Shared publicly  - 
Oh, Bradley. Why Google+ is elitist.

Google+ sure seems like they are elitist lately with the real names policy and now the suggested user list.

And they are.

Here's why being elitist will pay off big time for Google and why it doesn't matter anyway (and what I hear Google is doing to help "the regular users" anyway):

1. Brands don't care about the masses all that much. They care about the elitists. I used to work at a big brand, Microsoft, and saw this from the inside at a big company. Also I was hanging out with MC Hammer last night and he told me he's considering a big deal with a big brand. MC Hammer gets offered that kind of stuff when I don't and the masses here certainly won't. Why? Because the top users are the aspirational ones that companies want to associate with. +Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce) takes advantage of that better than anyone. He made sure to say hi to the CTOs of Coke and rockstar Neil Young. Association with big brands helps your own brand.

2. Most content on social networks is developed by only 5% and most of the audience listens to the top 5% of that. So, all Google+ needs is a few people to move over to really cause huge shifts in the ecosystem.

3. Most people can only follow 250 people. In fact, the average user follows far less than that. I already have 1,800 active users that I'm following and 5,000 full accounts here. I can't add more. So, top users, like me, will just increase our quality if more high quality people come here (enforcing even more elitism) and average users will only follow top users anyway. Following more is too much work.

4. Google is all about search engine and advertising. Does Google want 600,000 people posting about mountain bikes? No way, they only care that the top 250 mountain bike experts in the world are posting their stuff on Google+. That will give them more than enough fresh content to post into a search about Mountain Biking: Already I am following about 400 active tech journalists. Already I'm seeing the exact same news here that Twitter has, only the news here has photos, videos, and better conversations around it.

4b. Mountain biking advertisers only really care that they hit most of the audience that cares about Mountain Biking. They want to be next to content that's really great and that's done by some of the top mountain biking content producers. I've been studying the long tail of content development for a long time and unfortunately the quality drops off very quickly after you get past the top 5%.

5. Advertisers want to put their content next to people who are real (i.e. folks that they can have on stage at conferences with the same name they use online and in other places) and that are recognized experts. That's why Klout is already being watched by nearly every major brand's social media team pretty closely (you might hate that, but it's true, when I visit big companies and their social media teams they watch Klout and other scores very closely.)

6. Google mostly cares about retention. (So does Twitter and Facebook, all of these companies talk about this with me when I've turned off my camera). Think about being a user who knows nothing about social networks, or what they are for. Imagine being told on TV, say, the Super Bowl, "join Google+ and follow the action." Well, what action do you follow? You have no idea who anyone is, or how it works here. If Google didn't have a list of great people to follow this would seem empty and unused. Now you can just "add all" and have some people to follow. Whether or not they are "the best people possible" doesn't matter to either this new user or Google. That will come later as they figure out who else can be followed here.

So, add all this up, and you can see why Google+ is getting more and more elitist.

What's the problem with all this?

1. Users who aren't on the list hate it. I know, I wasn't on Twitter's list and I still hold that against the company. But, it was worse there. I was Twitter's #1 to #3 user for the first two years. I had more followers than either Pete Cashmore or Mike Arrington, then Twitter did the suggested user list and left me off of it. That meant they ended up with millions of users and I ended up with 200,000. Of course, these "followers" weren't really engaged. How do I know that? Because these folks haven't been able to move their "followers" over here, while I have been able to do that with mine.

2. It isn't fair. Why am I on the list? Why aren't you.

3. It isn't transparent. Why am I on the list? Because I do good content or because +Vic Gundotra used to be my boss?

4. It doesn't always reward the right things. What should Google be rewarding? Great content and the people who produce that. But, I've found that lots of people get on these lists because, well, they have a friend in the company. On Instagram's list, for instance, are investors. Why are they recommended? The photos they produce suck. It's a back scratch.

5. It is a stick to use for PR reasons. Being on these lists DOES matter to a great number of people. People who decide paychecks, decide who gets on stage at conferences, people who decide who gets on mainstream media, etc. I've seen it over and over again. So, if you want to stay on these lists you gotta be careful not to piss off those who decide on such lists. In other words, there is pressure on me and other people on the lists to say nice things about +Bradley Horowitz and +Vic Gundotra and team. I've noticed that the press folks who are on Twitter's list generally don't say anything too nasty about Twitter and when Techcrunch posted some documents stolen from Twitter they were removed from the list for a while which let Mashable get more followers than they had.

6. It causes problems with relationships. I find that both being on the outside of such lists, as well as inside this one, cause relationship problems. I remember one couple I liked. The girl got on Twitter's list (she had fewer followers than the guy). The guy didn't. I pointed that out and now I'm neither of their friends. Already I'm finding I'm having to deal with questions in email about how I got on this list.

So, why doesn't it matter?

If you have great content you will get found by one of the folks on this list. I'm especially looking for great content, especially from technologists and geeks. I will share that content with my followers, so eventually if you produce great content you'll pass right by me.

I've seen that happen before too. Remember, I was the first one to link to Techcrunch.

So, in the end, content is king and that's all that really matters. Do you have great content? Let me know. If it really is great I got +Vic Gundotra on speed dial. :-)

UPDATE: I'm hearing from inside the team that they are working on a way for good content to get "bubbled up." Even from two or three levels away from you. So, let's say I'm following you. You click + 1 on a post. If other people join in with you I see that post. I reshare it, now three levels of people get to see that post. That will make the content you write, photograph, video, etc be more important than how many followers you have.
Chris Mather's profile photoDennis Bechtel's profile photoAndrij “Andrew” Harasewych's profile photoJeff Sullivan's profile photo
I have discovered more stimulating and awkwardly ordinary (not-famous) personalities on Google+ than the ones on this list. Just my thoughts!
I agree, but can't express it on Bradly Horowitz's post - he has blocked me for pointing out that information that nothing would happen to your Google accounts if they suspended you was misleading, and had hurt people.
Wow, esto puede ser taaaaan malo para Google+ y tan bueno para Facebook....discreción y prudencia, que a veces por escribir impulsivamente se nos olvida...cuidar los detalles que pueden hundir una campaña o una red social...
It's not "what you know", it's "who you know"
Gosh, I thought all this is just fun and entertainment for all! ;-)
Edit the formatting on #4. My OCD is killing me. 
+Jessica Gottlieb did you see that +Lotus Carroll made the list? Agree in the sense that I stayed far away from the Twitter suggested user list and any cross-over was coincidental
So the translation is, when one follows a whale and you comment on the whales post your visibility goes up when/if its 1Up'd. Thats great in my book.
I don't really buy into the ' Brands don't care about the masses all that much' -> true for tech brands but highly controversial for mass markets... Johnson&Johnson Baby as an example wants to reach to all the new mothers that are out there.
Oh sweet tapdancing jesus, did the celebutards complain that the Suggestions wasn't getting them enough fanboys???
As an ex P&G manager, I'd like to say consumer brands care A LOT about the masses.
lots of "stage names" but hell anything to breath some life up on G+
+Robert Scoble Because they make their big bucks on those users. not true for yogurt, skincare, food, sodas,... but your argument is still very sound for most brands. I guess it depends on the shape of their revenue per user 'powerness' curve
okay lets talk.. I have near 3000 on twitter and only a couple hundred on G+ What's my problem?
I guess I just don't understand the obsession people have with being the most visible and/or being elite. Some will naturally rise to the top. It has always been that way in school, work, life in general.
Lucai J
+Robert Scoble Thank you for this, i'm grateful that not everyone in the social media sphere has blinders on and can put their weight behind this. I feel like google is missing a huge opportunity to make social better by doing this. The main reason why i liked plus is that it offered a more deeper engagement with people who had something to say and we could actually delve deeper areas of interest people shared.

