G+ Conceptual Model: Our Friends Are Conduits of the Information Stream
+Kevin Cheng asks, "Can we ever digitally organize our friends?"
The short answer is, no.
My question back to him is "Why do you want to?"

In his article, Kevin says, "When I first started using Google+, I had a sense of déjà vu as I categorized my friends. I’d done this before… on Flickr, on Facebook, on Twitter, on my instant messenger contact list, and in my address book."

I don't wonder that he quickly got bored categorizing friends. I would, too. The great thing about Google+ is that we are not required to set up a massive or complicated system to organize our friends before we start.

I thought about it myself. Why do I organize my contacts? It's not about putting people in boxes. On Google+, it's about controlling the flow of information:
* the information I want to hear (reading circles)
* the information I want to share (writing circles)

Streams represent the flow of information. Circles are the conduits through which information flows. Circles enable us to channel information where we want it as we convey information to our contacts and they convey information to us.

Google+ helps us organize information. It doesn't burden us with organizing friends.

Google+ doesn't make us carry over the baggage from other systems. It provides a place to start fresh with only the people with whom we are actively engaged. For example, there's absolutely no reason for me to add my plumber to Google+ -- I don't intend to be sharing any riveting articles on plumbing with him. He's still in my Gmail contacts when I need him.

Google+ allows us to be as social as we want to be -- whether we are introverts or extroverts. It lets us gracefully shed relationships which are no longer engaging -- without slamming the door in someone's face.

My advice? Don't add someone to Google+
-- until you have something to share with them, or
-- unless they write something you want to read

Don't carry the dead weight over from other systems. It's too much bother. Plus, you are going to meet a lot of new, engaging people here.

Note: Be sure to click through and read Kevin's article. He has many interesting insights about Google+ on what works for him and what doesn't work.
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