Thursday, September 08, 2011

Redrawing circles

I've been giving some thought to how I use Google Plus and how I see others using it, and I've decided to restructure my circles. It's not what you think. Generally when I see people make that announcement it includes a list of the circles they have and they ask their followers which circles they want to be put into. That is not what I'm talking about. I'm drawing my circles around people I want to read, not what I'm going to say.

The idea of Google Plus for some is to be able to create lists of people by topic and only posting that topic to those lists. I'm starting to see the beauty in using the out of the box circles for communicating to my audience then adding circles for topics I want to read, voices I want to hear. There are a couple reasons for this.

On the left hand side of G+ there is a list of my feeds by circle, Incoming, Notifications, and Sparks. These are the voices in my stream that I can hear and sort. I want to listen to yarnies or Whovians? I can click on that feed and read. Kind of like reading one of my lists on Twitter or by following a hashtag. But unlike Twitter, I can respond to the whole list just by choosing that circle. It's a nice feature that I wish Twitter had, and a feature I like about G+, but one I wouldn't use all the time. I don't only tweet to a hashtag. I interact with my friends.

I'm more than just a yarnie or a Whovian. When I'm tweeting, I'm talking to my community. My NCIS friends know that I knit, write, and read Steampunk. They know that I have a garden, I'm walking a half-marathon this weekend, and I love Shakespeare. I don't focus my topics to narrow audiences in real life or on Twitter. Why should I on G+?

What I do like about the circles is that I can share more personal information with family and friends than I do with acquaintances or strangers. It's not the topic in general that I want to sort but the amount of information that I want to make public. This means I'll only have a few circles I'll post to. Family, friends, and acquaintances--choosing the right audience just got simpler. These are the circles we were given when we signed up and I'm thinking the Googlers were onto something.

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