Now if a new user comes to the site and gets suggested a bunch of users just like twitter, they've already lost. One of the most encouraging things about this site when my facebook friends joined was me showing them people on the site and what stood out to them wasn't the name but was the thoughts beside the name. The discussions in my stream are inspiring and thought provoking and i really wish google would throw away the rule book and focus in on how this is different and promote that cause to me and my friends that's we're the gold is.
Agree. It's definitely an elitist/clique-ish move. Im very tired of people promoting their own private lists of the "best" photographers or the "best" tech bloggers. I'd prefer if google made it easier to find people organically rather than just dumping a list of so-called "famous" people out there for everyone to follow.
+Robert Scoble all social media is like high school with the segregated tables in the lunch room. Move the venue (platform) and the players remain the same. Breakfast Club 2.0.
+Robert Scoble I'm not sure why content saturation is a good thing. I don't follow that many people and even there's plenty of repetition. I'm saturated from my news feed from Google Reader. What I want from G+ is interesting threads where the conversation is engaging.
+Doriano Paisano Carta - maybe that's the true definition of social media "high school cafeteria 2.0" - how many networks don't have default lists is probably the better question. Seems like YouTube has one too.
+Martha Garrett A few hundred isn't horrible, but you probably scare many people with the religious reference on your profile.
I know you'll bubble up. With or without Vic. The more that I read, the more that I like!
+Robert Scoble I never said P&G doesn't care about what influential people think, but they solicit feedback from every day consumers too (in other ways.) Their business is dependent on them. They definitely care about the viewpoints and perceptions of the masses.
+Robert Scoble i am still confused on what +1 actually means - why do people +1 something - that can be a separate discussion :)
"Elitist" is one way to see it, and justifiably so. But the core concept that Google's pushing is better quality control so that noted mistakes and issues with other social platforms aren't repeated here. The community to date has been more-or-less hand-picked based on merit, thus creating a better foundation for the platform to quickly achieve scale in order to compete with Twitter and Facebook. This late in the game, Google hasn't got 6 years to catch-up, and if it built a social silo that had all the irritating problems that plague other existing systems, users would just assume stay there and not rebuild their personal networks.
Google is a business like any other, their bottom line doesn't have fair in the equation. The idea of the +1 bubbling is intriguing and it could get content out to a wide variety of users fast. Six degrees of G+ separation.
Let's say I get a friend to join Google+ who is a singer/songwriter. He posts a feed from a rehearsal and I +1 and share it. The the content is good and gets 25-50 +1's. Robert follows me and spots said content in his feed because of the +1's and bubbling effect. He shares it out to his 100,000+ followers and the brand new G+ member's content is all over the place.
+Lucas Johnson True if you are a purist. But I think what they are trying to do is help new users feel engaged. Feel engage with someone they don't know. but engaged none the less. #TheyAreJustTryingToAccelerateThatThing!
I might not like and will never be on a people suggested list on any social network, but I understand why they do them and it does make business sense. I just wish the suggested users actual participated in Google Plus and are just added because they are big in their area of expertise but never participate in conversations.
and let me tell you the MOST interesting thing about google+ default list - on twitter they promoted mashable and techcrunch for example. here they promote peter cashmore and christina warren from mashable, several people like mg sigler from techcrunch and marshall kirkpatrick from rww - now these individuals can boost their personal brand/networks rather than the corporate brand - so that makes them stronger as individuals for their future plans - i think this is by far the most interesting thing about google+ default list.
They need a 'suggested outliers' list. I'd be happy to be on that one!
+Robert Scoble Allen asks a valid question. The things we plus one still do not show up in our collection of plus ones in our google profile... none of the plus ones inside G+ nor anything we plus one in Google search anyway! It's stupid actually. We should all be able to see everything we've plused.
+Mark Baker - nicely put. I'm also quite encouraged that is sounds like the bulk of considerations into this suggestions process will be algorithmically determined. Google has a tendency to do that pretty well. It might be initially seeded (and the extent of that seeding is unknown) with volunteers and "high-value" targets (Sorry +Robert Scoble - perhaps a dangerous term :-) but it sounds like it will likely change and provide a dynamic view of folks who should be considered. Individuals who become less active would naturally start being downgraded and other unknowns who are getting noticed could start filling in their places. If they can then frame it with key interest areas there is some serious traction that could be gained there.
I really wonder about local lists.
I give up trying to appear on lists, hopefully my content will find its way to more followers, but if not I am not going to pursue this lists anymore.
+Robert Scoble I find it strange that there are those who question why you would be included on the list. Before joining G+ I must confess I have never heard of you. Since doing my Speedpaint Hangouts no fewer than 5 people either suggested trying to do one of you or brought your name up in conversation some how. Guy being one of them though I don't recall the context off-hand. I thought that was really strange since I had just emailed you an hour prior.

What you say here makes perfect sense.

The debate about the suggested user list reminds me of the debate around the Gallup Survey my company uses. Most of us associates despise the thing. Yet the company makes big decisions based on on the results. I have argued over and over again how the results are gamed and therefore not a sound basis for decisions but I am a humble peon in a very large privately held company.
+Robert Scoble and +Allen Stern Robert, that's exactly what is the real promise of social networks! A big filter to help you access what matters to you -> I LOVE the +1. why? compared to the like: it's owned by Google and we know they have bad ass data mining capability / potential compared to FB. This is the future of search / discovery.
I think we all forget how young Google+ is. The amount of changes that have taken place since I logged on is amazing. If they are truly following the conversations then I believe people will eventually see the features they are looking for.
This is one of your best posts to date about G+. If they rotate the list regularly, and they likely will, it will all work out in the end and, arguably, making the list later when there are more users is better than making it now and then being removed before the deluge. I like that Violet Blue and William Shatner got promoted, it would be nice if a few others who had name issues got plugged too each time. Quite a few celebs are here but not on the list, I don't take it as a final list, just a great improvement over doing nothing. People want to be friends with celebs, the more celebs who arrive here the better for all of us. Relax the 5000 limit so celebs can follow everyone they wish to, something FB does not let them do. FB told Arlo Guthrie and Carole King early on they could only have 5000 friends. Change that number and they will come in droves...
by the way, +Violet Blue who has been really active in nymwars, and hates Google+ made the Google cool people list.
+Robert Scoble Except they do, in a sense do so. Apple has at least sites that can stream their press conferences. Or share them with the public later on. They care and they can cut the cost.

