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Sharing universe

I'm trying to articulate here what's working and not working at the moment with circles. There are about four ways I connect with people both in real life and on the web. This is not about the things we do once we connect, it's about the ways I reach out to people and the ways they reach out to me.

Public
First off, there's a public me. That's the person I am in public: at work, at events, and so on -- including any private aspects of my life that I choose to share publicly. I have a website and I have a few blogs that I publish ideas on. I post pictures to Flickr, etc. I connect with people publicly in two ways:

Pull: I put stuff on the web that people can find through search, that they can see if they go to my blogs, that they can link to from their blogs or point to from a tweet, and so on. This is public stuff but I just put it online and people who share my interests will probably find them in time, because they will at some point be searching for the same kinds of things that I find interesting. If I'm traveling for an event, sometimes I might tweet publicly that I am in town to see if anyone might want to connect. I have made some interesting new friends this way.

Push: Sometimes people want these public things pushed to them. For example someone subscribes to my blog and wants to see that stuff in their inbox. Or they join a Google Group so they can join a conversation on a particular topic. I'm doing this at the moment with a book I'm writing.

Private
Secondly, there's a private me. That's the person I am in private, with close friends and family. I talk to them on the phone, I skype with them, meet face to face for coffee and so on. But I connect with people privately in a few different ways also:

Pull: My friends have my email address and my phone number. They have a sense of my preferences and when they can call me or what kinds of things I'm interested in getting by email, and so on. I have a favorite coffee shop so sometimes I check in on Foursquare to let my friends know I'm there. That's usually not something I choose to make public.

Push: I know I can call my friends or email them if I have something to talk about. I might send them photos by email, or a birthday note, or just call to say hi.

Now, about those circles...

Circles
Circles are working pretty well for the private stuff at the moment, which is why I made that part of the image green.

Pull works pretty well: My friends and family can find me if they want and connect with me. But they knew how to do that before. Push works really well: G+ is really good about giving me ways to share information with this or that circle of friends. And when I share something with a specific group, only they can see it.

Where circles fall down is the public stuff, which I've painted a cautionary yellow. If I want to post something publicly, so it can be easily findable by search, and that people can point to it and link to it, there is literally no way to do this without pushing it to all of my circles.

A public post is automatically pushed to everyone in your circles. So a post like this one, which I am really writing for anyone who's interested, ends up going to *everyone who has added me to their circles, no matter what circle that might be. So if my dad has added me to his family circle (which he has) he's going to see this post (which I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to see).

For G+ to really work for me, that public sharing piece needs to change. Here are a few thoughts about how that could happen:

Public pull:

1. Give me a way to post something publicly without pushing it to my streams. Maybe people who chose to "follow" me would be the only people who would see that by default.

2. Let me create a public circle that people can join if they want. Let me create a "maker-hacker" circle that my maker-hacker friends can join if they want to.

Public push:

1. Let me make a public post and only push it to my "maker-hacker" circle, for example. Why? Because I think they will be interested, and I want them to be able to share it with their friends who I may not know. And if they link to it, I do want anyone to be able to go there and comment.

2. Let me invite friends to that maker-hacker circle, the same way I might invite them to a Google group.

I think G+ will be rolling out groups pretty soon which would solve a lot of these issues.

What do you think? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
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I also wish there was a way to post to the public and exclude certain people. This issue caused one of my family members to remove me from her circle. I told her to do so because of the tech noise she was not interested in and I post frequently.
 
+Dave Gray I agree and want that same feature -- to be able to push publicly without it going to certain groups of friends who knew me before MySpace and don't given a Flying Fruitcake about that part of my life. I'd also like to be able to share something to a circle and let them know they are free to share, though that's less important to me. Finally, and one thing you didn't mention, I'd like to segment my own "public" posts into a number of posts. Say I'd be able to say I'm going to talk about 4 or 5 key things and when people are following me, they'd be able to specify what kind of content they want to get from me. One might call these "tags" -- i.e. I'm following Tom from MySpace but I don't want his "goofy pictures feed" I only want his Google+ thoughts. Or, I don't want anything personal from Tom - i.e. my post about buying LOTR. I want to share that with people who care and want to get to know my personality, but I don't want to overwhelm people with useless junk who are following me because they're interested in what I'm saying about dotcoms/etc.
 
Chris my wife just told me the same...DAve...nice post!
 
