- I understand your fear, actually. I was worried about the masses storming in and smashing sandcastles like gleeful children, too. But then I started realizing how much Circles make that sort of irrelevant. If Google+ has 20+ million users, and even if a quarter of them are active at all, that's already a huge test. Yes, we all have Google+ in common, and yes, we all know someone who knows someone who knows someone in tech (uhh, who doesn't?), but even 5 million people are not interested enough in each other to be actively following each other's posts every day on the Internet
This is why I keep reminding everyone that you don't have to Circle back your followers. Doing so is simply not necessary for any reason. As +Mike Elgan
has pointed out, the Incoming feed largely nullifies any sense of obligation (you can still read what your followers share with you at any time
by clicking "Incoming" above Notifications in your Streams list -- and you should, when you're looking to extend your Circles and find new, interesting people).
It's important to Circle people you actually want to follow because your Streams should be about your
interests. You can use a Circle to "hold" people, or set up Circles only to broadcast to, but if you're looking to mold a community around yourself on Google+, you do that by mostly
following the kinds of people you want to read
. You can always branch out with the Incoming feed.
This creates a network where people are reading and discovering the kinds of ideas they want to find. You have the power to filter out what you don't want to participate in. That means the screaming masses cannot infiltrate your Circles without your permission.
Isn't that kind of exciting, even to a cynic?