Or am I just being stupid?
Every business that grows enough will eventually stop seeing people as people and start to see them as numbers on a spreadsheet or chart.
There's the "who can do something for us" people and then there's the "put them in that pile with the rest" people that they use to woo the "who can do something for us" people.
Tom Lee
Google + is all about money. They try to hit sweet spots of "interest" and "expertise". So they need the "elitists", the famous, celebrities, and "experts". Ordinary folks look up to and listen to those "gods" before making a purchasing decision. Google can get good ads money from the companies. Google wants to make money, it's that simple.
+Tom Lee If Google is all about money, then tell me why they allow all of their services to be free? Why do they allow android to be open source? Why do they not patent troll?
I understand what you are saying +Lucas Johnson - but I'm not sure I am in full agreement. Especially for a first time user who has completely empty circles, they have to start somewhere. Getting in and seeing highly engaged conversations by individuals who are obviously very active and spur active conversations is a great way to draw them into the conversation. It will take a while for peoples circles to mature and they will evolve naturally over time - but this initial engagement is very important. That is probably one of the biggest criticisms I have seen of G+ from many angles - common user to power user to media elite... The "ghost town" feel can be overwhelming, and getting that initial engagement is important so people can really start getting in and using the service.

The more you use, the more you participate, the more likely it will be able to establish patterns in your own participation and will start to gleen areas of interest and active engagement on your part. (At least I can hope that will happen with the algorithm) Suggestions would then start to improve as well and would potentially migrate from simple power users to some of the fringe areas that are much more focused on an individuals interests and key areas of participation than anything else.

One can dream at least...
+Alex Balcázar Thanks Alex. That's not what I meant. I can see plus one section. What I mean is that the things we plus inside G+ and in search results don't show up there or anywhere we can see. Google uses it for its algorithm but we don't see it ever again unless we go back and search for each one which ain't gonna happen. We should have all plus ones aggregated in our plus one section so we can unplus them or review the item again if we want to.
So I've got a question – I posted this earlier on my wall but with my limited following, I didn't get much response: If you have to use your real name here (which I agree with), then why does +Pete Cashmore +Pete Cashmore have two accounts? And verified!
One of the few times I agree with you on most points. Early on I felt it Google Plus was designed for the elites first. A lot of the features they are enabled for top followed users as the rest of us wait for features to trickle down. LOL
Wholeheartedly agree +Doriano Paisano Carta - And if you haven't already, I'd "send feedback" to Google on that. Never assume that it has been submitted already. It may have, but additional feedback will help more significant and impacting ideas bubble to the surface. Based on your comment, I have just completed my feedback. Thanks for the prompt!
+Stephen Reitz the open source/free offering business model is no less lucrative than any other. Its like a crack dealer that gives away the first hit for free. It gets millions dependent and used to their product, then monetizes them gradually over time.
I'm hoping for more feedback and interaction down the line, which I would imagine is what some people are missing when they compare their Google+ experience to Facebook or Twitter.

My circles are (slowly) growing and responses to what I share are becoming more frequent, building on that and making my presence here a unique experience is my motivation.

You get as much out of it as you put in, as true of G+ as it is in many aspects of life. 
Google Plus has really only been about one way communication from the start. They don't let you talk to people they only let you comment on what others are saying.
Question if 5000 people is your limit of g+ followers how did some g+ users have over that number in the first two weeks of g+ Is there a secret g+ squirrel club that we need to enter :) I don't agree that you can only really follow 250 ppl as many ppl have interests in lots of areas I love photography but also aviation, technology, food, art, science, psychology music and history plus i love meeting my twitters here as well that's why we have circles to engage in different subject matters when you are so inclined - my opinion of course. The virtual world allows us to connect to with interesting ppl sometimes it opens our thoughts to new ideas and new interests as well. You will never get that from staying in a small tribe :) 
Some times it takes just one simple thing in order for me to circle an individual; here in g+; +Jay Walsh. ;S thanks for bringing that instance up, Jay.
+Rob Gordon - You'll notice that this +Richard Branson profile has only three posts on it. The previous one was a fake and was purged / deactivated / banned or something. Looks like this one is the real deal.
+Robert Scoble big brand still comunicate to the elites because they live in the 'old world' where it was cheaper and more effective. Social networks help today reach out to the masses cheaply: look how CRM is done in startups: Tw & FB. Moreover as one of your follower, I expect you to engage with me if I reach out to you rather than engaging with the elite (@arrington, @davemcculre, @loic, @...)... even though it's still more efficient for you. Yet As we see it here: G+ helps that
Tom Lee
+Stephen Reitz I look at it in a sense of G is a growth business. They need the money to expand, i.e. Android open source, bunch of freebies...Different products in the business sustain each other and relying on each other to growth .
+Netta Gray Areas Gilboa This is a great point. One of the big problems with the 5K follow limit is that all of the highly followed people will never follow back and more than likely to just click ignore all if they do anything. While it would be very difficult to manage without better tools for noise control, its a feature that would improve the sense of community.
+Tom Lee you make some good points; however, openly discussing with the community; trust building; collective influence, etc; some paths for us to travel; imaginatively; physically at our electronic devices eg; it's a good some thing to explore the potentials. ...i believe this a key piece and one of +Robert Scoble better pieces; Rock on. It's one of those sure enough 'our' pieces in the end ;-) let's not cut ourselves short on any paths, miss any of them, ...
So +Robert Scoble do you know for a fact that Google's list will be partially or entirely generated based on someone that knows someone at the company? I can understand you worrying about that because it's happened at other companies, but unless you know it's happening at Google you should probably reserve judgement.

Also, based on this article does this mean that Google search is elitist? I mean Google searches through a lot of websites and there are millions on any given subject, but they refine it down to 10 top results. That seems like the same thing that they're doing with this but I've never heard of their search being called elitist.
I know I'm only 18 but I think that google+ should be alot more professional because as of now every one is using correct grammar, and its great. And I agree that it is wrong to have the already top people to be featured even more on google+. If the people want to follow their google+ then they will search for them. If not then oh well. Then on the other hand google+ could have their suggestions on how frequently someone posts or comment and give to the community.
+Robert Scoble ed al.: Google+ rocks and will win, because it is open and can adapt more easily.
And because the facebook folks need to continue to patch up things as their MySQL architecture bumps against its limitations. Makes them much less adaptable.
Real name policy is a joke. Good for nothing, just some nerdy "this is how the world is supposed to be" behind it.
+penelope beveridge I think you have it wrong. I am reasonably sure that 5000 is the cap on people you can follow NOT on how many can follow you. There are many on here who have plenty more than that following them.
+Robert Scoble I certainly agree that transparency is a good thing, but then there's the issue that it could become easier to game the system. It's a delicate balancing act, similar to search results. Good conversation!
@Rob Gordon & +Robert Scoble I appreciate your feedback. Re the lack of geeky stuff: I post about multiple interests - Jesus and tech are two of many passions.
This post has helped me pull the pieces together. I feel very inspired now to crank out some great content.
+Robert Lamarz Name is a property of an entity; a [person]; it's a label; yeah labeling is bad; but one can be enabled with an account able identifier property on he as the entity; the user; me. basic online in the web copyrighting for example; hold up in a court of law; there are good things; uses of identity online; inform on the good and the bad services; so we'll all know when they come about; why they've come about; and then have a choice of whether or not to use those services; should be left up to the individual; just do not scare tactic; which at times might be speaking as an authority; but not giving enough info on the matters; ...less subjective opinion; and more objective fact; especially, on the topic of an identity online in the web, and any thing a nother wants to do and / or not with this identity; ...
Google+ is full of posting leaders for now that is, .This is exactly why I love it here....but the ratio of followers and leaders is will eventually lean towards followers.
+Robert Scoble being that you have so many people who interact with you (and many more on the way) how do you keep up with it all? Is there a point you lock down a thread or simply stop responding to it personally? I know you have the auto-response on email but this is a different beast. (I apologize if this is a question that doesn't belong in this thread)
Not hurt (if you +Brent Hoos are referring to me) I ask the Q why, on G+ I love immediate feedback- positive or negative.
Thanks Cliff happy to be corrected still feel ppl should be able to follow more than 5000 this is a problem with Facebook if they have many fans following them the 5000 limit prevents them from reciprocating the follow you miss out on potentially interesting posts or comments made on their pages this is where I personally like twitter it's fair and reciprocal :)) 
+Robert Scoble I'm cool with the Jesus, or the Allah, or the Mashable (whatever one's god is) posts but I'm not cool with the Adorbz Kitteh Gifs. We DEFINITELY need a content filter in G+ more sophisticated than Uncircling otherwise interesting people entirely. And it's not like Google doesn't have the technology; why haven't they made this happen yet?
Is this live at this moment? I could not find a link!
There are concerns with the 100k Twitter follower proposal though that go beyond just the current suggested follower list.