I believe Googlers have this in mind and they gonna find a way to deal with this issue.its just a matter of time.we just started now and more features and changes coming soon.(I hope!)
 
+Sergio Santos - Agreed. but I do fear that Google may find nesting, excluding, and other circle feature we geeks and nerds ask for might be too complicated for the mainstream. I have been in this situation too many times and had to kill certain features. The key to success here is to make it invisible to the mainstream and make it available to the rest of us asking for it.
 
The ability to exclude Circles from public posts (or create compound groups of Circles to get to the same place) would be useful. The user side would also benefit from being able to mute post shared public, extended circles or all circles from a user or Circle of them e.g. family members.
 
A feature I'd like is the -name. In other words, I'd like to share to everyone in one of my circles minus 1 to x number of folks. This way I could exclude some members of a circle. So, I'd find it useful if the plus folks where to let us use minus too. A post to the Universe -family, -colleagues, etc...
 
Oooh +Tom Anderson I love that idea -- that you could somehow tag your posts and people could subscribe to that tag. Like "this came from Dave's Google plus thoughts, click to subscribe." Brilliant!
 
I'm with you +Chris Cho that's pretty much exactly what happened with my dad.
 
+Mark Holmes +Mike Hendrickson I agree that it would be very nice to be able to subtract. Since Google is doing the plus thing why not give us the minus thing? :)
 
+Chris Cho The same issue of people in certain groups (Family) feeling bombarded by our Public posts (geeky/professional) was brought up by +John Blossom He suggested letting the recipient filter Public posts by user or circle.
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i'm pretty sure circles boolean logics will come to the rescue, maybe we can do this one day: [+public -family] - push to all except family
[+public -AllCircles] a public post that people see only when they search for it or visiting your profile directly
 
Definitely be great if we could reduce the noise to our family and friends when posting public. Great ideas! And I agree with +Denis Labelle post of the week.
 
+M Sinclair Stevens Yes, my general thought is that if a post is published as Public, unless you include a specific circle in the addressing (or the "Your Circles" blanket circle) it will appear only in the main Stream view, and/or possibly a Public circle or a repurposed Following circle. In addition, give G+ users the ability to choose on a circle and contact basis whether they want to see Public content in a circle-specific view.
 
+Dave Gray I agree... the challenge in general I'm having with Google+ right now is one of filtering via exclusion. In posting, in consuming - for example, I've got a 'photography' circle but there's a handful of people in there that I only want to share photo-related content with them, and conversely only want to receive their photo-related content.

To +Tom Anderson's point - I guess the balance lies though in how much effort the average user is willing to put into posting. I suspect many of us are power-users/outliers. We're conscious of what we share (where, how and with whom) but I have a feeling the vast majority of folks just don't care (unfortunately).
 
+Dave Gray I think one problem in your model is that Share isn't Send (a post I'm writing). You aren't pushing to your circles. You are only make that information available to them and they have decided to pull it by "subscribing" to your G+ feed.

I understand that using Public breaks the ability to target content to select groups and that selecting a group makes a post private and not what you want to do when you are "blogging" to the Internet at large.

But I really think that it is the recipient who must ultimately remain in control. I actually think FB has a solution that G+ could build on: you know how you can select the stream to display just those posts that are "Status updates, Links, Photos". I think (and this is riffing on +John Blossom 's idea) that G+ should put something similar and add the option to display or turn off Public posts.

This wouldn't be a configuration setting for the person or circle. It would be a toggle on what you want to see in the display at any given moment. This means nothing is censored from the recipient but they have control over what they view at any given moment.
 
I think (hope!) the next step for circles is context/content filtering....

Also, the ability yo keep work and private lives separate and only allow crossover like you would "in real life" will become very important. Circles are a good start, but still too much leakage. This is where FB clearly fails - we are all "multi-personalitied" and our real lives reflect that, our social networking tools need to capture and implement that too...
 
As an aside: I originally read the one line as "Streaking at events". I was disappointed to see I was incorrect.
 
I'd like to be able to make some of my "circles" public - so when someone chooses to follow me they can follow all or some of them.
 
Very sorry to disappoint you Matt. But I'm sure others are relieved :)
 
Thanks for putting this together, Dave. This is an excellent articulation of the issues I've been coming up against as well...
 
