How Do You Handle Google Plus Circles

Every now and again I evaluate how my online social networks are setup. Here’s the latest on my favorite – Google+.

My Circle Setup in the Beginning

I thought I had Google+’s circles down. I thought I had a good setup from the beginning. I logo-googleplushad circles based on how I knew the person and I had circles that outlined a prevailing interest of the person being circled. If Irecall correctly I had some of ¬†the following in place when I setup Google+:

  • Tech
  • Friends/Family
  • Acquaintances
  • Gamers
  • Social
  • Recruiting articles
  • Bookmarks
  • Misc (catch all if I couldn’t determine what circle they should go into)
  • Friends 2nd Degree

Rationale from above could be obvious. The frequency of those circles to show up in my stream were all consistently set at ‘standard’. It was more ‘how do I know this person?’ way of thinking. It worked, but I wasn’t sure it was the best way. I had lots of people in my ‘Gamers’ circle. This lead to a lot of sharing of the same posts and got to be a bit much. Someone in my stream, I fail to recall whom, posted how they manage their circles and so I base my recent approach on what they provided.

Current Google+ Circle Setup

Here is what I have in place now:

  • Notify
  • Flow1
  • Flow2
  • Flow3
  • Gamers/Geeks
  • Recruiters
  • Bookmarks
  • RPG images
  • Wisconsin

Rationale: G+ is about staying in-tune with your stream. I’d refer to this as the consumption of posts by people in your circles. The other piece of G+ is the sharing you do. This could be the production of your posts. It really comes down to your audience, and you being the audience.

For the ‘Notify’ circle, it’s for people that may not post often but you don’t want to miss. Very close family or friends. Maybe an industry big wig. It can’t be someone that posts often or you’re going to get a lot of notifications. I try to keep the amount of people in this circle relatively low. Then it trickles down, or should I say up, since the amount of people in a respected circle goes up from there.

Flow1 are people that interact with me. They are often found commenting on my posts. There’s some kind of online connection or friendship. Again, it’s a low amount of people, but more than ‘Notify’. This set to ‘more’ on the frequency gauge.

Flow2 is set to ‘standard’ and Flow3 is set to ‘fewer’. Each one, ideally, having more and more peoople than the previous circle. You can start seeing the cascading effect take shape.

Flow3 are typically folks that tend to post less and are less interactive or engaging. I should also point out that I don’t view each circle’s stream, rather I default to ‘All’ when I’m on G+.

The Notify and Flows are for my consumption. I’m the audience. The other circles are for sharing.

While I typically posted to ‘Public’ much more than any other way, I started to think that I should pick and choose how to share what I produce. My first setup made this more difficult than what is now in place. Something found on the internet, something catering a broader audience, can be shared publicly while more personal topics can be shared to specific circle(s). One example is that I may want to post what kind of beer I’m enjoying, but not post publicly so that anyone viewing my public posts don’t think I’m a raging alcoholic.

It is not uncommon to have a person in at least two circles. Again, keeping in mind that I’m an audience to those sharing posts and the person circled being an audience of my posts. I have found a noticeable difference in duplicate postings or shares/reshares. A lot of gamers find similar things interesting, which is good and fine, but this helps out the ‘All’ stream from being completely inundated with the same regurgitated posts. As people in Gamers and Flow3 start to engage more or less in comments, plus 1’s, and conversation, I move them up or down. ¬†Example of this is when one such person started to fill my stream with some political opinions and articles. I’m ok with a moderate amount but it got to be too much. I simply move them to Flow3. They’ll still show up, but not overload the ‘All’ stream. You won’t find a person in more than one ‘flow’, this would break the method behind my intentions.

So far this is working out really well. It certainly took some time to hash this all out. At times I’ve had to go one by one to determine where that person fit best. It’s an ever-changing system.

I hope you find this interesting and helpful. What’s your take on circle management?