In particular, is Google going to create a way for Twitter posts to be easily replicated here instead of creating original content. If Google wants the high powered individuals from Twitter enough, are they willing to sacrifice the quality of G+?

Google still needs to build the search infrastructure for posts and individuals beyond suggested lists. Without that core functionality, they will be lacking a lot.
So the forthcoming "bubble up" feature: sounds like FriendFeed's FOAF (Friend Of A Friend) behaviour.
+Craig Lennox correct me if I am wrong but aren't the discussions that he is engaging in part of his 'content'? Thus those who not only have good content in their post but are actively engaging via comments are adding more content. Those who do that more will rise. I am not seeing the conflict.
being elitist is good 4the G+ users
Myspace was not elitist in its membership and look where they ended up? Even the universe still retains the shape it received during the big bang.
+Robert Scoble that is really sad, why would +Bradley Horowitz support such thing :( You were spot on, I am really disappointed. It will definitely not fair, causes relationship problems, and not transparent. I thought transparency is a goal in Google.
Great writeup. One of the first things I complained about when I joined G+ was finding people to follow (as you can see in my blog post I wrote when I first joined: All my "suggested people" were somehow connected with me and had no content posted. I want to follow new people who I know nothing about! This list helps people do that and helps new users get engaged. I'm all for it. 
+Martha Garrett No, I was referring to Scoble's original post. It simply sounds like a surly teenager who's upset about being sat at the kid's table at Thanksgiving. The supporting points seem spurious at best and too early.

G+ is, allegedly, a social networking site. Anyone who is surprised that social factors (like "the haves" and "the have nots") will come into play is either extremely naive or trolling.

I'm not saying the topic isn't worthy of discussion, but I am a bit put off by the "wah wah me! nobody loves me. everybody hates me, i'm going to eat worms" framework.
It's kinda "high school." I'm afraid we're all finding out high school never really ended.
I am also wondering about local lists +Bud Gibson. I was on facebook just yesterday and someone from my highschool was commenting about their great travel agent is- I was able to contact this agent for an event I am planning next year- and they are local to me (Montreal). That kind of thing is very useful and relevant... I did just realize that I can do a people search for Montreal on G+ and come up with a lot of results- but still then I circle a bunch of people without the real life context of knowing, or even having met these people, which lessens the usefulness of their recommendations to me.
+Robert Scoble Agree, I did not know most of the photogs in my circle until G+ came along, and I've seen some amazing work as a result of my G+ circle. I was referring to the proliferation of 3rd party lists that seem to be popping up. I know people have good intentions, bringing photographers together, etc, etc. But after a while it gets annoying. Now G+ offering their own lists of "interesting" people is similar but on a larger scale. It could be useful but it could become a very clique-ish "if you dont follow these people you are REALLY missing something" sort of elitist vehicle. Id prefer to see a more organic search function in G+ that makes it easier to find people with similar interests instead of realying on 3rd party websites.
+Robert Scoble Re your comment to +Rob Gordon and +Martha Garrett:

I've been thinking a lot about your post the other day on how NOT to get followers on G+ -- specifically the part about being clear "what drives you." I'm not as single-minded as you are, and my personal and professional lives are not so tightly knit. It's especially hard on an "identity service" like G+, which presumably is meant to reflect the whole me. Without alternate personas, aka nyms, I can't set up separate "channels," as I can on Twitter or Tumblr or WordPress.

Which ties into the Martha Problem.

It seems like a big failing (or opportunity) for G+: I can control whom I broadcast to, but people who circle me have to hear all or nothing that I choose to broadcast.

I'm sure elegant solutions exist out there, but for starters -- to use an existing paradigm -- what if G+ allowed tags? Then I could tag my posts "tech" or "cooking" or "lepidoptery," and people who have me circled could subscribe only to those threads. That would help solve your Martha problem ("what really turned me off is the lack of geeky content. ... I wish I could get warned only when Martha talks about tech").

At any rate, I'm still rooting for Google Plus.
+Jennifer Karmon Absolutely Google+ should allow tags - on both our posts and on our profiles. It is a major failing of this system, in my opinion. Why should people have to read my boring posts about economics, when they only want to read my entertaining ones? Why should I have to read posts about Android when I don't have one? When everyone was praising the new profiles here, I was actually shocked that they removed the "interests" section from them. Of what use is a profile without interest? This is such a major oversight, I almost think it is by design.

UPDATE: This is not a new issue - we had a fairly extensive discussion about tags on Google Buzz.
It's almost as if certain ideas are incubating in the hive mind and then mature all over the place at once. I wrote something similar this morning -- although my take is a shade more positive: the value of reputation and authority (which I think G+ is about). I suppose some people would call that "elitism". Oddly, it came to mind because I was reading about something unrelated to G+ -- about how literacy and cheap books created new markets -- and how we came to measure success in two, almost contradictory, ways: popular success versus critical success.

More here:
+Jennifer Karmon +Robert Scoble +Rob Gordon

Ha! Martha Problem Thinking it would be great if G+ began implementing tags because of the problem I cause.

No doubt it would make focused scanning easier for those who want to scan particular subjects.

Personally I am into my media being social and this means getting to know the whole person. If I only wanted tech I'd read sparks on technology not subscribe to a social network.
Just grind out good content that helps or amuses or inspires people. Social media is not a popularity contest or a video game where you rack up points. Don't worry about who reacts to or ignores your content. Express yourself.
Thanks for another good post +Robert Scoble . The approach that they are taking isn't surprising and though it could yield them what they want it's their focus and it's at least in part to deepen the market penetration. The mix of people on Google Plus is great and it's in the diversity of content and the people that make a more enjoyable conversation. We have the opportunity to make new connections here that we never had on other social platforms, and it's nice to see that the audience is more responsive simply by conversing and following people in our areas of interest and observing their content as well as their conversation. It's enjoyable following social media connections that are on other social media platforms as well as following people of like interest and seeing who they are and what they are really about. There are some people that jump into the stream and disappear, but many more that are interactive conversationalists which add value to the community. Am appreciating that and many of the commenter here fit that criteria. A thanks to everyone commenting and conversing today!
Recommended users should come from a simple system that assess posts based on relevance, usefulness, entertainment value, etc. Apple with apps. Google with algorithms. It's not going to hurt anyone if Google+ recommend users who aren't famous. CNN heroes weren't famous, but they did unthinkable ways that provided value within their communities. Follow that model.
The 150 invite Google + is an social experiment, to gain information on the spread of social media....
+Robert Scoble cross posted from +Axel Kratel's post about this.