My pleasure David. Thrilled to see all the comments here and to know I'm not alone in this :)
 
One interesting, and related, issue which I've run into is my effort at putting together a group of folks to discuss online identity and reputation issues. The current way that circles work is not especially conducive to a situation where you want to be able to find the posting someone made to a particular circle a day ago...
 
facebook has that feature to not share with certain people (or groups). its one thing google+ is missing...
 
I wouldn't want to have to constantly be subtracting people from groups. Rather, instead of doing what is now just "following", you would be presented with the circles the person you want to follow has made public, and choose to subscribe to the ones you were interested in. So you would only rarely publish things to your "public" circle because that would mean everyone. Most of the time you'd publish to specific subgroups, which would themselves be public (linux friends, surfing, etc.), and your family/other friends wouldn't get it because they had not subscribed to any of your public personas - they only get your stuff because you put them in your friends/family circle.
 
Ernest, I have proposed exactly that to some friends at Google :)
 
Maybe they thought it would be a little complex to have enabled at rollout?

If the public circles thing does come out it will be great for making easy-to-follow blogs, too.
 
I'm sure it will come. Just hope it doesn't come after my family and friends have unfollowed me :)
 
I may just be simple but it seems that circles, groups, and friends lists all function similarly enough to fulfill social and networking needs. With the inclusion of hang out spaces which could be called conference rooms we have the ability to video conference with 9 other people at a time, open or closed to the public. This is the technology which impresses me. Not something to rival Fb, myspace (r.i.p. take care of her Timberlake) or twitter, but rather something which should concern the likes of Cisco.
 
I think that all of these are absolutely great ideas, and I think that they could all be fairly easily implemented, with the exception of what you term "Public Push." While I think that this would be a great thing for folks like you (in the public eye), I think that the addition of the options that you mention there might make posting a bit more complex than the average user (see below) would like it to be. The key to popularity is simplicity. I think that adding too many options of inclusion and exclusion for postings would turn the majority of social networking users off.

By "average user" I mean the hordes of high school- and college-aged folks that Google seems to be wanting to eventually target as Facebook has, that simply want to post the name of their new favorite song and what not.
 
Solution: Simply do not use circles for posting articles and stories of public interest but which are irrelevant to most of your friends and family. Post that type of information on your public blog and put a link to your blog to your profile page. Hm... or maybe google+ should have an option for doing that automatically or just integrate blogger/blog as a special page, independent of circles to which one can post.
 
I think Google could offer a built in solution that does not confuse the average user:
Something similar to "facebook fan pages" would help with this problem, because people could follow the persona, or the person as wanted. The other key aspect that would need to be in place is that when the poster is posting; they can designate who they are at that time; what segment of their profile they are attaching the post to. Am I RJ Lewis, web designer and technophile, writing on some segment specific to my professional interests, or just RJ Lewis friend/family member, or even both.
 
It seems like this could be fixed with two "Public" buttons: "Public (Circles)" and "Public (No Circles)". Want to post to the public without bothering your circles? Choose "Public (No Circles)". Want to hit them all? Choose Circles. Want to hit your maker-hacker group but no other circles? Choose "Public (No Circles)", and add "Maker-Hacker" on top.
 
What about a view filter like
Option 1
View only posts from xxx that are not public

Option 2
View only public posts

Option 3
View all (default)

I think filtering noise should be a thing that the reader should do. Public should always go to all - circled or not. An option like: public but NOT to this circles
would be another option and would maybe work im tandem with my filter idea. 
 
Maybe a tag system used as a sharing filter? Users can create profiles that correspond to various tags "RJ Public", "RJ Personal". Then the user can tag circles, or posts to correspond with those tags. That would determine who any information is pushed to.
 
+a vichr , though I agree that noise filtering should be done by the reader, "push" filtering should be available to the creator, as well. Dave clearly says has no interest in providing this information to particular people; offering a method of selective public sharing would only benefit G+ in my opinion.
 
In thinking more - there's two things I'm thinking might solve many of the issues while minimizing the effort required:

1. Nested circles /circle groups: If I could just group circles so I had a shortcut to adding a bunch of circles to a post then I could create a 'Almost Public' circle group (i.e. 'Technology Circles' or 'All but family'), add all the groups except the ones I wanted to exclude and then just publish to it.

2. A 'make this public on my profile' checkbox or a shortcut word you could enter in the sharing box (i.e. 'Profile') that allowed you to make a post public on your profile page but not push it to your stream. Search could then pick it up & anyone browsing your profile would see it but it wouldn't get broadcast anywhere (except whichever circles you also included.)

