Monday, August 1, 2011

Google Plus: Circles

Remember disposable cameras?

I loved them. You had to be precise with every shot, otherwise you risk losing a good picture. I think my success rate with disposables was 50/50, but the ones that turned out looked great. Even the process from taking pictures to getting them developed was an event; you take them to the store, tell your loved ones about that awesome trip and they want to see pictures, and soon after getting them developed you meet again to show off your photos and recount your adventure.

Usually the ones who got privy to those pictures were the ones you went to see in person: family, close friends, mentors. Fast forward to 2004 (2006 for me) with the emergence of Facebook. All of a sudden you have moved from film to digital and can instantly upload all of your pictures onto the internet for certain people to see. It's a great idea, but overtime as more and more people added you and entered your circle, a problem began to emerge. All of a sudden, photos that before you only shared with family, close friends, mentors became available to almost everyone. Suddenly that person you knew in high school ten years earlier and never spoke to since can find out about certain details about your life before others do.

Solution? I found what people do is shorten their list, remove people entirely. I found another solution via Google+ Circles. This is an opportunity to start over. I value Facebook because it has caught on quickly with practically everyone I know personally. I still value their input on things, and you just never know what benefit can come from a contact, so I refuse to remove a person. However, Google's circles feature allows me to decide in what order people receive information from me. It also allows me to filter information to certain groups who would be interested in a topic. For example, if 7 of 10 people in my network like discussing politics then why not create a circle for those 7 where I can post political topics.

The circles feature was the most discussed feature upon its release, yet I'm only now thinking the added value. Will I stop checking Facebook? If I ever do, it will not be because of Google+. G+ has given me a chance to start over, and possibly enhance my engagement with my own network.

In a sense it is like I'm starting over with a disposable camera again, only this time all my pictures turn out perfectly.

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