Quoting myself from an earlier post by +Jon Pincus : I also wonder, and am concerned about, if this idea of "Identity Ranking" will establish digital classes where a cyber-elite (for lack of a better descriptor) gets preferential treatment on platforms, policies, promotions, or other products. I can easily imagine a Google+ that roles out new features to those highest ranked first, which is fine and all, but taken even farther then that, like a higher ranked person finding out about a job opening on a different platform before others, would present a problem for me. (

This move further has me wondering, and probably sounding a bit conspiratorial, if there may be a larger effort in motion to establish an Identity Hierarchy here. Your thoughts?
Seems there is a tech & startup ghetto of navel gazers that think their genre is so important and getting followers is equivalent to selling hit records or movie tickets. You are all a little full of yourselves as 9 out of 10 people don't know any of you beyond Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Most of them couldn't even guess the name of the CEO of Dell. Now you might have a little importance in the tech world, which is really a microcosm, and there is money to be made--but keep some humility, look where +John C Dvorak is now... ;op
The general quality of the posts in google's suggested user list is pretty banal.
Just checked out the list at:

Unless the list changes with country of origin (I suspect it does not, but would be great if someone could verify - +Robert Scoble - do you know?), it also neglects the fact that there are a huge number of interesting users and posts from all over the globe - not everything interesting happens in North America, and not everything interesting is posted in English.
Thanks tech pundits! +John C Dvorak and not the Dvorak keyboard--God that guy's website is really sad... how the mighty have fallen!

[Edit--and even adding his official G+ name doesn't link to him! Is Google ostracizing him?]
a plusser from Portugal (Rita Pinto) just reported to me in another stream that it was the same for her
As always, a great and thoughtful post. :D
+Robert Scoble I would suggest the paradigm is not power vs. Regular users as in, the company invites the one to special events and not the other so they only care about power users.

Rather power = regular users and you are their means to reach out. It is strategic thinking, not caring/ uncaring.

Does that not sound like common sense? 
Same here. I am in Japan and it would be nice to have a list with more local content. 
It would be a much fairer system if it was not judged on popularity but rather on how much one actually works at it, how much they have posted etc..........people are biased there opinions will always be unjust........Google should make an algorithm for that.............there is a huge misconception about the real users behind the èlitest`some of them do not even do their own status messages - they only LOOK like they know what they are doing...............
Good points...
All Google need is to have some mechanism to be on the list (by algorithm, not by Vic Gundotra)..ideally by the mix of user's +1, follower base and content quality analysis.

Analyzing content quality is what google already done on the search ranking . They shouldn't have much problem about that.

A good suggested user list feature is really important for google since it is still in the ranking business.
But the problem is there will always be a way to game the system..
I am assuming they are making changes right now on that list because, as is, the numbers do not add up. Category by category, names have been added...
All good comments. I think that +Robert Scoble makes a lot of valid points as did many of the others who have commented. I guess my thought was I thought this was supposed to be "social" I don't see how following a random group of suggested people will increase the social aspect of Google. I DO SEE how this will ultimately turf it into an advertising juggernaut platform to support Google's already large advertising revenue. I visited Facebook last week and it seems that they are still committed to the "social" aspect of the network.

Although we all talk about how great google+ is there is definitely some bias since we are all HERE on google+. I love the platform, but still haven't abandoned other networks. If Google+ becomes another shitty platform where people only pay attention to the elitist (although I DO see why this is attractive to businesses), it will destroy it. THIS is why I see Facebook surviving this whole competition b/c they have different formats for people to conduct business (Pages vs personal accounts). If we are supposed to use real names on here, then until Google+ rolls out some mechanism for businesses to participate soon, then people are going to use it the wrong way. +Pete Cashmore was a prime example when this first started in which he didn't know whether to post from him or as Mashable. Apparently, Google+ hinted that they WOULD roll out some business portion of the platform.

I guess until that happens, only those that "influence" others will be added to the list. And while I fine some of those people useful and interesting to follow, I'm sure as heck not going to add all of them to my circles and clutter up my stream ever more than it is.

Thanks for the post though...good stuff and I can't say I disagree with you that some form of elitism is good. I just hope Google doesn't overdo it.
Who can read all these posts? Can G+ add a feature like Disqus so favorited comments rise to the top?
Brutally honest mostly accurate analysis - that's the way the world is regardless of whether it should be or not..

Its true that in any organization or social group it is only about 5-10% who drive the rest and who determine how the overall culture is. That's why it is important to seed a new network very carefully and its been obvious from the start that's what Google has tried to do.

However its known that high count alone is a 'vanity' metric as are all scoring that heavily weigh pure 'follower' count. Frequently there is little correlation between high follower count alone, and influence of the sort that actually causes purchases or other actions - that would not happen anyway. When justifying budgets the percentage who would have taken the action anyway are sometimes conveniently ignored.

The exception to high follower count alone being reliable is true celebrities - those in entertainment or sports figures with real fans.

High count has virtually no correlation - in of itself - to quality of content. Lots of personal or other brands with high follower count produce content that is pure crap.

You really have to look at many factors to be able to predict or discover which brands (personal or otherwise) have the influence to cause others to take actions that they would not take anyway.

The thing is - that doesn't necessarily matter in terms of high volume impression marketing and sales of related ads. When marketing makes the decision to purchase high volume low return ads - they know they aren't going to get a high percentage of return. Search engine impressions tend to be of the high impression lower percentage of return ad market. So focusing on that part of the ad sales market is easier and already part of the culture for a search engine.
+Robert Scoble True to there already being scores for each of us, but the existence of scores (whether it's Klout, "Identity Ranking" by Google or another, or some other rating altogether) is not what I have a problem with. My problem is how will scores/"Identity Ranking" be implemented in the future, especially if and when these scores become serious outside of the internet. Like I said I can imagine a not too distant future where my score allows me to see a job listing before others, seeing that the job listing platform may perceive me a more valuable recommendation than those with lessor scores, but will my score also be used in a final hiring decision by the employer. I'm having echos of the movie Gattaca while thinking about this, just replace genetics with "Identity Ranking" scores.
I think +Tim Allison hit the nail on the head: Klout scores become the currency instead of bank accounts? Where is the actual social aspect in your analysis, +Robert Scoble ?
I feel like G+ is for influential people I want to know and follow. Facebook is for people I know in real life, and twitter is the source code in the matrix
+Theresa Komor My way of getting my head around it is that your Klout score could become sorta like what your credit rating is now: in that first it demonstrates that you take the guiding system seriously, if you don't your score in both cases will be abysmally low; secondly it shows how good you are at leveraging yourself in that system, that you have a stake in it and thus others can trust in you whether it is with further debt or whatever Klout will spin off as "sticks and carrots". I think our interest and thinking should focus on just what those "sticks and carrots" will be, and how they will be implemented and by whom. For instance, can you imagine if the Dept. of Homeland Security becomes interested in using Klout scores and all the issues and potential problems that will arise from it (Edit: this is what I would consider to be an example in the extreme, but not out of order in the possibility space)?
I just can't believe anyone whose paycheck doesn't depend on popularity gives a damn about whether they're on Google+'s VIP list. I'm happy just being another ordinary geek, posting stuff I care about regardless of who else reads it, so my friends can get more insight into who I am and what I'm doing and weigh in with their expertise and opinions when they want to.
Have to say I get frustrated with these lists highlighting the same people, who either don't post, or post a lot of gifs and pet pics. I just started looking in comment threads for interesting people to follow.
I'll +1 everyone in this post that beats the dead horse so that Google can see that no one cares about the person being famous, just that the person is generating good content. To have an algorithm to have an active list and by active I mean one that is dynamic and changes all the time would be the best way. So that everyone on the list has to always prove their worth and can lose their spot and if it was done by algorithm [computer], it would alleviate the favoritism notion as well.
+Steve Keate I tend to agree with you.