So when you combine 1 & 2 you could share a post to 'All but Family' & 'Profile' and then the post would be pushed out to all those circles & made available on your profile page in one step.

- Ryan
 
Nice post Dave. I think you've nailed what I've been saying for the last few days. We need to be able to post to Public but not to buy folks that are following us for another subject.
 
Has anybody tried to tag his posts with a #circle name tag? Like at the end:
This post goes to my #socialmedia #public circle

What would this do? Not much. The receiver would know what circle he is in. But wait - wouldn't it be cool that the new person who wants to put the sender in a circle could subscribe to that specific tag then? Sender you can put ME in that circel of you so that I will receive stuff you'll send out in the future.

I am trying this now by changing my tag line below my name to

Put me in your #ning #buddypress #gadget #socialfuturemedia circle.
 
a vichr: good idea. That's a way around the lack of "public circles"

one line explanation:
Public Circles - just the ability to create circles that show up in public and can be subscribed to.

For private stuff, I decide who it's sent to. For public stuff, you decide what to subscribe to.
 
here's a unicode circle character: ◯
I'm advertising the circles I have available on my profile page. ◯china ◯programming
 
What I don't understand. Is it redundant to add circles when you already use public? Once we would have a filter button that makes public invisible and would display only specific circles that WOULD make sense – but now?
 
+a vichr , that's what I suggested a news broadcast friend do with his posts. He was worried about flooding streams with his news/sports/personal posts; I told him to create a series of Circles based on the different kind of posts he makes, and to drop each of his contacts into every Circle and to begin his posts with the name of the Circle (#Sports, #News, et al). That way, any of his followers can ask to be removed from a particular genre of posts. It would allow the poster to quickly push his ideas out, and leave it up to the readers to decide if they do/don't want further posts.

Also, as far as I know, Public sends to everyone (including Circles) so it is redundant.
 
What if you could create "Follower Circles":

Essentially, you create multiple circles for the genre of posts you send out (Sports, News, Photography, et al). Instead of you having to drag people into these circles, they are simply linked to the Follow ability other users have. What this means is that, when I click on Add to Circles, then click on Following, it does one of two things. If it's someone like me, who does not expect a large base of users following me, it will simply check the box (as I have not linked any posting circles to it). For someone who may have followers looking for particular information, it flows to a second drop down menu, showing the Circles you've created and linked to your Follower Circle. Now, users can freely join and leave Follower Circles you've created, thus freeing you from constantly debating/moving users around your circles, and allows freedom to fix stream noise for followers.

Keep in mind, this would only allow users to join Circles that you've attached to the Follower Circle, thereby making them public. They would not be able to subscribe to your non-public Circles, such as your Friends/Family Circles.
 
circle is good start... next is hashtag, e.g #geekstuff, #personalstuff (I should defined these and displayed to my profile so people could pick their favorite hashtag ).. when I create a post, I attach this hashtag to my post, people who have circled me should have the option to only pull my posts containing #geekstuff only to their stream.. but not #personalstuff to their stream..(even it's a public post) well I think that would reduce noise on G+ stream..
 
+ernest how c◯◯l is that!!! Thank you.
◯ning ◯buddypress ◯gadget ◯socialfuturemedia circle
 
Dave, earlier this year John Seely Brown & Douglas Thomas (btw, why don't I see them on here yet?) released the book "A New Culture of Learning" where they reframed private vs. public in terms of personal vs. collective. Circles absolutely play into that framing.

The hairs on my arms straighten a tiny bit when we talk about "privacy" here or anywhere online because I believe that if we're going to be honest with ourselves, there is no privacy on the Internet, because everywhere on the Internet is shared or sharable. So what I share, and to whom I share with, always falls into some permeable boundaries of what I would wish kept close-by and what I would rather see broadly shared.

I think your mapping is right-on and I intend to broadly share it :)
 
+Dave Gray Interesting solution with the 'public circles'. And I say interesting because I submitted this exact idea as feedback haha! I found it quite interesting that on G+ you're represented with so many different levels of broadcasting; but once you get to the 'public' level you have no control over how the update travels. You're right, there's certain things your followers might find interesting, but your friends might not. Or maybe your followers are quite a diverse group, mainly due to the fact that you post about different topic areas, in which case you're still pushing out irrelevant updates. It's actually quite shocking that Twitter doesn't have a feature like this and is one of the main reasons I gave up on Twitter, there was just too much irrelevant noise.

