Annie On Writing

July 11, 2011

Google Plus…. So What?

Filed under: networking,Observations — Annie Evett @ 12:28 am

Not another social networking ‘thing’ you groan. What with Twitter, Facebook MySpace Friendster, Bebo and Friendfeed, isn’t there enough confusing platforms out there to read other peoples most boring moments?

Bear with Google Plus for a titch longer, I think it may have overcome the more annoying aspects of previous social networking groups and learnt some lessons. With Google Plus still in the beta testing stage, it even looks like its listening to what users are saying and making alterations quickly.

The Power of the Circles

No doubt over the next few weeks as Google Plus begins its roll out, there will be a myriad of posts on its functionality and uses. This post will look at what I believe is the most important function, setting it apart from the others, in a way that will make you wonder why you stuck with Facebook for so long…. the ability of the circle…

Circles are for reading and for sharing.

When you post something on facebook or twitter, you are broadcasting it to everyone who is your ‘friend’.  Some people have managed this by creating separate pages or separate facebook accounts in order to post relevant information or thoughts to specific groups of people. This is especially important if you want to keep your ‘business’ face separate to your family one. However, juggling all of these accounts is time consuming.

Google Plus allows you to control who sees what posts giving you the ability to differentiate between groups. With a click of a button, you can separate the huge stream of updates and look to see what one group ( like your family for example) have been posting, another click and you can reply to just them – or to a few groups – (family and friends) – or choose to update the whole world. The power is with you.

The first thing you would do when setting up your google plus is to sort out your circles into relevant groups for your needs. Think of them as similar to twitter in that you can follow the updates of others – but they may not necessarily follow you. The most popular circles involve Following, Close Friends, Family, Work and then specific groups you may be involved with. For me, I have a bloggers group, a group for short story writers, a generic writers group, publishers and an editors group.  I have seen some folk with circles entitled “Chitchat”, “Verbose” and “Super Chatty”  –  I’ll leave it up to you as to who you think would belong to those groups.


 Different types of circles

By now you’ll have separated your circles out but will notice that you have ones which you will treat differently.

People you may not personally know, but you’re interested in their posts. Add them to your Following circle. (This is similar to what you might do with Twitter.)

People you don’t know and don’t follow or have added,  but who are interested in reading your posts. If you had a Fan page or  Page on Facebook – this is very similar to your fans. They may not have been your FB ‘friends” but they followed your posts. These are people who add you to their circles, but aren’t in any of yours. You can read their posts in Incoming.

Reciprocal Circles  These are people who are in your circles and who have put you in one of theirs. its very similar to Facebook “friends”. Basically – you get to see one anothers public posts, as well as posts sent to the circles you’ve put each other in.

As with twitter, once you start, you may feel overwhelmed with all the ‘chat’. This is where you can start to filter your stream for regulars or favourite updaters and move  your super dooper chatty folk to a separate circle – so that when you want to check out their million updates on the cat vomiting on the carpet or all the links to funny dog videos, you can.

Your circles aren’t set in stone. As your relationships change, so will your circles.  with the click of a button, you can move people into a different circle – or include them in a few.

Posting  status update isn’t like sending a tweet or updating Facebook,  Although you still have the same functions – photos, links video and locations, when you hit the share button, it doesn’t broadcast to the world. You choose which circles your update or information is posted to – from a single person to the entirety of your circles – to just a few of them.  Another difference is that there isn’t a character limitation on updates. It also utilises some short cuts for formating – such as  *bod text* =  bold text, _italicized text_  = _italicized text_.

So, I’ve had Google Plus for 24 hours.  Do I like it?  Heck yes. Its cleaner, innovative, and makes me feel I have a titch more control with my information.  Time, I guess will tell.



  1. Thanks Annie,
    For the heads up on this .
    What you say about Google plus makes sense, especially about the circles.

    Over the last month of joined four new mini networks. But after the initial joining I’ve done nothing as they were too much work and no foreseeble advantage.

    How do I join Google Plus?


    Comment by Karen Tyrrell — July 13, 2011 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  2. Annie, A new social network can appear to be a maze of complexities just to operate that it’s easy to give up before you even work out its real benefits. Thanks for sharing and clarifying so well.


    Comment by Judi Stroud — July 14, 2011 @ 8:36 am | Reply

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