Twitter is my water cooler. I blow off steam, talk about what I’m working on, learn new things from others, etc. For the first few years I spent using the service it seemed like every night there was an awesome conversation going on. Lately it seems like people have been conversing less and retweeting more. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve shifted away from following people in a specific tech community (the .NET crew seems to have focused their conversing there more than the others I’ve observed) or just a general behavioral shift in how people use Twitter (or both) but lately I’ve been missing those great conversations.
Other social networks never really filled the gap. Google+ was OK, but activity tapered off pretty quickly after it launched. App.net is still promising, but nascent and hasn’t grabbed me yet. I almost started a site just to share links and discuss APIs just to have it. I’m not famous enough to bootstrap a discussion community though (learned that lesson once before).
Then Google+ Communities were launched a few days ago. You can create them by topic. They’re moderated. The posts work like any other G+ post so links, etc. are first-class and each item has comments. To me, this is the perfect application of the G+ stream structures and having them scoped by topic solves the problem of having to follow someone who may post a lot about stuff you’re not interested in.
Ultimately, it’s another message medium like many before. The quality will be determined by the people that contribute to the community. But it’s looking promising. You can find me chatting about APIs over there.