The only problem I see with the 'public circles' idea is that, for example, when someone techy follows you and chooses specific public circles to follow (Let's say Music and Photography), what happens when you follow them back and you simply choose to drop them in your 'tech' circle? They'll start getting tech updates from you whenever you push out updates to your private 'tech' circle. I guess it's quite a unique use case, but then there's still the worry that the level of control becomes so granular that it actually gets confusing for people that are just here to connect with friends (If G+ ever convinces the 750mil to move).
 
Dave...great thoughts! Great article! Congrats.
Cheers
Érico
 
This nested circles and/or forcing followers to join the "correct" circle is crazy. Everyday users (like my mom (or me, for that matter)) are not going to want to deal with this--it's too technical. If my mom wants to follow her favorite soap opera star or something, she'll never figure out how to subscribe to particular circles that they "push" info to. (And, yes, I realize that a soap star would probably have a truly public page maintained by some intern but the folks I like to keep up with (e.g. you folks) won't.)

I want folks like my mom to become comfortable with technology and the internet. She's got a handle on the very basics of Facebook, she just learned how to attach files in emails, "click here to win a free iPoop" still entices her. Twitter is beyond her and subscribing to Toby Keith's #crazyfans circle would just turn her off. Bye bye, Mom.

Of course, I recognize that G+'s responsibility is NOT "be as user-friendly as Facebook" and I hate to make the constant comparison. But I did it anyway. Shame on me.

Does the burden lies with the "pusher" (heh) to filter content that they do or don't want to make public? Should they also be responsible for what they do or don't want to be private? That's not a question I thought I'd ever ask the internet....

Two options/philosophies, then, I guess, are:

A. The responsibility lies with the consumer, not the pusher--wait and see how pushers organically figure out ways to filter (like using boldface titles and adding tags like the Gawker sites do, duh. (I think that seems obvious but I'm not a famous blogger with thin boundaries btwn public and private life, so maybe that's not effective.)). It might inundate Mom's stream but Lifehacker inundates my G-reader with crap about iPoop and it's my responsibility to ignore it. Maybe we, as pushers, should consider using tags at the start of these types of posts and letting Mom figure out that posts that begin with bold-faced "*[G+ Gripes] I don't want to inundate my Mom's stream with my G+ techie issues*" could easily be skipped. I mean, what makes the internet an innovative medium is the ability for consumers to choose what they consume. Am I right? Maybe this will prepare Mom for other bits of technology available to her... maybe even an RSS agg. As much as I love her, she does need to see that the internet isn't (or, at least, shouldn't be) like television--she has options about what/how she CHOOSES to consume.

B. The responsibility really does lie on the the pusher--WE have to manually filter posts to keep Mom's stream from being full of our tech-related bitching. In that case, G+ should consider this/these user-friendly options:

B1. Make a minus option when posting to the public. We could post to +Public, -Family, -Friends, -Etc. Maybe the minus option would only be available when we post +Public.

B1a. And maybe a little checkbox would create a minipost for the minussed (wtf?) groups. "[ ] Publish first two sentences (or whatever arbitrary measure) to circles you've excluded" or something. My Mom loves me and sometimes she likes to look at my work, even if she doesn't understand it. I would like the option to at least let her know that I've done some work and she's welcome to see it if she wants. A lot of my friends might like my public work. Maybe the checkbox is only available if one or more circles is minussed? Still, all you public personalities with thin boundaries would have the option to show Mom what you're doing with that college education... At least, that's what my Mom would want to see.
 
Haven't read all the comments, so I apologize if this has been addressed

First, +Dave Gray I love the way you keep working circles (no pun really) around this topic. I appreciate how much you are getting this, but also are open to mine and other ppl's critcism of it. Truly fantastic. I also really appreciate this visual, not b/c I necessarily agree w/ it or disagree with it, but I love how you live what you preach. Thank you!

I think what you are talking about to put it technically is the differentiation between, not between push and pull only, but really the difference between permissions (visibility) & notifications (broadcast/publishing) on your side and on the other side "fill my feed with or even be notified about" (levels of push) and "let me find using search or browse" (levels of pull).

The internet is filled with both people who are passive and those who are active and we need systems that help people work with the various places that people fall on this continuum.

