Going in Circles with Google+

My Circle Problem

Trying to create Circles in Google+ can get confusing. The taxonomy of relationships - or at least my relationships - is very, very complicated. Let's start with a Circle for friends - but not all friends are the same, really, so let's make that close friends and acquaintances, two Circles - then a Circle for family. But who actually treats all family members equally when it comes to sharing? Immediate family, extended family, in-laws, etc... more Circles. Now co-workers, people I met years ago at a conference, people I've never met but sometimes care what they have to share, etc...

Relationship taxonomy is too complex! And then I have to decide, when I go to share something, is this for my close friends? My immediate family? My in-laws? Well... yes, some of them. Not all of them. But I can't be bothered to name each individual, that's what the Circles are for!

My Circle Solution

Create Circles based on content you share, not relationships.

What does that mean? It means, think of something you share - say, vacation photos. Now make a "Vacation Photos" Circle and add to that all the people you like to share those photo with: your parents, siblings, most of your close friends, the in-laws you like, and so on. Now make one for news about your garden, your stamp collection, or whatever other hobby you have, group you are affiliated with, etc. Add people who share that hobby, affiliation, or interest. See how this goes? Repeat as necessary. Now, when you go to share, you just pick the Circle you built for that topic.

I have one other circle, "Following" which is for all the people I want to subscribe to posts from, but probably won't share with directly. I can't see myself ever using the "My Circles" or "Extended Circles" sharing options - why not just make it public? If you "Follow" anyone like I do, and I expect anyone coming from Twitter will be into that habit, then "My Circles" or "Extended Circles" might as well be public.

Oh, and the redesign

I'm the first to admit, I'm not much of a graphic artist. I always tell my project managers to hire a professional designer so we can get great looking web sites. They never listen, so I get a fair bit of design experience in the trenches. At least, I learn some of the technical side of it. I still can't get the aesthetic bits the way I want them to save my life. So, I finally sat down and redesigned the Blogger template used on this blog. The look is based on another site I'm doing for myself, my first real personal web site. I'll probably write more about that later. It's a slow work in progress. In the mean time, enjoy the new look here. Or don't. Feel free to leave comments. I won't be offended.

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