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Please don’t make every post public. Your next boss might be watching.
Your mom always told you to think before you speak. Google just gave you a way to think before you speak to specific groups of people in your life, and also to the world at large. Don't waste the opportunity.

The Circles idea by Google really is revolutionary (crap, is that a pun? It’s not on purpose...okay, it is) for so many reasons. Categorization of friends that mirrors real life relationships. No more embarrassing photos tagged of you partying last night -- well, unless you shared them publicly.

Circles work if you use them. You can use them responsibly to avoid social tension, and you can use them intelligently to make your public content better simply by filtering it actively. Why does that work? Think of it like a “brain hack” (thank you, Lifehacker, for that addition to my vocabulary): the more you think about who’s going to read you, the more you are going to have to judge yourself before hitting “Share.” Are you sure you’re sharing something you want everyone to read?

Ask yourself these questions before sharing your post to the public:
- Is this something that will enrich/entertain/help someone you don’t know?
- Is this something you’d want a potential employer to read? Google+ is very likely going to be the next generation of networking, which means you never know -- you could get a cool job if you post your cool ideas in public and a smart, savvy businessman wants to hire you for them.
- Mom and Dad may not be on G+, but your public posts are Googleable. Does Mom need to know what you just posted? Would she tell you to think before you speak, you knucklehead?
- Is this something that you need the advice of the whole Internet on, or would it make more sense to ask your close friends what to eat for dinner tonight? Wait, does it make sense to ask anybody that?
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Amelia Wood's profile photoChristina Trapolino's profile photoNick Perez's profile photoOlaf Wempe's profile photo
85 comments
 
this post, i did share publicly
 
I post everything publicly, but I'm conscious of the fact that anyone could be watching. That's really the most important part - just being aware.
 
Great comment, I have opened my profile as my replacement blog, but there's always the "shouting in a room" idea. I don't want to shout to everyone, sometimes I want to just tell friends. G+ is good that it gives me a choice of my audience.
 
ditto +Nick Perez for me. I have private spheres (geddit) and public ones the same way I have a public and a private twitter identity.
 
I like to post everything right now in hopes of more G+ involvement. Will use circles as more 'get the whole concept'.
 
Very good advice, I get the feeling a lot of people on here don't even know how to mess with the settings though.
 
I'm struggling with another problem right now. The things I make public and the things my aunt or sister would care about aren't the same thing. I am still trying to find a way to not make my relatives read the geekier stuff that I post.
 
We try to convey this to students 100% of the time. My favorite part of your post was the term "Googleable", that's a new one . . .
 
if my next boss likes hilarious one-liners then I guess I'm ok.
 
if u don't know by now to be careful wtf u post online....
 
Why do people keep saying that circles are revolutionary? They're not. They're just like Facebook friend lists that have been there for a long time. No different.
 
Ok, I don't want to sound like an idiot here, but everything I post is Googleable? +Christina Trapolino So even a private exchange between me and a close friend is able to be retrieved by anyone using Google? I hope I'm misunderstanding something...
 
Also remember that if you comment on a public post, it is viewable by the entire Internet. Google+ is about building and maintaining reputation. Basically anything you say on a Public post is part of your "permanent record".
 
I'm a blogger who is struggling to figure out if I can make do with one Google+ identity or if I need to have one personal and one professional as I do on FB. The problem isn't only that I want to avoid showing personal photos to the public, but also that I want to avoid spamming my personal friends and family with content that's only of interest to my blog readers and professional colleagues. Can I have content that is "public" but not posted to certain circles?
 
If you're speaking publicly on G+, you should pretty much treat everything you say as though you were in a job interview
 
Yes, it's all about choices: if you're aware of what you're doing (i.e. speaking in public), posting publicly like you've just done is all right. Else, you can filter and choose your audience any way you see fit.

And it's not only about bosses either, actually.
 
most people don't have enough friends, so circles don't make sense yet. If you post to all circles, and not public, it's private right?
 
I have no expectation of privacy on social media sites, so I am cautious with what I write and how I write on every post.
 
