People on Google+ are discussing what to do with their circles. Here, I’m not going to explain what circles are; I wish merely to record for the moment what I’m doing with them on my account for others to consider and criticize. If you don’t know what circles are, join Google+ and find out, and don’t forget to put me in one of your circles! (Put me in a good one!)
I have the following circles at the moment:
The first four are default for google+ though I think you can delete them. The remainder are ones I made up.
The two key circles in my system are “Acquaintances” and “Following.”
Following includes people I’m stalking, er, I mean ‘following’ in that they are not following me as far as I know, but I’ve decided to follow (“add”) them. Acquaintances are people who are following me. Every now and then Google+ gives me notice of who has added me to one of their circles. When this happens, I move that person from Following to Acquaintance (unchecking the first, checking the second).
I understand that people might thing of Acquaintances as different than “they clicked a box on the Internet” but in this social networking world it makes sense for me.
BlogComs include people who are fellow science Communicators and/or Bloggers. The purpose of this circle, should I chose to use it, is two fold: 1) To find out what my fellow bloggers are babbling about by looking at just the stream of that circle; and 2) to send my fellow bloggers “bloggable” material, stuff that I hope they saw and might address.
Anthropology is the brainchild of Eric Michael Johnson. Eric has a post on his stream declaring the circle, and people are adding their names or other names in the comments of that post. I’ve also posted BlogCom circle on my stream and people have been adding their names to this.
These two circles suggest a need in Google+ … Google+ should have the ability for people to subscribe to a circle, so that when someone else adds someone to their version of the circle, everyone else gets that person added to their version of the circle. Does that make sense? If not, why not?
My Linux circle is a bit different. These are people who do things with Linux, including and especially make Linux stuff happen or write about it. My intention is to direct the occasional brilliant blog post I write about Linux (not the how-to’s directed at people even dumber than I am which I hardly do any more because it is hard to find them, but the more philosophical pieces) at this circle to avoid annoying my non-Linux googleois (pronounced “google-wa” meaning “citizen of google”) yet getting those ideas some air time in the active Linux community. Think of it as a mailing list for a certain kind of press release.
My Family circle is just for my family and people that are family-like. Almost no one in my family is on google+ so when I view that stream I see myself, and now and then my brother.
Friends is an important circle. My definition of a “friend” in this context is as follows: Someone who if they put something on their stream, the following is true: 1) That person may have an opportunity to see if I noticed their posting in some other (non Google+) context, ranging from a conversation at dinner to a private email back-and-forth to any other context and 2) That I have missed their posting matters to me in the sense that I didn’t want to miss it because I like that person (as opposed to didn’t want to miss it because I didn’t like that person). Some of these “friends” are actually friends, but since I only have about four friends and half of them are not on Google+, I’ve padded this circle with people that I pretend are my friends.
“Everyone” (meaning everyone with whom I’m connected some way or another on google+) is either in the “Acquaintance” or the “Following” circle (but never both … though there are certainly errors). The Friends and Family circles include people who are not on google+ (but are there only as gmail contacts). Most Anthropology and BlogComps are also Acquaintances or I assume will be over time. Some of the Linux googleois have “followed” me back but not all. Linus has a LOT of people following him, by the way. A. Lot.
So that’s my plan. To complicated? Unworkable? Not complex enough? Do you have a better idea? This early trial period is a good time to mess around and change things as needed. There is also the possibility that google will change how the technology works a bit thus causing either what we are doing now to stop working, to work better, or to be obviated by some other feature. Time will tell.