Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Complexities of Google+ Circles

I was reading a post on Google+ by Kerry Scott of Clue Wagon fame where she was asking about the pet peeves people have about using Google+.

One person responded by saying that it's challenging when a person adds you to a circle because of a shared common interest and then you get bombarded with other topics that don't interest you.  This complexity in Google+ is one of the things I am still figuring out.

Twitter simplifies this whole issue by having no circles or nuances.  You either follow someone or don't. Either way you get to see everything the person puts out.  The most common way around this in Twitter is to use a program like Tweetdeck where you can view streams based on hash tags.  That way instead of focusing on individual people you can simply read tweets tagged with, for example, #genealogy.

I have seen some people address the issue on Google+ by posting their preferences on their profile page.  Some people might mention what circles/topics of interest they would like to be put in.  Maybe they will also mention what they predominantly post about.

I have seen at least one person ask the Google+ audience what circles would they like to be in and provided them with the choices.

I have copied the same method that I use on Twitter by listing keywords of things I'm interested in. This appears right under my name.

It looks like this - house historian, old houses, genealogy, gravestones, African American history, travel, wine, locally grown.

I wish it could be longer. Maybe I'll expand upon that in my profile. So if someone comes to my Google+ profile they will have a pretty good idea about what I like to post about.

The tricky thing about Google+ is that when you follow someone you are not subscribing to everything that they post in the way you would on Twitter. In fact all you can see of their posts are the public ones unless they circle you back and allow you to see something more than just public posts.

So you are saying "Hey, I'm here, I'm interested in following you.  I've put you in a circle, and you have no clue what that circle is unless I tell you.  But I'm hoping you will look at my page and figure it out or ask me and then circle me back."  

For example, I have a genealogy circle.  That's my primary circle because that's what I primarily post about.  Most people that I have circled are in my genealogy circle. I also have a photography circle and a writer circle.  I don't necessarily expect these folks to follow me back but I want to see what they have to say or display.  People in my photography and writer circles don't get bombarded with all my genealogy posts.

I do however, post as "public" my blog posts and some more general topic history, genealogy, archaeology and social media stuff.   I wonder if I am bothering some of my non-genealogy friends by doing that?

So the question is how do we best put people into circles, and more importantly, have them put us into the right circles so we don't get bombarded with stuff we're not interested in? 

Is Google+ forcing us to over-think things?!!

1 comment:

  1. I'm working on my presentation for tonight's webinar on this topic, so I'm curious to see the responses.

    One of the things I like about G+ is that it's a little more focused. Most of my Facebook friends are genealogists, but relatively few of the posts in my Facebook stream are about genealogy. In contrast, most of my G+ friends are also genealogists, but a far greater percentage of the posts in my stream there are genealogy-related.

    I feel like G+ is sort of like going to a genealogy conference to hang out with friends (where we will talk mostly about genealogy, but also some other stuff). Facebook is more like going to a bar to hang out with the same friends; there might be some genealogy talk, but it's mostly just fun (and also some drunken hijinks).

    Hey, I might use that analogy in the webinar tonight.