If I repost this will my once-and-future boss(es) think I'm hiding something?
 
But who sees what's "public" anyway? Unless I'm missing something, your stream only shows the collective view of all of your circles, right?
 
Don't post to "all circles"!
A year from now, you may create a circle and put your boss in it, with no intention of ever posting to it.
But if any of your old posts are posted to "all circles" then your boss can go back and read them!
 
+Leanna Holmquist To add another level of security to your private posts (those directed to a single person or a circle of people) after you make the post, go to the edit menu (little circle on the upper-right hand corner of each post) and Disable reshare. This will prevent anyone you wrote to from sharing the post or inviting someone new to the conversation.

Remember a tool can only do so much. If you share something with someone in writing, they can still print it out and show someone you don't want to see it. They can still copy and paste it and send it in an email.
 
+Matthew Lehmann I have a geek circle. The problem is, I would rather that stuff be public and searchable. To develop a following, you need good public content. But, my real life friends don't necessarily care about the stuff followers might. Am I making sense?
 
+Dan Pancamo Ok that's my question too, is it only "public" comments that are Googlable then? All my "circle" posts are not?
 
+Dan Pancamo I disagree, you can, and should, build Circles even if your friends aren't here. for instance, I have a Circle of Android users/experts, show that I can learn, and share, about Android phones
 
When you're working for a boss you're obviously doing something wrong. You're letting someone else exploit your talent.
 
Circles are great for keeping tabs on experts in things you are interested. Be sure to check out Sparks too to keep tabs on the things you enjoy!
 
+Andy Thornton On top of that, not everybody want's to be shouted at. The only flaw I'm seeing in circles is that it rely's on a trust system. I'm trusting someone to put me the correct circle, and post what I care about.
+Christina Trapolino I wonder if there's a way to ask to be put into a different circle. Maybe when someone adds you to a circle, you could see a notification of other circles to be put in, and then you can suggest which circles you want to be a part of.
Jason S
 
+mark mayhew I agree, The only problem I think I am going to have is how to find those experts to follow. At least the non-celebrity experts. I would love to find some other IT-Professionals to follow to be able to "Circle Up" with and trade tips and trick and ask questions of for work, but finding regular folks is harder than tracking down podcasters and writers
 
...also do not use G+ as you do with facebook.
At the moment I see tons of public posts. I guess it's mostly due the fact that it's a new social network and everybody's sharing and having a good time. It'll change to better and evolve as days go by (I hope).
 
Public- Anyone who has included you in one of their circles or anyone who views your profile, even if they haven’t added you to any circles

Your Circles- Everyone who is in at least one of your circles.

Specific Circles- Choose specifically which circles can see the post and which ones can’t.
 
I enjoy the irony that earlier when referencing your gardening group, you mentioned Public posting to facilitate sharing and find more connections. True statement, only post publicly what you truly don't mind the entire world seeing.
 
i resemble your comments as i always speak before i think...
 
+Daniel Hidalgo I agree. Luckily, right now all of my real-life circle members and I signed on at the same time, so most of the public posts that were seeing are relevant in the sense that we're posting what we're learning about the network, but I worry about what it will look like once the masses get their hands on it, you now, the people that assume you want to know every intimate detail about their dramatic life.
 
+Christina Trapolino But the only thing lacking is incase you have posted a message in a particular circle you cannot change the circle later
 
Whatever you post on the intarwebs, regardless of circles or groups or whatever privacy settings you have, can become public knowledge - it can be reshared, copied, leaked, and anything can get screen-grabbed. Be vewy vewy careful.
 
+Rodolfo A. C. Jr. It'll be interesting to see what happens in a few years. With millions of status updates hitting the net every day from one site alone, times ten years, added onto to stuff that already shows up in search results from 2007... I expect to see an entirely new internet by then just to combat users and reshares.
 
Very good advice. I'm an employment lawyer and you wouldn't believe how many times social media posts end up as part of an employer's evidence in a later lawsuit.
 
I'm thinking some public and extended network posts are a good strategy for now, as people are still coming to town and finding each other through each other's circles and finding interesting people to follow, then I'll tighten mine up.
 