What's most interesting is that I find G+ to be substituting more for Twitter in my life than Facebook. I do wish though that besides the push/pull you are talking about there was a way to declare different type of content types and make those content types actionable in various ways throughout the system.

Finally, I am missing the various types of direct and indirect communication that other platforms currently give me. Interestingly FB released the change on their messaging system, where a "message" and a "chat" are now the same (yet different). I wonder if they were seeing that people were using "messages" in quick succession like a chat and thus merged them. I for one, being technically adept know when I don't expect an immediate response and when I do, and thus know how to choose the right mode of communication, but I gather many people don't make this type of differentiation (to my point about the over-complexity of the mental model of "circles").
 
Wouldn't it be easier to just add a public blog part to G+? Then people could choose whether to follow the regular stream or the public blog.
 
It would sure be nice to add to a specific comment, like a threaded discussion here...

Way up at the top Tom A. suggested "tags" as an option. To add to that idea, wouldn't it be nice to "follow a tag"? That way you can limit the fire hose to targeted information. This could reach across all circles.
 
Amazing amount of information! I want to add a small idea. +Leonard Bisson said that Tom A suggest tags which is something I've been trying to share with people. +Dave Gray explains circles and sharing very well and the issue that I notice here is that placing a person into a circle organizes them but it doesn't fix their content.

I love posting about my projects and geek brain which is why I think people would put me in a circle but once in a while I like to post a cat gif. That means the "chris" circle will get content that doesn't belong there. Many people have suggested additions to circles like being able to make some public, hack them, subscribe or follow them.

The problem with this is that you'd have to go to the profile of 100's of people and subscribe to this circle and this one, but not this one and maybe this one for a while until your interests ware off.

As the reader, I should be able to subscribe to someone and get their content; Which is the case but people have more than one type of data going out and they should be responsible for managing it. If not, you remove them from the your circles.

To help with your steam getting sickeningly full of content I propose this idea:

If you look on the left where you see your circles there are little clear circles beside them. Making them click-able (They'd turn orange or something) would make them show in the stream. The ones that are empty don't show in the stream.

This would allow you to organize your stream if you like seeing my posts in there and with the following idea below you could make sure that my cat gifs don't make it in there...

Introducing #hashtags. So you organize your stream to show a particular person by blocking #catgifs.

The issue is that the content creators (*me in this example*) would still be responsible for organizing themselves. But you could subscribe to #science and not to #shared.posts to weed out all the duplicate content etc.

Phew.. lol. What'cha think?
 
Simply? I think Facebook have this right, with the Make Visible To and Hide This From feature.

I often write a status then Hide This From the All My Friends List, yet Make visible to Friends to Friends.

As Add Friend now acts as a follow feature on FB, all the Friends of Friends who I have not accepted friend requests from get my relentless self-promotion in their stream, without clogging up my friends' streams.

The only thing FB seems to be missing is a Hide This From the All My Friends List and share with Everyone Else in that respect....

Personally, I'd rather share by exclusion, not inclusion. As far as I can tell, the whole idea of Facebook Lists and Google Circles is totally interchangable...my Circles here are exactly the same as my Facebook lists, and apart from following a few new people, it's the same people in the same Lists & the same Circles.

I also like how Facebook allows you to set your default post privacy setting and it carries over from post to post unless you change it (Mine is *Friends of Friends except Restricted and Family*).

With regards to content I see in the stream, all I'd like G+ to do is default to my chosen stream ('Friends') when I click on 'Home' instead of defaulting to a stream with everyone in all my circles.

Yeah, shoot me, I'm saying Facebook has something right. Just, let's not talk about the day they removed all my Hide This From settings for every single one of my status updates over a three year period, and my Dad saw a rather steamy update about last night's date (true story, with customer support trail in email!).
 
