The “Circle” Game

Welcome to Google Plus

Thanks to my friend Christopher Porter, I received an invite right at the beginning. I was enthralled with the newness of the application like everyone else. I played with my profile and checked out everything I could. I downloaded the app to my Droid phone and even had a chat via “Huddle.” Dude, I was “In like Flint.”  I even worked diligently to “slip” a few friends in when Google throttled down the invites due to the response they received.

Over the past week, blog posts extolling the virtues of Google Plus (G+) came out. There are even a few about the negatives (and there are negatives). I am not going to lay out how to use G+ or how to maximize it for your best use. Why? Others have done it and honestly, I am still trying to figure that out for myself.

Spinning in Circles

The “circle” system now has become a dilemma for me.  What to name my circles, what circle do I put “so and so” in?

Over the past week, the “so and so has added you” notifications started coming in. I have hundreds of people waiting to be put somewhere. People I don’t know, people I “kinda sorta” know, and people I wouldn’t share anything with at any time, have added me. Folks that normally might not follow me on Twitter have added me for heaven’s sake. Was there a race on G+ to see who could be “top dog” the fastest?  What do I do with these people?  What happens if I don’t put them in a circle? Will they know? Would they even care?

While I am still not sure where I should put people, what I do know is that I dislike intensely the lack of privacy that we seem to have with these circles when you block someone.

I dislike the fact that if I block someone and someone who has added me to a circle adds them to a circle, the blocked person can see me, the discussions I have, and can make comments through that circle. (Clear as mud?) It rather dismisses the purpose of the block, in my opinion. (Yes, I have blocked people. They are blocked on every social media outlet I have.)

How much do I share and with whom?

On Facebook, I am very selective about whom I friend (I have 1/10th the amount of friends than people I follow on Twitter). I even wrote about that here. I don’t share everything on Twitter, nor do I share everything on Facebook. However, Facebook is where I do share a more personal slice of my life.  What do I share on G+ and with whom do I share it? I hesitate to post anything because frankly, I am not sure who is seeing it, even when I share to circles that I think would limit my reach.

 A lot of noise

There is a lot of noise on G+. I am not interested in every detail, picture, and comment of everyone that has added me to their circles. No offense, it is just too overwhelming for me. Put aside that 90% of the posts are about G+ (I’m guessing that will wear off eventually), I’m still faced with posts from people I don’t know, conversations I’d rather not read, and pictures I’d rather not see.  I have found the same content posted on Facebook and in a limited way on Twitter. Pick your platform people – duplicating content everywhere is not cool.

Interestingly, by July 4th the novelty of G+ had worn off for me. One week later and nothing has changed. I have tons of people who I need to add to circles that I have yet to create and a lot of content that does not interest me. Honestly, I do not have the time to check yet another social media stream that is almost identical to the ones I already have.

For now, this is another toy in a toy box that is already overflowing with all the social media tools, app’s and “latest-n-greatest” things that have come down the road over the past year or so.  How many of these toys do I use regularly? Honestly, very few.

While I think Google Plus does have great potential, I think I will wait until things settle down before I head back and play the “circle game.”

(Thank you Joni Mitchell for the title inspiration.)

  8 comments for “The “Circle” Game

  1. July 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I like a few features but am stressed out about many more.

    Time management and inbox management? Huge issue.

    Also, the time it takes to mute conversations I am done with…well. I would rather opt in to a conversation than take time opting out. So that makes me less likely to converse, because I don’t want to keep looking at that stream.

    Privacy is a concern, and I think people feel they have more privacy than they do.

    Everyone says their circles are private, but if they post to a circle, and I am in it, I can see who else is in it, so how is that private?

    So, I agree, Sherree. My head is ringing from the noise!

    • July 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm


      I totally agree on the time and inbox management issues. Really, who has time to wade through all of that? I like your “opting in” idea. That actually makes sense.

      As for privacy? There is none. Someone I blocked is front and center in a conversation by someone that apparently has me in a circle with this person. Yeah, not happy about that, at all.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks there’s too much noise as well. It is just too overwhelming for me.

      Thanks so much for your comment. I wonder if you should submit a “feedback” request to Google about the “Opt-in” idea?


  2. July 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I am right there with you, Sherree. I looked at it yesterday(?) I think. Not too terribly impressed. The more I hear, the more I’m not a fan either. I love to adopt early, but this one, I think will have to wait. Stand strong! 😉

    • July 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      Smart move Brandon…very smart :)


  3. July 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I have decided that I will not be sucked into it, I’ve been offered several invites and have turned them all down. It’s hard enough on me trying to keep up with Facebook and Twitter and I have those on my phone, so technically I’m constantly connected but I barely use it on there. Had it come along before the two of them then I may have considered it. But for now, I’ll tweet, and post status updates…when I get a chance :)
    p.s. you’ve probably already figured this one out…our technology free weekend didn’t last past 6 am Saturday morning 😉 It’s okay though because I plan on grounding him next weekend for sure!

    • July 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      Brandi –

      I totally understand your turning down invites. If I wasn’t such a geek about this stuff, I probably would’ve waited as well. Having a couple of social media streams to monitor with all the app’s to go with it (and I have a ton of apps on my phone), this just seems to be too much for me at the moment. Same content, most of the same people, it’s just too much.

      I was not going to make a comment about your “tech free” weekend either :)


  4. July 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Sherree, I’m glad you broached this subject with your usual refreshing straight-forwardness and honesty. While I admit to initially being more than a little enamored with G+ and the surrounding hype generated by the technorati and journo-elite, it’s also losing some appeal with me because, as you point out, it’s another social network platform to manage. This might be good and well further down the line (if and when Google succeeds in their plan to make Google Plus into the ‘connective tissue of the web’) but for now, I find myself needing to prioritize the established platforms.

    • July 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      Jacqui –

      As I mentioned to Brandi above, if I wasn’t such a geek, I probably would have waited. For now, it goes on the back burner until I can really see a practical use for it.

      I still have qualms about the privacy (or lack thereof) and I’m not sure I want everything I have that relates to Google (Gmail, Calendar, etc) all integrated into one application — although it’s already started.

      Time will tell about all of this.


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