Google+ Review II and Creating Circles

Google+ Review II and Creating Circles July 8, 2011

The Google+ roll-out continues with mixed reaction. Some are certainly frustrated by the inability to actually join, thus reinforcing Google’s ability to create an atmosphere of scarcity while others are fully jumping in hoping that this might indeed be a viable alternative to privacy-fickly facebook.

Big “ups” to those who have been oozing serious social media mojo and are maintaining twitter and facebook interactions all the while diving head first into Google+. If there were social media geek badges to hand out, you would all get one . . . you know who you are and we love you.

I still think that the rise or fall of Google+ will be how other google apps are integrated into the rest of the google+ structure.  There is a rumor that both blogger and picasa are going to be rebranded, so I am hopeful that Google is making some good decisions about app integration.

After my first review, I find myself  standing right in the middle of the, “Seriously, another social media network?” people and the “Woot! Shiny! Never received a beta invite I didn’t accept” people.   I signed up and have helped get folks invited, but I have yet to really take much time to play with the features.  I have posted a few times and the interaction has been good because of the small number of people I am connected to at this point.  It seems as if how one places folks into circles will greatly determine how rewarding the google+ experience will be. PC MAg calls Circles, The Dumbest Thing About Google+ but I do think that, despite the tedious nature of building one’s circle structure, it will be a useful feature.

The default circles are the following:

  • FRIENDS – Your real friends, the ones you feel comfortable sharing private details with.
  • FAMILY – Your close and extended family, include as many or few in-laws as you want.
  • ACQUAINTANCES – A good place to stick people you’ve met but aren’t particularly close to.
  • FOLLOWING – People you don’t know personally, but find their posts interesting.

As you drag people into each circle you can then chose how you view and share posts based on the circles you have created and filled.  You can create new circles depending on other groups you are part of and people can be placed into more than one circle.  It is important to remember that when you place someone into a circle he/she is notified that you have done so.  The title and description of the circle is not shared, only that fact that you have placed them into one.  While it might be satisfying to create a circle called, “A$$hats!” or “I can’t believe she dumped me in high school.” I would advise not doing so, just to be on the “nothing is really private on the interwebs” safe side.

I am leaning towards NOT creating a ton of circles, but rather to create bigger circles and see if those are small enough to fuel good interactions.  I have created only a couple of groups, one for my kids’ school and one for my  John Avalos for Mayor connections.  I am thinking of other groups possible groupings:

  • Photographers – For those who post pics that I enjoy.
  • When I was cool – For those friends from my childhood in Sacramento.
  • Circle Back – For people who I don’t know, but have added me to a circle.
  • and . . .

For those of you who have been exploring Google+ a little more than I, any more advice and counsel that you can offer?

  • What groups are you creating and why?
  • How have you found the experience thus far?
  • Where has Google+ left you wanting?
  • Are you ready to give Facebook the boot?

I think that’s it for now.  I’ll come back with more thoughts as I get more into it myself.  Looking forward to hearing how other others are finding these early stages.

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14 responses to “Google+ Review II and Creating Circles”

  1. wow, that commented without me hitting send. okay…what I meant to say is that since gmail is my email, if I used G+, I wouldn’t have a buffer.

  2. Two things: Google+ doesn’t allow for private accounts, so I’m out. Also, I need a buffer. For instance, today I need to stay away from Facebook. But if I was with G+, it would

  3. I am using the larger pre-set circles to categories most people, but I am creating more limited circles as almost subsets.  For example I have a friend X.  X goes into my “Friends” circle.  X and I went to undergrad together, so X also goes into my “Name of Undergrad Institution Here” circle.  X and I are also Fraternity brothers, so the final circle that X goes into is “Fraternity Brothers” circle.  

    This way if I want to hit everyone I can, hit just people from Undergrad (homecoming, etc) I can, or just people from the chapter (Founder’s Day, stupid stuff that grown men still send to each other pretending that we are actually still kids).  I think that this is going to really help with the distribution of info. 

  4. I’m giving it a shot…although I’m not sure I can handle another social media page. I added you to my “bloggers” circle and my “Presbyterians” circle! 🙂

  5. @bob:twitter Thanks for responding. I know that my style of blogging is not for everyone, but thanks for giving it a try. If you have some good links to share that might be more expansive, please feel free to leave them here.

  6. It’s hard to add to Circles when the invites can’t go out. But what a show with those already there! High levels of engagement. I’ve already sent in feedback. For example, I want to be able to search posts for content, flag posts for following or followup later, be able to +1 and select my own comments to display on my profile, select multiple Circle streams to follow and conversely mute some, and the ability to tag posts in addition to Circles. I’ve already created one Circle just for a poster who I don’t want to remove entirely, but don’t want constantly in my stream. I won’t give FB the boot, there are too many friends and history there. Plus the interaction seems very different, which will probably change as more invites jump in.

  7. Google Plus is amazing. Thanks for inviting me, Bruce. I don’t think the integration with Google Apps will matter as much as Google simply opening up more invitations before the positive press around Google Plus dies down.

  8. It’s weird how that I’m usually a later adopter of social media but this time I dove in faster…so with the risk of creating a tl;dr comment…your questions in order:

    * For now, I’m sticking with the the major circle groups: Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Co-Workers, Hockey Geeks…I’m trying to keep everything as simple as possible.  It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed if I think about it too much.  I can make more specific circles later.  My decisions though are based on what I want to share with specific people.  For instance, hockey is not your thing, but I bet you might get annoyed when I send tweets about hockey your way.  I can set up a circle for just that, and you can be safe. 😉

    Besides, I can always switch things around if I want to – nothing is ever permanent.  However, having some structure is important if/when my other friends/contacts migrate over to Google +

    * Once I figured out how Google + was and was not like Facebook and/or Twitter, it was easier to navigate.    

    However, I’m not sure if it’s because I use Twitter now and/or Facebook, but the design was intuitive for me.  I like the clean look, I like how simple things are, and once the Google vocabulary was learned, I picked up the large tasks quickly.

    The only thing I’m not digging into right now is the “Sparks” feature…however, I do see the potential in it.  The “Hangouts” feature is kinda cool – but what if I create a hangout and no one shows up?

    *If the people I truly care about switch over, then Facebook and I will go through a divorce.  I have a feeling though that might not happen for awhile and I’ll keep my presence over there. I do have a feeling though that I won’t use it as often.

    Sorry for the length – got on a roll…