+Tom Anderson - +Dave Gray I agree and want that same feature -- to be able to push publicly without it going to certain groups of friends who knew me before MySpace and don't given a Flying Fruitcake about that part of my life. I'd also like to be able to share something to a circle and let them know they are free to share, though that's less important to me. Finally, and one thing you didn't mention, I'd like to segment my own "public" posts into a number of posts. Say I'd be able to say I'm going to talk about 4 or 5 key things and when people are following me, they'd be able to specify what kind of content they want to get from me. One might call these "tags" -- i.e. I'm following Tom from MySpace but I don't want his "goofy pictures feed" I only want his Google+ thoughts. Or, I don't want anything personal from Tom - i.e. my post about buying LOTR. I want to share that with people who care and want to get to know my personality, but I don't want to overwhelm people with useless junk who are following me because they're interested in what I'm saying about dotcoms/etc.
Yesterday 5:54 PM (edited Yesterday 5:57 PM)

I think there should be better utilization of the Sparks feature i.e. Posting a comment; Selecting Spark; Selecting (from your example) Public, lolcats, dotcoms, whatever. Or even: Sparks>lolcats>Post comment That way people can go to your page, click on your Sparks and select which ones they follow. It should also be an opt in, not opt out feature.
 
I think there is a different need than one concept can cover. The grouping of people verses the labeling of blogged "topics" represents two distinct things. I want to group my friends, to control who can see what about me. I want to create topics to blog about, but I want those to also be linked to sparks, so that most likely my friends that see my topics would also see sparks that I might be using as a basis or background of my blogs. I think that I should be able to suggest my friends interest in a topic I am posting about based on them having me in a circle. If I put them in a topic, then they should get a notification that I've posted on a topic. If they choose ignore, it should block the notifications on that topic, completely under their control. The circle business then allows me to have friends that I can see in groups that work for me. If I put something in my stream, I can push that to my friends, directly. But posts to topics should be a different path out, that just results in notifications and public visibility for linking and searching.
 
Well put! I think what FB and even G+ fails to realize, is that there are a lot of aspects of peoples lives that are mutually exclusive of eachother. When they realize that and allow us to have a singular hub that reaches all these mutually exclusive parts, the more people will be attracted to it.
 
+Ray Davis I think they both realize it and part of what makes g+ so compelling is that google is trying to address it, whereas fb wants us to just be all public all the time-in fact the more public the better.
 
Love this thread. I think it really boils down to the difference between public sharing vs. private sharing. I think the majority opinion of everyone is that G+ already nails private sharing (to specific circles or individuals) with possibly the "except this person" feature being added. With public sharing though, it really does falter a bit. I think the idea of public circles is excellent. +Vic Gundotra could have a "Google" public circle, as well as a "Music" public circle and I could choose to follow one, the other or both. Then when Vic goes to post, he simply adds his public "Google" circle, plus any family or friends he'd like. This effectively takes the current "Public" circle and would break it down for people to possibly several public circles. Each public circle would be treated like a separate blog by the user posting.
 
Very good overview - thank you! - and good suggestions.

A detail - more dependent on mindset and habits than on technology - is that the private push is not ready to replace email. Why? Because with email, people have the habit of reading everything. Google+, however, reminds people of Twitter and Facebook, and makes them browse the incoming strem just if they feel like it.
 
+a vichr Selecting circles if you publish Public is redundant. People seem to think they're pushing the content to their circles but they are not. The are just setting the read permissions. If it's public, the people in their circles (the people the author is following) already has read permission. As does the entire Internet. Not just the people on G+
 
The lines here feel much more blurred in reality. Not sure if it's the millennial in me or what, but among my peers there seems to be little distinction between our private and public selves.
 
Jennifer I imagine there must be things you talk to peers about that you wouldn't share with your parents, or things you share with specific circles that others wouldn't be interested in.
 
Do you think that email should represent an obligation to not only read the whole thing, but to also respond and do so in a "timely" manner? As a person who goes through hundreds of email messages a day, I find the email obligation to be quite overwhelming. When there was just paper mail, or the phone, a certain amount of "obligation" was on the other side. You had to "pay" for the access to me, and you had to commit the time to listen to my "response". The disconnected nature of communications these days, is helpful when "available time" doesn't line up. But sometimes, it also seems like a crutch used by some to just "push responsibility" or at least "need" to another party to free them somewhat.

Does G+ provide us any chance to equal the cost of disconnected communications amongst the participating parties? For example, when an email chain goes on forever, top replies start happening because people don't want to scroll to the bottom. When you look at a web based forum and the scroll bar is 1/4" in size and there are thousands of lines to read to get to the "comment" or "reply" box, do you just scroll to the bottom and throw out your "thoughts", or do you try and "catch up" first so that you can make a truely relevant contribution?
 
