Should Google+ Copy and Pinterest?

If you’re familiar with Google+, you have probably noticed that the “notification” system needs a serious revamp. Currently, when posting something, whether public, private or only to certain circles, you have the ability to “notify” up to 100 people. On the surface, this sounds great, however in practice, it is anything but.

An Internet acquaintance of mine,  +Johnny Roquemore, expressed his annoyance with unrelated notifications coming from people within his circles. The offender was a good friend of mine, +matthew rappaport. Matthew posts about all kinds of stuff. I mean, his content is literally all over the place. He keeps it interesting and lots of the time, funny. However, his content doesn’t necessarily carry a particular theme.

The problem with Google+ as it stands is that you don’t have a way to notify people interested in certain things or interests. Pinterest has it right by creating different boards that you can subscribe to. That way if, say Matthew, only wanted to see my posts about Google+ and Social media, he could subscribe to those boards, but he wouldn’t be subjected to my posts about cats and Star Wars memorabilia. No, don’t worry, I don’t post about either of those things.

As a content creator, each time I submit a post to Google+, I have to find less than 100 people that I chose to notify when I create a post. Because some of these posts may not be of interest to a large number of my followers, I am usually very selective with notifying anyone of my new posts. But let’s say I have a fan that really wants to learn more about digital marketing. Let’s say that I have the ability to “tag” my posts with whatever categories I often share about. If this person if interested in any of these particular “tags,” they can simply subscribe to them. If they are really interested, they can subscribe & be notified. That way the notifications are in the hands of the readers, not the posters, giving them control of the content their are subjected to.

If I were to guess, Johnny probably wouldn’t have ever subscribed to Matthew’s animated GIF’s or #foodporn posts. But then again, maybe I’m wrong…


What do you think? How should Google+ handle notifications and content subscriptions? Do you like it the way it is now? Leave your feedback in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “Should Google+ Copy and Pinterest?”

  1. This is the way I wanted G+ to work, largely because I am a heavy user of Google Reader/feedly/RSS and Tumblr. Like your example of Pinterest, those systems allow for subscribing to interests and being notified to reading new relevant items. The G+ method of subscribing to an individual’s output, all or nothing, creates way too much noise and very little value. A way to be notified about new items relevant to saved searches could be a useful addition.

    1. Thaddaeus, I’m with you the whole way. Do you think it would be overwhelming for newer users though if they just started subscribing to things like crazy and had no content from their friends or family visible?

      Do you think Google is waiting until more people embrace the network to launch these features? (Assuming they do.)

  2. Peter, I may be in the minority. I was in one of your hangouts awhile back (ordering shoes from some company; it was fun). You seem to be rather up-to-date on things & I sort of get to ‘know’ you by the breadth & depth of what you post– if something doesn’t really interest me, I simply move on– no biggie. (a Franklin resident who spends a lot of time in Perry County on the Buffalo River).

  3. Hear, hear.

    One way I imagine Google can implement something that satisfies this goal: public interests circles; circles that plussers opt-in on, as opposed to ordinary circles where the circle owner manually selects anc categorizes each plusser one by one into circles of his choosing… [/end half-formed idea; will get back to you when I have a less abstract model. Someday. Maybe. Hopefully.]

  4. Definitely agree, Peter. This is just the kind of well thought out system G+ needs for content shares. I have also discovered the limitations of Circles and notifications as they exist right now. There is room for improvement. Great how you mentioned an advantage that Pinterest has that G+ could learn from. A lot of social networks have a few good features, but they’re missing a lot more. Google has an opportunity to make a much more complete experience, and they’re doing it with consistent upgrades (in part from tips they get from us users, no doubt).

  5. I think that the notifications should be able to take you to the latest comment from the notification list as well… especially in the Iphone App!!! i get notified of a comment on a post that i commented on and have to scroll through the ENTIRE CONVERSATION to get to the last comment in the list… that is extremely annoying… I like the idea of being able to subscribe or “follow” a post or “unfollow” a post much like FB if you can do that I would be much happier in my plus world.

  6. Probably, Google can use their ‘Notification’ Bar or something just like GMail Desktop notifications, after giving control to the user to choose whose posts they’d like to be notified about.
    That way, the use will have a controlled feature, which if screwed, is the responsibility of the user himself!

  7. Hi Peter,

    i think the easiest way to implement it would be to make it possible for people to see to what circle of yours a post was made available (be default it says “limited”) so if you have several circles for topics then a post could be to group a, group b etc and if people are able to see to what circle it is posted they could set filters on it. However the ability to see the circles name has to be manual else it could be embarassing :-). If you were to make the circles name a “tag” automatically then that would be swell too…

    my 2 cents.

  8. Peter,
    I had not thought of it this way, before. At first, I was confused by the way someone else explained the thought when sharing your article. But, now I get it, and I’m with ya!

    For kicks, I tried an experiment:
    In the G+ search box, I typed in Peter G McDermott #Nashville.
    This brought up all your posts tagged #Nashville. By using the handy button, I can save the search for future reference and new posts.

    Two drawbacks to this method:
    1. Having to take the extra steps.
    2. Any post that tags both Peter G McDermott and #Nashville shows in the search. E.G. If I tag you in a Nashville post, that shows up; or if you comment on someone else’s #Nashville post.
    Search results:

    It may be a bonus that it works that way. If I “subscribe” to you #Nashville posts, I would only see your original content. By “saving the search,” I also get to see anything that mentions both, or which you “add” to. That could be a +.

    On another note, very nice re-vamp of the site! Well done, my friend.

  9. The system you described would work well for content creators and web savvy people. I don’t think it works great for just simple social interaction. First of all, perhaps I’d be interested in more than one stream from a person. How would I know which ones they post to? What if they add interests since I’ve reviewed their profile?

    Second, it means putting more work into creating a post. Again, that’s ok for social media types but I think it would deter your average user from setting it up.

    I receive a lot of notifications from very random people. I cannot possible circle back and follow all the people who follow me. Sometimes I appreciate them drawing attention to what I’d otherwise miss. I do get spammed from time to time, but I find ignoring it makes them go away. And if I’m over-notified from a friend I just quietly ask them to tone it down. It’s a non-event for me.

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