But the point is how many of you disable the reshare. If you don't then your posts can be reshared with the author name to the whole network in minutes.
 
Rahul, if I can't trust somebody not to share stuff they shouldn't, then maybe I shouldn't be sharing anything with that person in the first place.
 
Very good point, although it should be mentioned that the whole thing becomes pointless if you then go and post it publicly on Facebook.
 
This advice only benefits applicants. I'd rather let everyone post their dumb stuff to benefit the bosses.
Social networks > references, keep it this way by encouraging public posts. I wish for a future where I can just put my social network profiles at the bottom of my resume, instead of a bunch of references I just made up or got people to lie for me.
 
I 100% agree, there is benefit to limiting public posts. If you're not going to take advantage of the circles, why be here at all? In fact for my first month with Google+ I'm posting virtually nothing to the public.

My biggest reason for not going public...I have people in my friends and family circle that just don't want to hear me talk tech or work. I have tech/geek folks that just don't want me to talk about the weather. I think in the long run, if you go entirely public...you're better off in getting your own blog because that's not where Google+ is going (and why Twitter is safe from Google+).
 
Already I'm noticing a huge difference in the way I post things. My intimate details of my life tend to always go to my Friends and Family circles only, while interesting articles I read, photos I've found, etc. tend to go out to a broader range of circles. It'll be nice once everyone fully grasps the range of freedom, and modesty, this allows everyone as it truly is as you said revolutionary.
 
Hmmm... When You think about it You can keep a double profile this way. One public, of calm, responsible person, and one for a select circle of people, of a total lunatic :P
 
+Christian Hain: re: suggesting what circles you'd like to be a part of: Part of the functionality for me, so far, is precisely that no one needs to know any more than "you're in one of my circles." That said, I can see the utility of opting to make some circles public -- where their existence, their purpose, their membership, whatever, is visible to people outside their creator (and maybe even a way to "share" popular circles, for things like news?? It's all new; let's dream big!).
 
I feel that people who use social networking have an over-inflated sense of their own self importance along with a lack of technical knowledge.
If I were giving a lecture I would only expect interested parties to attend and that's how I gear my circles.
For example - I have a relative who is "technically challenged". She bulk emails all of her friends about her everyday trials and tribulations but deletes her sent emails within an hour in case someone manages to peer into her computer and see what she said.
 
If I could +1 Nick Perez' earlier response via my iPad, I would. This post applied to MySpace, it applies to FB, twitter, or any social network. Anything you do on the internet or any post you make, you should just be aware of the repercussions if any might exist in your real life.
 
I've never understood why some people have this incredible need to share information that is way too personal on any online forum, be it Facebook, Plus, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.

I wonder how much of it is 'e-generational' though. I grew up in a time when private content publishing online was nearly impossible. This is the 'before-time'.. prior to MyTwitterBook, back when you blogged, or <gasp> had your own website which was inherently public (unless you wanted to maintain ungodly ACLs).

So because I come from a generation where we 'grew up' knowing everything we posted would be public and learned to put a little thought into what our fingers were banging out, I don't usually run far afoul with my content (my typing skills, or lack thereof are another matter entirely).

The younger generations though seem to either have no shame, or just lack that... I don't even know what to call it... filter, I suppose.

Either way this post is a good reminder of what folks should be careful about. I do think Plus will end up having a major role for recruiters going forward due to the pseudo public nature of content here. I like the fact that Plus is more transparent personally. It will force people to be more cognizant of what they spew into the great void (and to some extent this is already proving out in the early Plus days).
 
I'm gonna second Theodore, excellent advice.
 
Is there a way to post something to all you circles EXCEPT certain circle(s)? (Actually facebook has this functionality with his Lists tool). This would be very useful when you have many circles.
 
Ricardo: You can select as many circles as you want when posting.. that's the only way. It's not a 'not' operation, but rather a series of 'or' operations from a logical perspective.
 
Thank you, Steve. I know, but I'm creating a lot of circles and filter out just one that way would be very tedious.
 
