One thing that has always frustrated me with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+, is that people overshare. People that I value for insights into certain topics almost beg me to debate them in unrelated fields: do you know how many Christian Socialists are out there?
With Twitter and Facebook, you see everything someone distributes. What if you could just choose the stuff you like? Why do I have to ban every goofy game on Facebook? Why can’t I just say, “NO GAMES”?
This led me to believe that I am probably oversharing: do you know how many people with autism aren’t Lutheran? Why should you suffer through all of my technology posts when you may be my family and all you want is the cool things my kids do?
Google+ Circles are half the answer. A circle is a group of people that I give a message to. I can ensure the people in my Family group only see things about the family without having to wade through everything else. Less stuff for them to read means they may pay more attention to the stuff I’m putting out there. You can’t do this with Twitter and Facebook at all without separate accounts and pages, respectively.
Here is the other half of the answer, which nobody is doing. What if a Google+ user could look at some of my circles that I make publicly available, and request to join those circles? What if a Google+ user could see that they are in my family and my religion circles, and just want to be in my family circle? What if a person just wants the Time Out podcast commentary, without the political posts?
There is a way to do this: I as a Google+ user announce which circles I have where people can opt-in or opt-out. It’s not as efficient as you just being able to pick your topics, and I might suffer a little ego hit when you don’t like my politics. But what a way to cut down on the information overload. What a service to one’s neighbor, when you only give him the stuff he wants to read.
So, beyond the normal Google+ circles, I have circles for my church, Lutheranism in general, autism, and politics. I may add a technology circle, if there’s interest. If you have a Google+ account and want to join a circle you don’t think you’re receiving posts for, let me know.