Time to clean out your Google + Circles

July 11, 2011

My stream has an attitude and I think it’s time for an adjustment.

In the past few days my Google + stream has started to get a bit hostile. The search giant’s new social media platform has created quite the frenzy in the past two weeks amongst the technical crowds. Invites were in high demand as people seemed eager for a shiny new social media toy. But now the novelty is starting to wear off.

For the few who were invited to the initial launch, and the even fewer that were able to get into the relatively small invite window, Google + felt a bit like a lame party. Most people only had a few friends in their circles and weren’t able to engage in a complete social experience. But, a general enthusiasm gave the network a pulse and people quickly reached out to strangers. Many have made some fantastic new G+ connections.

But, G+ has lost its new car smell. People have realized, the only conversation on G+ is about G+, and they are getting tired of it. If you work at Google I’m sure the conversation is great feedback….but for the rest of us, it just makes for a boring, repetitive dialogue. How much knit-picking do we need? Furthermore, how can we really give feedback about a social platform if we are still all business?

What’s worse is that people’s conversation has developed a frustrated and somewhat hostile tone. Now the most common thread in my stream asks that people stop talking about Google Plus. The second most common thread demands those other people quit bossing them around.

I had this in my stream this morning:

Why all the hostility?

In the panic of not having enough people in your circles –wanting the full G+ experience– you (I did it too) added too many people into your circles…..some of which you just don’t like.  Some of those people post too much, some not enough, and some are just posting stupid stuff that you have no interest in.

Within the week of launching people were hanging out with strangers in Google +’s overly worshiped video chatting system and everyone was having a good time sending feedback and discussing all of Plus’s features and failures. Even more people were having a great time forwarding Facebook memes. Now that an overload of memes isn’t fun anymore and we have hashed out all of the features Google Plus should have and shouldn’t have, what is there left to talk about?

There are those few who are social butterflies — those who can handle 5000+ people in their circles — who respond to as many as they can and are able to engage anyone in an interesting conversation. But certainly they can’t be getting any work done. And, let’s face the truth. Most of us are not that person.

We simply can’t handle the overload. Most of us need a manageable amount of information. (Of course, there are those who still only have a handful of people in their circles. I know a few people like this, but from what I see, they aren’t having the full Google Plus experience.) For the rest of us…

It’s time to clean out your circles.

The initial clean might take several hours, but you will be grateful you spent the time. Your overall experience with Google Plus  as a social network will improve and your stream will work for you.

What regular and consistent Facebook use has taught me, and it does apply to Google Plus, is that you should manage your friends the same way you would in life. Keep the people who you find intriguing and forget to call back the ones who make you cringe.

Google Plus’s general spirit thus far has encouraged an open dialogue, even with people we don’t know. I hate to see that go away because people are irritated with the few people clogging up their stream.

I feel your pain — the desire to have a dynamic Google Plus stream — really I do. But enough complaining already about other people’s post choices. Go, clean out your circles.

A few tips that can help you maintain the perfect stream [for you]:

  • Clean out your circles regularly.
  • Before adding new friends, take a few minutes to view their profile, how often they post, and read several of their posts.
  • Don’t overload yourself with circles. Pick a few broad categories to keep things simple.
  • If  you notice someone regularly clogging up your stream, go and remove them from your circle. (You don’t have to go to the edit circles page and scroll through hundreds of names…just click on their profile pic and use the drop down.)
  • Don’t be so uptight. Loosen up and enjoy the interesting and wonderful things other people have to say. And, sometimes, cut them some slack. No one’s perfect. This is just good advice in general.

Top Image: http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets


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One Response to Time to clean out your Google + Circles

  1. Greg on August 26, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    I initially added a lot of people. As I saw interesting posts by a few people, I’d move them to a ‘good’ circle. After several weeks, I was able to delete all but 100 or so people.

    Although, even following thousands of people, the noise died down a lot. I’m somewhat disappointed by how little most people seem to be using g+. A lot of people clearly tried it, but profile after profile are a single image and no posts.

    Why did Google tell suggest I follow someone who clearly has never used g+? Is this really the best user Google could recommend for me?

    Of those who do post, the majority of them are clearly using g+ as marketers and spammers hoping to gain some secret google boost for having 1000 g+ friends.

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