Have you got your Google+ (Google Plus) profile set up yet? The digital marketing industry is ablaze with talk about Google’s answer to Facebook/Twitter and generally on the whole the conversation has been good. I myself have been impressed with Google’s offering so far. It’s still early days and there are a few things they could improve but they’ve release an overall good product.
One thing you’re going to have to get to grips with is Circles, the topic that’s got a few people in muddle. For those who aren’t aware Circles are Google’s way of helping you to organise the people you connect with on Google+ into groups. You cannot add someone into your Google+ network without assigning them to a Circle but the good news is that you can assign them to more than one! My personal opinion is that Google has got this right from the start something that Facebook and Twitter have added in too late.
The main issue comes from the increasing level of information being thrown at us through all these channels of information. We need a way to manage this flow effectively. Facebook reinvented their Groups functionality which I am yet to use and Twitter added Lists. Whilst these might be effective ways of managing a huge hoard or people it was added after I had set up and added a bunch of fans/friends/followers. This meant having to go back and re-organise! Not good!
Google+ is encouraging new users to organise their circles of friends/acquaintances as we set them up. Now I’ve heard a number of people grumble and suggest they don’t have time to do this. Someone even suggested they dumped everyone in one group for organising later! But there’s good reason for making sure you organise your followers from day one as how you set up your Google+ Circles will define how easy the system is to use in the future.
Why Organise your Google Plus Circle?
Better control over privacy: a subject which is always at the forefront of people’s minds when using social networks. They want to control who they share personal information with; fair enough! By organising you friends into tight knit groups you can easily choose who gets to see what. I am very much up for this as it means I can be a little more frivolous with what I share and feel more confident only the people I want to see it actually do!
Control your stream: You’re not going to want to hear what all the people you follow have to say all of the time. If I am in business mode I check out the latest goings on in the digital world and when I am thinking about my loved ones I can check out my family’s latest updates. This can be done easily through the use of Circles! This is nothing new as you can do this through Facebook and Twitter; I just haven’t got the time to retrofit the lot! And Google make it so easy to flit between each Circle with a handy drop down on the left hand side!
Easier to hangout: Google+ has a feature it calls “hangouts” which allows you to have set up quick video conferencing sessions with your Circles. If this is something you feel you might use then it’s worth getting this right from the start. Frankly until they build in a filter that makes me look less hideous on a webcam I am steering well clear!
Ignore the above? Some people might find all of this too much fuss but there’s no reason why you can lump everyone in one circle and just use it like Facebook or Twitter (shame on you!).
Organising your Google+ Circles
Getting your Circles right from the start is going to save you a big headache in the future. And if you change your mind at a later time there’s no reason why you can shift things about. I believe Google’s interface makes this a darn sight easier than any other system I’ve used! Here’s some suggested categories to get your started:
Close relations: These are the people you would trust your life with, close family and friends that you don’t mind them finding anything out and you can trust them with your more intimate details. This gives you more confidence in sharing family images and those posts that you might not want to share with a wider audience!
Social friends: Those people who you speak to on a regular basis but perhaps mainly over social networks or places you both like to hang out. You might not want to share more intimate details than with your close relations but you still want to share more social information such as what you are up to at the weekend.
Acquaintances: The heading says it all really. The people you’d have a friendly chat with when bumping into them in the street but that you might not actually want to have any deep or meaning relationship with. These are the kinds of people you might want to keep the private information away from; something that’s always been a chore on Facebook or Twitter.
Interests: Group together people that have a similar interest or work in a similar industry. This is a great way to easily keep up to date with the latest developments.
Geographical: Keeping a circle with people within your local area might prove useful. One the great things about social networks is the real-time responses you get to questions like “Can anyone recommend a good restaurant?” or “Has anyone got a tent I can borrow for the weekend?”. People in your local area are a great resource pool when you need help or advice.
Ex-work colleagues: This circle could serve two purposes. If you’re still in the same industry but working for a competitor this might help you keep abreast of their developments and also wider industry developments. It also means you can keep an eye on all the juicy gossip from your ex-colleagues!
Ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriends: Find out who their dating now an cry if they’re better looking than you…?!?
Please share with us your suggestions, be interested to see how people are grouping their followers.