I hooked up with someone online before. She used me for sex, then ditched me.
 
Right now, I generally post publicly or to my extended circles. The problem is, I don't have enough people in any of my more intimate circles that that I need to share private information with. Hopefully that should change in time tho.
 
+Carl Luoma I agree with you and do the same. Until we increase our circles which is happening as we speak!
 
On 'the other site,' lists were something users figured out later. Usually, (and especially) after getting sucked into an application. By the time a person realized they should have been using them, the job had turned into a time drain, at times encompassing hours, or even multiple sessions over several days. Here, Circles are right in the forefront, in the user's awareness from the beginning, and the drag and drop interface is easy to pick up. Vive le Googolution!
 
+Gryph Griffin "vive le Googolution," love that. :)
 
It's funny you should say that, my mother and father are both already on Google+. And I even found a security issue in G+ because my mother was on here and she had given my rights to edit her picassa albums.

I have no problem having my mother or father in on the conversation. I am an adult and even if they may not approve of everything I do they are my parents and I don't believe that there is a reason to hide anything from them.

Besides my parents are smart and told me before Internet that you shouldn't say things in public or private that you don't mind anybody hearing. How often does it occur that you happen to physically be somewhere and meet somebody who knows you or somebody you know? Or discuss private things in a public or semi-public space? This one of the reasons that youth culture develops it's own language for certain subjects, in that way only the people who are in the know understand the veiled speak.

The difference is that the Internet is a more permanent record than the human mind, and searchable.
 
I'm keeping most everything on here 100% public. As someone attempting to break into the field of education, I'm aware of the pitfalls of leaving a digital footprint. That's why I'm being careful to keep things pretty clean and professional on here. Should I choose to deviate from that you can bet I'll use G+'s privacy features (circles and such). However, I see utility in a degree of transparency in social networks. Voltaire said, "Man is free at the instant he wants to be" and I want to embrace freedom when is possible to do so without incurring significant costs. I once was involved with a girl who was a privacy nut and as an adult I look at that mindset and understand that there is a balance between not understanding reasonable privacy boundaries and the other extreme of treating everything you could possibly contribute to the digital commons as if it was gold bar that should be under lock and key. The honest to God's truth is that most people simply aren't that interesting and even if they are, most of the hoi polloi isn't going to waste their time seeking out the pearls that you may cast their way in the form of a public post on a social network! It takes a special kind of person to pay attention - a person with the time to spend on social networking and the good taste to filter things for optimal efficiency. If such a person is truly interested in what you might have to say, does it not better both you and that person if both parties are open to such encounters in a transparent and less insular manner? I agree that the tools Google has provided (including circles) are useful and shouldn't be wasted. However, just because a tool is in a tool kit doesn't mean it is the right tool for a certain context, nor does it mean that one is obligated to use it just because it is there. I think that what is most important is being aware of what you are writing at all times. My mom (also an educator) always used to say, "Always imagine that the person you would least want to read whatever it is you are have written is actually reading what you have written." That may be a high threshold for some, but if it is one you can manage to deal with, a mostly public Google+ account can be a rewarding experience in its own right and should not be shied away from due to the potential abuse from banal and boring people injecting "what should I eat for dinner?" type posts into the digital commons or people carelessly posting drunken pictures for the internet to see. Social networks are not new in any sense of the word. They've been around in various forms since old school internet forums and even IRC. Either people "get it" by now or they probably never will.
 
Thanks, P.E. I appreciate that. The short answer is "I don't mind one bit and I'm flattered when people think what I've said is worth sharing." The long answer is that I think you bring up a good privacy question about the rules of resharing. When is it ok to reshare and to what people? Google understands that privacy is important when you click the "share" button. I personally think that if someone posts something publicly that they're giving implied consent with respect to reshares. However, if you post something to a limited group (a circle) and someone in that circle sees what you've said, do you think they have an obligation to only share that with people in one of their limited circles? Or should they ask for permission first? This netiquette seems to be in its inception at the moment and I'm interested in people's thoughts on that subject.
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