i-60ea264b1f3b791b5edef556f032cb33-Google-social-networking-thumb-250x187-67293.jpgPeople 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:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Acquaintances
  • Following
  • Anthropology
  • BlogComs
  • NewsOutlets
  • Linux

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.

Comments

  1. #1 Rick Sumner
    July 16, 2011

    Mike Elgan offered a description of the model that Vic Gundotra seems to think is pretty accurate, and she should know:

    Here’s what I love about Google+ in general and the Google+ Diet in particular:

    Instead of saying, “I’m going to write a blog post now,” or “I’m going to send an e-mail” or “I think I’ll tweet something” you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you’re going to say it to.

    If you address it to “Public,” it’s a blog post.

    If you address it to “Your Circles” it’s a tweet.

    If you address it to your “My Customers” Circle it’s a business newsletter.

    If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.

    I’d say this is pretty revolutionary.

    Which largely sums up your method (and, for the most part, any method anyone else is going to come up with, at least at the moment).

    The flexibility of the model underscores the error of the commonly repeated view that they’re going after Facebook though. They’re not, they’re going after social graphs. . .at the end of the day they’re still a search company. The fact that posts like this (and there are thousands of them, all over the interwebs) exist just shows that they’re going to get exactly what they want. Not that that’s bad. . .I think most people trust Google more than almost any other company.

    Though I think the most interesting question out of all the Google news lately is what Amazon is going to do. . .they’re the only major online brand keeping out of everything. A sleeping giant if ever there was one.

  2. #2 dean
    July 16, 2011

    Interesting. I haven’t had time to play with it this week but I’m hoping to this weekend. I did email some of the folks in my department with the suggestion that a circle of faculty would be a good collaboration/communication tool: mixed responses.

    How have you found its “ease of use” (for lack of a better term)?

  3. #3 John Moeller
    July 16, 2011

    I’d be happy to be in your Linux circle.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2011

    John, you are. And thanks for that excellent suggestion (on your feed+) regarding copying people between circles.

  5. #5 Ian Tindale
    July 16, 2011

    They haven’t let me join this nonsense whereas other people have been let in — therefore I would never use it now even if they let me in. I’ve managed the past fifty years without it just fine.

    I remember deleting a facebook account many years ago (proper deletion — not simply dormant) when they let all the riff-raff in. I somehow can’t imagine deleting my google account likewise simply because it were ever to become an unmanageable attention sink.

  6. #6 shell.account.etcetera
    July 16, 2011

    I would, but I’m still awaiting my invite.

  7. #7 barefootmeg
    July 16, 2011

    “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?”

    i’d call that a group or community or something along those lines. any time anyone can opt in on their own, that’s no longer a personal thing but a group thing. i would think that G+ would add something like that at some point. perhaps it will come when businesses are given their own kind of pages/accounts here. i would think there’d be a lot of overlap in how a business page and how a group page might work.

    as far as the mike elgan post goes… multiply.com has had this sort of differentiation available since 2004, so G+ is hardly revolutionary in that regard.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2011

    Barefootmeg: Yes, I agree this could be a thing other than a circle, but such that circles can be turned (or fed) into it and perhaps created from it.

    I still don’t get the elgan post fully. I can’t replicate posting on my blog by posting on google+, can I? Maybe that’s just to serve people who are not blogging who kinda want to but won’t.

    I’ll have to check out multiply.com

    What IS revolutionary (so far) about G+ is that it is pretty much like facebook but not broken. Yet.

  9. #9 Ryan Darrow
    July 16, 2011

    I have a different solution to circles…mine overlap quite extensively. I have a circle for my “Inner” friends, one for extended friends (which includes my inner friends too, so I only have to add that one circle to share something like I would on Facebook), I have a circle of people that come to my weekly game night (which includes people from a variety of other circles), etc…Basically, if it’s a real life social circle I have replicated it in G+.

  10. #10 Paul
    July 16, 2011

    Would love to try it, but it is by invitation only… anyone willing to give me an invite?

    Email pleduc at gmail dot com. Tnx!

  11. #11 Rick Sumner
    July 16, 2011

    @BarefootMeg

    Multiply.com is a fundamentally different product, you’re comparing apples and oranges. And Google has indicated that you won’t see any business pages–I’m guessing changes in Google place will fill that, but they might just not bother. They’re not after businesses, they’re after social data.

    @Greg

    What Elgan is saying is that you don’t need to replicate your blog at all, you replace it, by blogging on Google+, and then setting it to public. Scoble has already been hinting that he’s going to do exactly that. Kevin Rose has stated outright that he is. These are some fairly heavy hitters in tech.

    Rose’s site already redirects to it, in fact:

    http://kevinrose.com

    I doubt it will play that role for most users, but I can easily see it replacing a Tumblr style microblog.

    It’s like Facebook, but not quite the same thing. It’s more like a one-stop social network aggregate. It’s unlikely to replace the big guns–Facebook and Twitter at the moment–but that’s not what Google is after, so it doesn’t really matter if they do or not.

  12. #12 Rick Sumner
    July 16, 2011

    @Paul

    Done

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2011

    Paul, I went to invite you and see you are already in!

    Rick: What Elgan is saying is that you don’t need to replicate your blog at all, you replace it, by blogging on Google+, and then setting it to public.

    And they will senz me monies?

  14. #14 Rick Sumner
    July 16, 2011

    @Paul

    No, not quite that good. But most people–the huge majority–don’t monetize their content, or if they do don’t produce any notable income from it.

    I’d expect something like Blogger integration somewhere down the line, though that’s just speculation

  15. #15 G.Shelley
    July 17, 2011

    I’m still trying to see what circles offer that lists don’t on Facebook.

  16. #16 Miriam Stark
    July 17, 2011

    I’m fascinated that although your article is about Google+, there is no offering to let me plus one it, just like it on Facebook or share it on twitter. Ironically amusing!

  17. #17 Really?
    July 18, 2011

    I just got sent here from a link on G+ (nice post). Now, is your name really Gregg Laden? Or did you make a funny (as in Bin Laden)? I can’t work it out from the few pages I’ve browsed.

    But 6.5K Alexia… I’ll listen for a while.

  18. #18 Really?
    July 18, 2011

    OK. So you are Greg Laden. Sorry for the ‘Bin Laden’ association mix-up.

    Lol… Greg Laden. That’s funny. Like, Afghan-American.

  19. #20 Greg Laden
    July 18, 2011

    JL: Imma share that on g+

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