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Guys, this is worth your while to understand.

Thankfully, I haven't had to take myself off Google+ Chat, but I've considered it... I stay away from the creepy discussions.

Thank you +Michael O'Reilly!
Michael O'Reilly originally shared:
Observations on Women (and Men) in Google+ Chat

Some number of weeks ago Google rolled out the Google+ Chat feature. When they did so, each person got a popup box to accept the feature, with the default setting allowing anyone in your circles to chat you up. I don't know exactly how many women I have in my circles, but a quick look indicates it's probably not unreasonable for me to call it "half" for purposes of this discussion. Over the course of the day that Google+ Chat debuted, my sidebar filled with users, roughly half men and half women, much like my circles. Over the course of the next few days that changed, with most of the women disappearing from the list.

In the month or so since that time, only 3 or 4 of the women in my circles have shown up in the chat list. When I noticed this, it occurred to me to message those women, and a few I knew had stopped being chattable, and ask their thoughts on the matter, though I had some presuppositions as to why women would be wary of being accessible. Then I found a funny thing. I was reluctant to message the women, as I didn't want to come across as a creepy guy on the Internet, even though I had a reasonable reason to contact them.

So instead of popping up a chat window, I wrote each of them a post shared just to them. Happily enough, each responded back and they were all happy to talk on the subject. +Sarah Rios was kind enough to point out that my question was just the sort of thing that would be reasonable to use Google+ Chat to discuss. Through my discussions, I gained several insights:

1. At least one woman (from my small sample set. I have to assume there are more) removed herself from public G+ Chat because she did, in fact, get some messages from guys that creeped her out. She was sufficiently unhappy with this that just blocking the guys involved was insufficient for her peace of mind.

2. Some women removed themselves from G+ Chat (or really tightly restricted it only to real-life friends) because they were concerned about the possibility of getting creepy messages, though they had not actually received any.

3. The women who remained accessible via G+ Chat had not received any creepy messages from guys, but recognized it as a possibility and were willing to selectively block should the need arise. +Sharon Strandskov pointed out "Sure, some men may hit on you, but that could happen pretty much anywhere."

4. Non-creepy guys (I am taking the liberty of categorizing myself as such. You may express disagreement should your opinion differ) may feel constrained from normal communication with women due to not wishing to accidentally be lumped in with creepy guys.

Now here's the unfortunate thing. Looking at all of those items highlights the point that enough guys send creepy messages to women on the Internet that both men and women are aware of the fact, and both men and women feel compelled to modify their behavior accordingly.

Women: We'd sure appreciate it if you'd give us the benefit of the doubt. Making Google+ Chat available to those in your circles (with the possible exception of any "probation" circle) gives us all the chance to communicate with each other. Hopefully your circles generally consist of people with whom you'd like to communicate anyway. If you have a LOT circled, then maybe restricting it down to family, friends, and any circles whose opinions and writing you value and with whom you'd probably like to chat given the opportunity.

Guys: Stop being creepy to women! You're giving the rest of us a bad name. Women are, in almost every case, not participating on Google+ in order to get a date. Don't act like it's a dating site. Don't come on strong. Don't make sex jokes if you've never before communicated. If you want to interact with women, be mature about it. Is that really so hard? The rest of us would sure appreciate it if you'd make the effort.

That's all I've got for now. If you've read this far, please feel free to post tips on other ways guys can avoid being creepy and women can be open to civil communication without being vulnerable to creeps. Thanks for reading!
Jennifer McPeak's profile photoJeneva Ray's profile photoKwan Nam's profile photoMichael O'Reilly's profile photo
Thanks for pointing this out. This is EXACTLY why I have left several networking and social websites in the past. Had one guy keep messaging me on Facebook (where it is clearly marked that I am married) and became verbally abusive when I declined his friend request. It's sad that the inapporpriate behavior of a few has made it so difficult for others.
+Jennifer McPeak, I had this happen to me on Facebook as well. I never used the network, but after that, I quit checking the messages for months at a time. Today, I only read Facebook messages if I know the person sending them and the snippet of the first line Facebook includes seems worthwhile. If not, delete.
I don't read them either unless I know the person or I started the conversation. I still use facebook simply because I have many friends and family that live all over the states and overseas and that's our common ground.
OK, this may not apply to this topic in particular. But ~20 people initiated chat with me. Mostly from overseas. And when non-native speakers talk, I think you should give more benefit of doubt. Sometimes guy to guy talk can feel weird due to command of language problem and cultural differences. One guy kept on calling me and made me a bit weird at first, asking me a lot of personal questions and using not so commonly used vocabulary. But I told him to interact more with me on public postings and kept accepting chats with him. Through public and private interaction with him I learned few stuff about him and the culture of the country.
I'm glad it turned out to be a positive experience for you, +Kwan Nam. It's not always that way for me.
More on point with this topic... I am seeing a lot more people on G+ and some of them are very disturbing. There was one guy(he identified as male) who had nude female as profile pic and posted XXX gif pics. And a lot of self-proclaimed SEO and SM gurus - spammers mostly. With that comes "real creeps", just like in real life, I guess. One good thing with G+ is that they supposedly need to use real name so some of them are actually getting kicked off G+. About 3~4 weeks ago, I set up "Spammer" circle to see how they would use G+ to market themselves. I had about 7~8 in there. When I checked last night, 4 of them were "sharing via email only", meaning either they cancelled the account themselves or got kicked out.
+Kwan Nam, I'm glad to hear that the process is working to get rid of at least some of the bad guys. Tangentially, I'm not sure what SEO and SM gurus are.
When I said "self-proclaimed SEO and SM gurus - spammers", I meant people who sell booklets about SEO and Social media, I purchased one for $9.99 and contents were mostly from wikipedia and other already published articles.
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