Google+, Signal, Noise and The Limitations of Circles

For the last couple of days I've been struggling with how best to post on Google+. Up to now the majority of my posts have simply been sent out to Public, meaning that anyone can see it. The only exceptions so far have been posts for my family. But I'm a moderately heavy poster to my social networks. Most days I post between 15 and 25 items a day and I post on a variety of different topics, though I do try to keep my re-shares relatively low to avoid too much repetition for people.

While my output on its own is not that outrageous, I'm conscious that people following me may be looking for particular content and my output on top of everything else they are following may well become overwhelming once the G+ floodgates are opened wide.

Using Circles

One solution to this would be to sort everyone into circles based on their interests and send my posts directly to those circles. This would dramatically reduce the noise in my stream for everyone I had placed in a circle, but has the problem that anyone who was following me and who I do not have in the relevant circle. People would have to constantly let me know of their interests and there would be ongoing maintenance of the circles. This seems impractical.

Even worse would be the lack of activity in my public stream. If I'm posting all this stuff to a SciFi or TV circle then there's nothing going to the main public stream so there's no reason for anyone new to follow me.

It's clear that circles as they currently stand are not designed for this function.  The would work for a small group of friends or colleagues, but not for a larger group of  "followers".

Public Circles

The best solution I have seen proposed is a variation on circles, public circles if you will. These would be circles that people could add themselves to and so wouldn't require the poster to perform all the maintenance. It wouldn't solve the problem of an empty public stream, but there are other ways round that.

Leave It Up To the Followers

Currently the only practical option I have is to leave the filtering up to my followers. I've tried to make it clear on my profile what my primary posting interests are and certainly if you read my public stream for the last day it's pretty obvious. Unless Google chooses to add public circles (or some equivalent functionality) the only options I can give people are to use their own circles as filters.

Work In Progress

Circles is a major improvement in social network structure, but it's clearly not the whole solution. Let's hope for another breakthrough.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?


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