+Gregg Wonderly I agree that G+ can help you to avoid "reply to all" fiascos in email, though it's still not as tight a collaborative environment as Google Wave was. You can still ignore comments in G+, but it's easier to address your replies to specific audiences than in email while keeping the whole circle of people included abreast of what you're saying. I put in a suggestion for the Gmail discussion to enable us to initiate a G+ post in Gmail that can be updated in Gmail as a G+ post, similar to how we were able to edit comments into Google Buzz posts. That might be a good bridge between the two media.
 
+David Gray True, but based less on traditional social circles (e.g. work, play, family, age, gender) and more on areas of interest. I have co-workers who are not friends but with whom I share my whereabouts through check-ins and friends in other fields who share my interest in digital.
 
I don't know if anybody has mentioned this, but what I want is to be able to subscribe to tags.

You don't really know what I'll be interested in and what I won't. You can publicize that you have certain circles and I could ask to be put in them so I could have that stuff pushed at me. But that's a lot of work for you.

If I can subscribe to tags, or specify some boolean function of author + tags (i.e. I want all of his posts about computers as long as they are not also about cats) that allows me to specify privately what kinds of things from you that I'm interested in. I prefer that system. It allows me to keep my interests private and allows you to easily publish things to sub-groups without having to go around adding people to them.
 
Nice post, i agree with what Dave's original post was - i didn't have time to read the rest. :)
 
It's a nice discussion, even I haven't read all comments. I also find this interesting "proposal" about circles, it's called Hierarchical Circles by Gregory Strike on his blog here http://www.gregorystrike.com/2011/07/01/google-hierarchical-circles-proposal/ - He also post that on Google moderator. I find that interesting thought about how we manage circles. :) - I am still new in Google+ but I realize that there are many interesting discussion here. :D
 
The more I've continued to think about this subject, and as I've continued reading comments on here (+Geeky Sprocket Like your idea of multiple streams).

But as I was thinking the other day, basically we need the public stuff to act similarly to blogs in that a user can choose to post to it, while readers can choose to subscribe to it. I thought of the fact that Google has Blogger already though as a reason Google may not want to make G+ so blog-friendly (Much as I imagine the Slide guys feel about Huddle right now...). But then it hit me: why not work on a Blogger (or Google Blogs as I heard they're changing it to...) and G+ integration?! It basically accomplishes a lot of what we're discussing. A user would be able to see the different blogs a person keeps on their profile and choose which to subscribe to (or rather, put Scoble's tech blog into my "Tech Bloggers" circle). When a user posts to his/her blog, it shows up on G+ in subscribed users streams, as well as on blogger.

The only question mark to solve with this would be the posting UI. Do they keep it limited to G+'s UI as it is now? Do they add a few enhancements to allow a little more customization? Do they have a toggle between regular and blog posting UIs? Basically, it would be integrated to where a user could start and fully maintain a blogger blog from within G+, while also having it mirrored on its own blogger url.

Some of the huge benefits of this approach are increased use of an already built Google product and the fact that probably millions of bloggers currently using blogger would more naturally extend to G+, especially when they see the social and engagement benefits.

Obviously the integration would need to be subtle as not to turn the G+ image into too much of a "blogging" platform, but I think slowly starting with some integration could be really exciting. I think this also helps blogger start feeling a little more "tumblr"-like in the speed and engagement.

What does everything think possible downsides to this would be?
 
+Jacob Quinn I think you are right on. s Google integrates more stuff into G+ there will be more and more decisions like this: migrate from other services like Blogger, or start over in G+?
 
I always thought that one of the problems with Wave was that it was a really neat technology that had no purpose. I looked at it and thought "Gee, I'd like to be able to start a wave in my blog, or transition an IM session into a Wave.", but there was never any way to do that. Heck, the thing didn't even email you when somebody updated a wave. You had to go check it by hand.
 
Not really, it was a concept that they tried to bring to market far too early as a product. But we love it anyway.
 
G+ REALLY needs Blogger integration so people can go beyond the inherent "Comment/Post" format of Streams. That way you can have free reign to satisfy those looking to follow you i.e. Public postings, and have the quick reply function for the more personal/smaller groups of circled people. I still maintain that Sparks should be geared more towards public followings. I would also like to see a threaded conversation (ala forums) format when replying to someones comments, conversations don't seem to flow as naturally as they do in forums.
 
I have been looking exactly for this feature. I don't want to bother my close friends and family with my public posts. I think something like Facebook's "Hide this from" feature would do just fine.
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