New users here need to find people and content first and foremost or they aren't going to hang around. It's already been a complaint I've seen. Google+ is dead they say. Well of course it's dead to them. They don't know where to go or what to look for to find someone to read. Their stream needs to be moving and updating constantly or they can go back to twitter and watch the noise instead. They will find people here THROUGH other people, in suggestions and comments. Especially comments because that means here's a person that participates and doesn't just post. So quantity and quality of posts generate these comments and are a source of introduction between people. Most that I've met here, I met in the comments of someone else's post. It works.
actually dunbar's 250 has been revised upward, by others folks in this area, due to us now having tools to manage relationships. 400-ish is what we can handle now.
I circled some people from some list. Some I un-circled - what are professional adults doing making scat posts? - even those who just released a book that a Google community manager is crowing about? Others don't even post at all.

I quickly concluded - the list is useless - to me, and not worth my time. I guess it means something, but not much to me.

I suspect other users will have somewhat similar experiences, depending on their tastes/ tolerances.
+Robert Scoble I could let you know that I have great content, but surely when +Vic Gundotra sees this comments and then takes one quick peek at my profile, he will notice my quality content, reasonable posting frequency and engaged followers, and immediately offer me big bucks for the privilege of having me on his suggested users list ;-)
Did I mention I can be funny at times?
Alex T
Finally, +Robert Scoble, someone told people the truth: social media is not about you. Your content is just a side effect of the money making process. So true and, you have to agree, fair, because nobody puts so much effort and lots of money, building those social sites, for your pleasure.
So if my field is Mountain Biking, how do I become one of the top 10 experts in the field of Mountain Biking? Personally, I think the answer is all about content and engagement. (hint: there's a book in the answer to this!).

Now look at the lists of celebrities being promoted here. They're on the lists because they're famous. They haven't become famous because of their content and engagement on social media. In fact their content and engagement is almost universally rubbish. So what is being sold to us here is their fame and not them.

Does Stephen Fry get on the lists?
Ah, generalisations, you always have exceptions!
There's an exception to every rule, including this one. 
This doesn't worry me much. I knew when I signed up that if I was going to get anything resembling a following, I'd damn well have to earn it.
I think it depends on the criteria G+ uses to "suggest" people. There are people with high Klout scores without a lot of followers, and vice versa. If G+ recommendations are based on a "merit" system for good content rather than on number of followers it would be easier to take.
Name-dropping's as old as the hills : it's also true with Google + , there's nothing new !
I'm starting to think we're all just jealous, myself included? I made the same initial comment, that lists should be user generated. But what difference does it truly make? My list may only refer user to the elitists. So why does it matter who refers us?

If every user was instantly added to mass lists, and their followers jumped to 10k each, would that solve the problem? No. Because then they would feel excluded from the 25k, and 50k groups. If we truly want to be the popular kid on the block, then we need to work at it.

There's no handouts. And if you know someone getting a handout, simply because of who they know, don't hate. Put in the work to get to know that special someone. Or better yet, just be happy with what you have. It's about sharing, not popularity. At least, that's what we're all claiming. Yet we're complaining about the lack of numbers.
Probably slightly out of context, but coincidentally I have found, at least for myself, one of the best way to build my own list (circles) is by finding people commenting on different posts such as this one.
No brands on g+ No brands on g+
I think that something that starts in 2011 and wants to be new and different ( elitist if u want, meaning something that need an effort of knowledge and consciousness to elevate the contents) might be focused on users as it is now (real names) not on product or brands. There are other places for these old stuff.
i do agree with you, the direction is correct but i am afraid folk won't buy it. and yes, it doesn't always reward the the right thing. since +1 might use to vote or to rerank the search result or to advertise, it does matter to make sure they are all real.
Maybe this whole 'logic' thing is confusing me, but how can something be substantially beneficial and simultaneously irrelevant, as your post suggests this will be?
should these Suggestions not just be a sub-part of the Find People in the circle tab? i'd rather see an improved algorithm there to actually find people who new users (adepted too ofc) can relate to and who post sth. a few dozen vip's are nice to watch but imho don't really help to tie users long-term & encourage them to participate. this is not tv.
I disagree with this list... Famous in real world doesn't mean you're famous in G+ and definitely that does not mean they do highly interesting post. That list is such a shame since I really enjoy lot of really interesting post from not real life famous people, post from which I learn and get some knowledge. We also have lot of musicians doing hangout concerts, singing for us, the users, for free... we have people teaching cooking classes, for free... we h ave scientist, language teachers, programmers, math teachers, and lot of enthusiastic people doing a lot of great activities and post for the community....... Those are the people that should be supported on the list.....
I'm all for Google+ elitism.
If you decide whom to follow based on the content, dont' forget G+ started in June. The July and August are normally the lowest "content generating months" for obvious reasons - vacations, etc. Like I was trying to be outside as much as possible which will change in a few weeks. Many of my friends are just coming back from travelling. Content is coming...
The interesting part about suggest lists is not necessarily the person you start following, but finding other followers sharing the same interest (via comments or even +1's). So suggest list could be seen as a basis to start up your own social network, and not a glorification of who-ever is on that suggest list.
+Robert Scoble I suppose that this raises the philosophical question, then: If it holds value to your father, and if your father is valuable to you, then must it not, by necessity, hold value for you?
I was against all this "No fake names" business, but after the comment above I can kind of see the point.
+Sean Gilley You have to take the bad with the good. Weigh the inconvenience of spammers versus the critical life-saving anonymity needed by women, men and children who are the victims of abuse but who want to speak out about their stories without having to worry that Google will enable their abusers to find them.

Compared to their physical safety, you can stand a little annoyance for the purpose of their anonymity.
+John Castle I'm still generally against the real name thing (though I'd like to be aware of who is and who isn't using a pseudonym), I think its just a bit shocking to come across spammers, especially negative spammers, on G+. Thus far my experience of G+ has been as a big techie love in and I think this guy is the first troll I've come across.
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at, +Pinupbot Live. My point is that Google+ should not unfairly exclude people from its services just because those people are concerned with and protective of their physical safety. To do that is wrong. And because Google+ requires them to give up their safety in order to connect with others for emotional and mental support, that is, in a very real sense, evil.
Its a ** up world! The main problem with this kind of approach is getting into the group after is has started to grow. The only way to get "promoted" is to get noticed by the same "top" people. Those, only following the same people in a closed circuit it gets really hard to think outside the box!
+Kendy Louwaars - I wouldn't take it that way. It's more of a sure-fire test-platform. Someone with 100 followers wouldn't be of so much use, now would they? :)
so google+ does not need me. thanks for the insight. the truth is: google desperately needs the mainstream. still facebook gives me most value out of any social network. google is the runner up and still needs to find its niche. 
As per the usual, +Robert Scoble, you've led me to more interesting people to follow. I appreciate your efforts (and your own work has led many people to follow me, hopefully allowing me to enrich their experience, too!) and can't thank you enough.
A big point about being elitist (or whatever phrase you want) is that the attitude towards users being "the best" (or loudest!) means that these users are always submitting content. The reason +Robert Scoble has so many followers on G+ is because the content is persistent, flowing and useful to many people.

