of an attitude to it all.
As Google move more toward Google+ I think a lot of their products will stop being quite so accessible. For example, while I had a working Chromebook last night, this morning I'm in the same position as I was yesterday morning - trying to get Chrubuntu onto the damn thing (more kernel hacking).
However, the new script - the one script to rule them all - doesn't seem to result in a workable system for me. "Well he's a developer. He'll probably want some feedback." thinks I, "oh and he's using blogspot. That'll be easy". How foolish was I? I can't comment without having a Google+ account. If this script did work, I'd be able to install Ubuntu 12.04 onto a usb stick and have a couple of copies of the stick while hacking away at the kernel.
And given that I have moral objections to me being on Google+... I just can't get help. As Google move more and more down this direction, and people, in an effort to restrict spam, set their blogs to only allow commenting from people with G+ accounts, I think we'll start to see more of a them and us type of Internet. Those with Facebook get to hang out with the cool kids at their parties. Those with G+ get to comment on blogs and get help when they need it.
And the rest of us - a bunch of outsiders and malcontents that just aren't cool and don't use the Interwebs in such ways. Those looking in the window and seeing everyone having a good time... you want to be at that party don't you? Of course, eventually it ends up with a call to sound control (moaning about something to do with the party).