To Share +1's or Not to Share +1's

Yesterday I was perusing my stream on Google+ when I noticed that +Dustin W. Stout had +1’d a post by +Taylor Swift. Now, I couldn’t help but think it was out of place for someone as savvy as Dustin to broadcast his interaction on a post with a mega celebrity that doesn’t have much at all to do with his realm (being awesome at the Internet).

When I privately alerted Dustin of what I thought must have been a mistake, something that he had overlooked, I got a reply that made me totally reconsider the way I thought about sharing +1’s.

Within minutes of seeing Dustin’s reply, I noticed this post in my stream by +Chris Jenkins that had been “vetted” by +Mark Traphagen+Derek Ross and +Eli Fennell (three people that I highly admire).

Prior to the screen capture, I didn’t have +Chris Jenkins in my circles. In fact, if the three people that I trust so much hadn’t +1’d the post and had their accounts enabled to show +1 recommendations, I never would have seen the post appear in my stream.

When the +1 broadcast feature was initially released, it was met with two schools of thought. One was that those that decided to turn the broadcast on, would either self-censor themselves or “over-share” and possibly +1 things that didn’t fit their brand or niche. The other school of thought was that by enabling the feature, you would allow your followers to be open to a whole new world of content and creative people.

Sadly, at the time of the release, I bought into the first theory. I didn’t want to censor myself by changing the way that I 1+ content. I wanted to +1 whatever the heck I wanted to, and not worry about someone else seeing it appear in their stream. I wanted to show everyone I was following that I was listening.

I guess at a certain point in your Internet presence, that school of thought is okay. But, with a large audience comes a bit of responsibility (at least in my mind) which is why I think I should take the opportunity to share what I find interesting with the rest of my followers. Starting today, I’m going to think about what I really enjoy reading, watching and engaging with. As I find things those things, I think it’s time to reward the people that took the time and effort to create and share those things.

Thanks, +Dustin W. Stout, for making me change the way I think.

How to Better Manage Your Circles in Google+

With the release of Google’s new “Community” feature on Google+, you can take a deep breath and stop trying to sort each and every person you come across into the right interest-based circle. The community function allows you to focus on not only who you are interested in, but what you are interested in. As communities begin to develop and mature and you continue to use them, you might find yourself spending less time managing your circles.

Photo By Leo Reynolds used under Creative Commons 2.0
Photo By Leo Reynolds used under Creative Commons 2.0

Communities take the guesswork out of circles.

Up until this week, you were charged with the task of keeping up with people on Google+ exclusively through circles. If you found someone that was also interested in Technology, you might have added them to your Tech circle, but realized they are also passionate about cats. You hate cats. Communities solves that problem. Sometimes we aren’t as interested in the people we interact with as we are interested in the topic at hand.

Now with communities, you can focus on conversations focused around topics that interest you and not just people that may have said something interesting at one point in time. No longer do you need to blindly create circles centered around topics in fear of “missing” something relevant. With communities, you can rely on quality curation of the content you’re really looking for.

So what should you do with all of those topical circles, or the random circle shares you added? Give them a rest. Go into the individual sliders and pull the volume down to ‘Mute.’ Give it a week or two. Notice a difference? Less noise? I guess you can live without that circle after all…

5,000 People, That’s It?

The notion of being able to “follow” 5,000 people is ridiculous and if you claim to be able to do it with any sort of consistency, then you have super-human powers. In fact, a study with Facebook users found that if you follow too many people, you might become unhappy.

“Among the group who read updates, the study revealed that having 354 Facebook friends seemed to be the tipping point after which people were increasingly less happy with their lives.” – Menshealth.com

When you look at the way you manage circles on Google+, ask yourself “Why did I follow these people?” Maybe you thought that keeping in touch with a group of people could lead to a new job. However, if you were following people just because you thought the picture they posted that one time was interesting, you are probably circling for the wrong reasons.

Today I chatted on the phone with Laurie DesAutels, a talent acquisition expert that specializes in connecting with people based on their skills and talent. “If I’m going to be interacting with 5,000 people in my circle, I’ve got to be kind of picky. I want it to be people that post regularly and people that I want to see in my timeline.”

She went on to say “It’s not all about quantity, it’s about quality.”

Use your circles to connect with the people that you care about.

Keeping your topical correspondence and your personal/business correspondence separate has just become that much easier. Focus less on strangers that only peak your interests 10% of the time and start focusing on the people you care about through your circles and the topics that interest you through communities.

Now that you have a degree of separation between relationships and interests, you should be able to better strengthen and develop your relationships while enjoying more relevant content centered around your topics of interest.

Give it a try, hit the mute button on your random circles and leave the Home stream to people you care about.

What do you think? Are Google+ Communities the best thing since sliced bread, or just another distraction? Will Communities help you turn down the noise and turn up the volume on the things you love?