This is what Google wants. It's also why the G+ platform lends itself more to micro-blogging than Facebook (let's just call twitter macro-blogging in this case!). It's all about content. The better the content, the more ads can go up... and thus, the more moolah Google can generate.
When G+ allows business names the real name issue should be moot. Your pseudonym is your business and becomes your brand. Your real name account still exists, but you can be known as your business name/handle. Seems pretty obvious to me.
+Bob Freeman but maybe at least the user spending his name and not a brand will be careful in not pushing crap. That's pretty obvious to me ;)
May be google should stick on to the name verification system.. So people will know whether they are talking to a person with real name or not and this way they can be more careful.
Fabio Ventola, so brands don't push crap :)
As long as the brand and real names are connected, it shouldn't be a issue.
Part of the reason I follow popular people like Scoble, besides good content, is to follow/ be followed by some of his audience.

So there is a trickle down effect that benefits the little guy.
Its interesting how different people use social networking. To some its a way to goof off and to others its serious business. 
Majorly late-to-the-comment-party, but +Robert Scoble nailed it on this article when he said: "So, in the end, content is king and that's all that really matters."

I'd say most users's disillusionment with the above statement is because they produce content they think is great but, in reality, still has some ways to go. That's not necessarily a bad spot to be in (sometimes you do your best work when no one's looking), but I do think it confuses people's opinions on content/audience/follower matters.
@Scoble, Services like have a potential to "promote" or give weight to good content as well. Not just from a small elite group, rather, active, influential folks.
So, now that I'm checking verified profiles, I guess "famous" and people with a "big number" of followers is just another whimsical concept. All I really see is that we are facing a geographical/idiomatic G+ discrimination. I hope this functionality won't just add more to it. We no speak Americano!
I don't get the use of the term "elitist" in this context. Perhaps I'm just slow, but nothing about the real names policy makes me think of elitism. The suggested users list is not so much elite users as it is advertising and marketing. In my opinion advertising and marketing is the exact opposite of elitism. It's not about the cloistered few, but the great herd. True elitism has nothing to to with brands, marketing, self-promotion, or advertising.

Being elite in the social networking world is like
being a popular prostitute in Las Vegas.
Don't see the elitism here. The real names policy is a little annoying, but Facebook does the dame thing. Suggested Users have always been annoying. I don't think that people who have a ton of followers should be given a way to pad their counts even more.
Also, the rich get poorer and the poor get richer. That's life. If you don't like it, I trust you're aware of the alternative.
There are a lot of signals that Google could use to individuwal generate segeted list for each user. Google knows me thay know what i like alredy from adds and search. They can use the infmation in user post to know who's content is relavent the number of +1's on the post the, number of comments, the size of comments (lots of comments that are one line like "that's awesome", your grait", or "we love you") are not as helpful as comments that are longer and more constructive and there is the +1's on comments that also shows comment relevance. There are lots of signals Google could use to make individual suggested lists for people and up date them in real time with no human beaning near them so you don't have the faveratisem problems. If you have abashedly new user to Google services you can have some sort of quick quiz like Netflix does to find out what they like to start then give them some options and see what they like form there to make new beater options for them as more signals come available. This sounds like just the sort of engineering problem Google is good at solving!
Interesting post! I was referred to here after posting to a few other posts highlighting the initial list. I did comment on +Bradley Horowitz 's post but I will comment here as well with a bit of what I did write over there.

As a New York City photographer who is currently followed by nearly 11,000 people and who has a really good amount of interaction on every single post (since I post my photography coupled with my writing), I was a bit baffled to see the initial list and disheartened to see that I wasn't on it (seeing that some of my peers are on it but I seem to have been passed over).

I have also been baffled with the verification system as I have yet to be verified (despite seeing my peers with similar follower counts and content/interaction get verified). Perhaps the issues here are one in the same. I have yet to figure out why I haven't been verified or if it will happen.

In the comment thread on Bradley Horowitz's initial post about the list I also found one of the comments to be excellent in that it pointed out a major flaw but was also extremely disheartening. The flaw is that there are people on that initial list with profiles that are barely filled out and with no public posts whatsoever.

I post my photography and writing daily. I have a filled out profile. I go out of my way to interact with the dozens upon dozens of comments I receive on my posts even if it takes me a couple of days to respond (and this amounts to quite a bit of comments since I have a large following here). None of this sits well with me at all. I am trying to keep positive since I love Google Plus as a platform. I haven't had so much interaction regarding my writing or my photography on any other site I feature both on prominently.

I really wonder how the list will evolve and if I will ever be considered (not sure what more I can possibly do based on Bradley Horowitz's post as I have a semi-large following, have lots of interaction in the form of +1s, shares and comments and I go out of my way to interact personally with everyone).
Oh +Robert Scoble , you do tend to stray off the reservation, don't you ;-)
May I share my opinion with a link to a post I wrote this evening before seeing yours?
And I remain curious as to how this plays out......
Let me just say this: I got on the list and every 5th post of mine here so far has been criticizing Google+'s identity (names) policy. So, while of course I'm a little pleased (I'm only human after all), I'm also perplexed.
+Robert Scoble One of the top picks in Google+'s elite list is Paris Hilton, here is what she posted on G+ since August 26 (last 8 days):

1) "Packing for Vegas... what to wear? (with her picture in a room)"
2) "Just got to Mallorca! Anyone ever been?"
3) "Paris is the most beautiful city! Definitely one of my favorites. What are all of your favorite cities?"
4) "Best wedding I've ever been to, Petra made such a beautiful bride!"

Would you consider any of this as "compelling content" to be on the list or is it that if your name is Paris Hilton, what you say simply does not matter as long as you show up? While obviously this is a rhetorical question, I do really like to know what you think about this.
Interesting people are hard to find in any social media. It takes some effort. Using popularity as a measure is going to probably lead to people like Paris (may she enjoy her vacation); but there has to be a better way.
I don't get what all the fuss is about. You guys bang on about this stuff too much (especially "real names". Seriously. Sheesh). I see "Suggested users" as a great way to give noobs a foot in the door of the G+ experience if they like their social-media experience to be celeb-filled. If I were one of those people - and I'm not - I would be welcoming "suggested users" with open arms, as it immediately gives them a place to start. How many times have you heard someone say "I signed up to G+ and it sucked so bad cause there's nobody there". Suggested users is definitely a way around that for a certain type of user.

The way I figure it, the only people who have anything to fear by having a "suggested users" list are people who might be jealous for not being included on that list, or for people who consider their own follower count to be more important than the content/discussion they're generating. Get over it. Let the noobs find and follow GaGa, and let's all just move on, nurturing your own circles and your own G+ experience rather than preventing the celeb-noobs from enjoying theirs, their way. Elitist-schmeetist. It looks like good business sense to me, making the service easier for the lowest-common-denominator.

No, it's not my cup of tea either, but you can't deny that this will include more people (by giving them content on a plate) than it would exclude... The process of generating list may be an elitist one, as any "list" is, but the inclusion of the list in the service can only be seen is broadening G+'s userbase and making it a more relevant experience to the celeb-hungry masses. Which are a lot of people, if Twitter is anything to go by.

