The reactions to what has undoubtedly been the most eagerly anticipated social event in recent times have been extreme. Not only has the new service polarised opinion with regards to its functionality and the ability to take on Facebook in is own back yard but the rollout appears to be driving a wedge between the Google+ haves and the have-nots.
It is understandable that people are keen to get involved and want to be in the loop from the beginning, helping to kick the tyres and shape the product. After the failure of Wave and the disappointment of Buzz people are excited about the prospect of a service that can not only compete but offer some genuine innovation in the social space.
Social, however, appears to be developing a degree of "network snobbery" with some devotees on specific platforms becoming aggressive in their defence of their network of choice. In a way it is reminiscent of the whole Mac v Windows v Linux arguments.
Because the stream component of Google+ obviously has its roots in Google Buzz there are those advocating that current Buzz users should have been the first through the door but Plus is so much more than just an activity stream.
The disappointing thing is that only 24 hours after launch the bitterness of some over not being included in the initial raft of testers is completely out of control. Some act as though they have a divine right to test the new offering with the treatment of those who already have access being tantamount to a witch hunt. On top of this, the repeated begging for invites is, quite frankly, embarrassing.
Jealousy has reared is ugly head and has led to comments describing the acts of some as a "gang mentality" becoming inherent in social networks. There have long been cliques and A-listers but the social startup culture of recent years and the reduced barriers to entry with services such as Facebook and Twitter have left many with expectations that are probably unrealistic at best.
As I commented on one thread: to be so incensed about not having an invite after the service has only been live for 24 hours is both ridiculous and childish. If we get to the point where weeks and weeks have gone by and there is little movement then perhaps we may be permitted to become a little frustrated and ask questions but, until then, a limited field test is just that: limited and we would be wise to remember this.
A new dawn?
We are at the potential dawn of a new era of social where Google+ either changes the game or forces the likes of Facebook to innovate. We may not yet have the key to the door but should support those who are already helping to make the service as good as it can be for when we do get in.
Patience is a virtue.