There have been many articles and posts explaining the use and power of circles but there haven’t been any decent and practical examples to demonstrate that. Therefore, inspired by the excellent ideas of +Chris Cho and +Jacqueline Passey Mason, I’ve reorganized, prioritized and nested my circles. This is to show you the true potential of circles.
First, we need to understand that a Google+ Circle has two main functions, sharing and streaming:
Sharing (output): This is content that you publish. Depending on your real-life relationship with your contacts, the information you share will not be the same for your different social circles. At the same time, your social circles may overlap. This means one person may be a part of two different circles at the same time.
Streaming (input): This is content that your contacts stream to your Google+ homepage. Streaming is different from sharing in the sense that streams depend more on your interests rather than your relationships.
Hence, to achieve more control over your circles, I believe it is necessary to divide them between sharing and streaming.
Since, my sharing circles can overlap, I decided to further nest and prioritize them based on my real-life relationships with the people in my contacts list. On the other hand, my streaming circles are interest based. Hence, they’re sub-divided by interests and do not necessarily need nesting.
Now, to achieve all this in Google+ is simple. Here is how I did it:
1.3: High School
4: The Internet
4.1: Added Me
s: Tech Talk
This arrangement now makes my sharing and streaming a lot easier to manage:
- If I want to send out information I will only use the sharing circles. If I want to share with my College and Close friends, but not my High school friends, then I will tag 1.1, 1.2 but not 1.3. If I want to share with all my friends I will just tag 1 because it contains everyone from 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4.
- Similarly, if I want to know what my contacts are saying about Android, I will click on the s: Android streaming circle in my stream. If I want to know what my Family has been up to, I will click on the s: Family circle and so on.
Using this method will give you all more control with how you share and view information on Google+. While other social networking sites have also offered similar subdivision of contacts, they are by no means as easy and simple to use as on Google+.
I have also attached a screenshot to show how the prioritizing and nesting looks on Google+.
+Alma Whitten (regarding nesting automation): If you want Circle A to contain Circle B, it’s easy to select all of Circle B and drag it into Circle A, and since it de-dups you can do this kind of mindlessly to keep it fresh. What you can’t do is define Circle A as containing Circle B so that if you remove someone from Circle A they’re automatically removed from Circle B. So far I’m finding that okay though because when I’m removing someone it tends to be person-centric and it’s easy enough to manually remove them from both.
(an empty circle for note-taking): This idea has been widely publicized on Google+ so far. The concept is simple where you can use an empty circle to save any ideas/bookmarks/draft-shares/pictures/posts for easy access later as per your convenience.