Managing Google+ Circles For Your Social Networking
With the Google+ social network you can create circles of contacts so you can share your posts selectively with specific circles.
Placing people in appropriate circles is a great way to organize and control who sees what. It also allows you to control what you see in your stream.
Here's how it works. You can follow people by adding them to a circle. However, you only get to see what they post publicly. If they add you to a circle as well, then you will see what they share with that circle.
The same is true in reverse. Anyone who you put in a circle will see your public posts in their stream, and they will also see any posts you had shared with that circle. With proper placement of people in circles, you can control exactly who sees what.
Share Your Posts Selectively
Even if you add someone to a circle, you can avoid seeing his or her posts. You can control what you see and don’t see.
Let's say you add someone to a circle so that they can see the posts you share with that circle. But you don't care to see what they are posting. In that case you can specify which circles should come through in your home stream.
This is how I did it: I created a special circle I called “Following” and I place everyone in that circle whom I want to follow. Even if I already added them to another circle, they make it into my “following” circle as long as I am interested in what they have to say and as long as they don’t spam the stream.
I select the “following” circle in my home stream rather than “all” as shown in the image below.
I consider it spamming when someone posts an ongoing list of new articles they write, without including anything of value in the post. In addition, posting useless information, just to be seen, is a waste of anybody’s time. If someone who is in my “following” circle abuses the issue, I remove them from that circle. But I’ll leave them in one of the other circles.
Following Others Requires Reciprocal Consent
When someone adds you to a circle, they want to hear what you have to say. But they will only see your public posts.
If you want to allow someone who just circled you to also be able to see your posts that you share with specific groups, then you can add that person to a circle you created for that group. When you write posts, you can specify which of your circles will see it.
I have created several circles. And I try to place people in the appropriate one. When someone adds me to a circle, I take a look at their profile to determine what their interests are. This is how I decide which circle to add them to.
Unfortunately many people don't complete their profile, or they don't put enough information in it, to help me determine why they decided to follow me.
I have many interests and I'm in many Google communities that have no relationship to one another. For example, some of the communities I'm in are focused on Amazon Kindle Publishing, Book Publishing, Google Authorship, Google updates, investments, and more. So when people circle me, I have no way to know what they are hoping to achieve unless their profile makes clear what their interests are, or what profession they’re in.
If I were to put someone in the wrong circle, then they would see posts of mine that they have no interest in seeing. So if their profile is not clear, I simply don't add them to a circle.
Sometimes I can determine their interests by examining their links. I look at that too. If someone has a profile link to HubPages, for example, then I add them to my HubPages circle.
If I know them from the Google Community, then I add them to a circle of those specific people. I basically have created a circle to coincide with each community, just to keep things separate and logical. I'll include people in multiple circles if they belong to more than one group.
Sharing Circles - A Bad Idea
I don’t even know why Google created this ability. I was studying how circles can be shared. A lot of thought suddenly went through my head.
The first thing I thought of was that if I would decide to share a circle I would want to get permission from everyone in it first. That could be a big job.
I did come up with a useful idea for sharing circles however. And that is if I were to start a local HubMeet again using Google+. I could put everyone in a Circle called Local HubMeets. Then I could share that circle with Hubbers who are within a geographically desirable distance.
I think that makes more sense, rather than just blindly sharing hundreds of people in a circle. But I still would have to get permission, in my opinion.
Communities vs. Circles
What's the Difference?
Many communities have very useful discussions going on that I find engaging. You need to find one that fits your own interests, join it, and become active in it.
I don't post much to my circles. The Google+ communities are more aligned to having posts on specific discussions. Many sites like HubPages have their own forums. Most of the important discussions about HubPages, for example, are already being done in HubPages' forums. So Google+ would just be duplication of the effort.
You may feel different, and that's okay. I'm just sharing my opinion and how I choose to use Google+. One important thing to keep in mind, however, is that everything you say on Google+ and everyone you communicate with, has a reflection on your authority on the subject(s) you may be involved with, or the topics you write about.
I recommend that you change your settings so that your posts in communities do not go into your public stream. There's no point in making posts public that are unique to individual and unrelated discussions.
You can disable community posts from showing up in your profile by removing the checkmark on the related setting as shown below in your profile settings:
In addition, you may want to remove your +1 tab from your profile. I see no reason to make your +1's public. This would show people all the sites you've ever visited that you've liked. So remove that checkmark too.
Finally, I prefer to only allow people in my circles to be able to message me or email me. So I set checkmarks for those last two items as shown above. You may want to do the same.
There are many more preferences in your settings. I just discussed those that pertain to circles. Google+ is a powerful platform for communication, and for acquiring and sharing information. But if you don't take the time to go through your preferences, you may be sharing more than you desire.
Google makes use of what you post and who have in your circles to determine your interests, your specialties, and your authority in various fields.
Make good use of Google+ and reap the rewards.
© 2013 Glenn Stok
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