If you really want G+ to be a tool that appeals to everyone, you have to give everybody options they want, including ones you personally don't think find relevant.
+Derya Unutmaz For all it is worth, I don't think I will add her or anybody with shallow posts to my circle in a million years. I have found interesting people without help from Google and will continue to find.
I'm reminded of what Anderson was saying in Long Tail: that "top 10" lists aren't terribly useful unless they're very, very focused on an individual user's interests. I'm probably not going to care what some teen singer is going to be saying, but I'm very likely to be interested in, say, writers who focus on game design, or political writers, or tech bloggers.

Don't give me the overall top 10. Give me that sort of top 10.
+Oluseyi Ibikunle AdeOnojobi I would not add Paris Hilton to my circle either. I have nothing against those who follow her or even that Google chose her (among few others who are famous-not-meaningful-content-posters). However, I find it intellectually dishonest for Google to bring forth the notion of content as the primary reason for these lists being generated. It seems to me that, clearly the choices are made based on name recognition, potential for people just to be associated with someone famous.

This is why I posed the question to +Robert Scoble - is this an unfair assessment? Wouldn't be better for Google to create perhaps two lists: 1) Those valued for the content 2) Those who are just famous and will attract people even if they post once a month to say hello.
+Jennifer Karmon or just people stop making EVERYTHING a public post. they need to learn that this doesn't work like facebook - you don't have to send every single person in G+ a cat gif.
+Robert Scoble I agree that this is not necessarily a list of famous people, especially the photographers. I am in the the photographers list and I am not famous. I do have about 30 million views on Flickr but outside of that narrow window, even some of my cousins have never heard of me! People like my photos and my guidance but I'm not the celebrity type!
+Robert Scoble in a sour mood? I was in a much too serious mood earlier today. I've lightened up now after a bit of college football and wine. Really, Google is less elitist than Apple, which is less elitist than the secret owners of the Federal Reserve. Google will do what ever they need to to bring the masses to G+ to make it a success. We will then mourn how awesome it is today. Same with Twitter, same with FriendFeed. What ever gets you to lighten up... go get some! And have a great weekend!
People are calling Google "elitist" because of their Suggested users? Really?

Are these the same people who are always sending us off to and similar 3rd party sites? Sites where you can PAY to be featured?

Google's Suggested users is clearly aimed at newbies on sign up, so that they can immediately have someone to play with. That's a good, valid and reasonable service for people who don't yet know how to use the Find People search or Circles. That's helpful, not elitist.

Anyone who feels miffed for not being "on the list" needs to (a) post more good content; and (b) get a life.
+Patrick Smith if the owners of the Federal Reserve were known it wouldn't be secret! Most believe it's an arm of the government. False. It's a private corporation... but this is way off topic of this post so I'll shut up now... enjoying college football and wine.
J. roto
I could honestly care less about any of this. I'm here to explore good content and "meet" good people. If said content comes from popular plussers or an average Joe, I couldn't care less. I'm already enjoying the G+ engagement much more than twitter and narcissism-book -- heck, I've even had a bunch of direct replies from Guy Kawasaki (which never happened/happens on twitter). In the end, this really isn't going to boil down to a contest to enter the most circles, is it?
+Robert Scoble What is kind of scary is that the infiltration of elitist stuff like , where they actually suggest you post this type of thing: ... now, is it me, or are they encouraging that people re-post the top posts? To what end? That isn't Google doing that, obviously, and hopefully per your update Google+ finds a way to prevent getting caught in the traps that you mention in your post.

Thank you for being a watchdog on g+ so early on, by the way. Hopefully the new network will continue to surprise us in a positive manner, as it's done so far for me.

Personally, I'm far more at home here than I've ever been on any network seeking out and actually speaking to people I would ordinarily try not to bother at all on other networks. The people I have on Facebook are people I overwhelmingly knew before I got on it. The people I'm following on g+ to this point are almost completely comprised of people I'd never interacted with, barely heard of, or worshipped from a distance (read: +Madonna . , +Alanis Morissette ) ...

I love it here.
What +Philip Daly said + it's a mixture of content, great work but with who you know...a real winner. 
Although I didn't read every comment (I've came in quite late, so it's just too difficult), I feel the best comment I've read was the one +Lucas Johnson posted. I agree with much of what he said. +David Moore did bring up a significant point, however: where would the new users start when they join Google+? I find the website is a much better representation of how Google should organize the lists of people to follow. Nothing can be perfect, though.
I'm guessing Real Names will also be an important element of the new and future search algorithm +Robert Scoble, with regards to both spam reduction and ranking. And later for e-commerce related functions, network data analysis etc.
The Google+ environment offers tremendous promise to enable valuable content to rise to the top:
"Conversations subvert hierarchy. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. Being a human being among others subverts hierarchy." - The Cluetrain Manifesto
For Google there's clearly an amazing opportunity to best measure the value of content and prioritize it in search results, based on what its diverse community values.

While touted as at least partially auto-generated, it was clear that Google's Suggested User list most likely had many hand-picked members as well. Even if the criteria were hand-picked (prominent Twitter users, etc), that skews the results, and unless that bias is corrected (the list is changed frequently) the error grows in magnitude over time.

Now that we have weeks of data before and after the release of the G+ list, I've taken a detailed look at two similar populations of 10 G+ users before and after the list. After receiving something like 40 million free marketing impressions each (actually explicit Google recommendation and facilitated circle addition, which is far more valuable than a simple ad impression) the list-promoted users have enjoyed roughly 3X the circle growth since. Both groups had an average of about 5875 followers each before the list, but now one is at an average of 20,225 circle contacts vs. 63,237 circle contacts for the list-promoted G+ users.

The ten on the Google list had 1280 to 7500 contacts two weeks before the list, 54,500 to 79,000 contacts after the list. The ten off the Google list had 1650 to 13,300 contacts before the list, now have only 6700 to 32,100 contacts. It's interesting to note that the G+ users left off the list had noticeably higher circle growth every week before the Google list, implying more community support and endorsement prior to the list, yet the people artificially promoted over the community's choices since then have blown past them several times over. Google appears to be working directly against the community's choices.

A husband and wife team similar with 7000 contacts before the list have diverged to 70,000 vs. 25,000 circle contacts on vs. off the list.

Two users on and off list with roughly 600 followers before the list have diverged to 65,000 vs. 10,000 circle contacts on vs. off the list.

G+ users have now been divided into two clear castes. Do your own quick check: go to any list of recommended photographers on, and you'll find that the users with 60,000-300,000 circle contacts are on (or were on for weeks) the Suggested User list. All other photographers on G+ are in the 0 - 40,000 circle contact range, out of tens of millions of users, including thousands of photographers. I couldn't find any exceptions. Even finding one or two wouldn't invalidate my point: the environment has become as severely divided and cliqueish as ever. To what end? Promoting separate classes of users severely weakens and works against the health and growth of Google+, which surely does not serve Google's interests.

Any selection of users from anywhere other than the community undermines the premise of community-based prioritization. Google can't hand-select people to promote in various industries (which they fundamentally can't know enough about) better than the community can select them.

Most damaging in the long run, as the results of +1 ratings are worked into Google search results, any hand-meddling in the makeup and success of individual members also skews G+ community selections, threatening to undermine the validity of any G+ contribution to Google search results (the damage done already will remain as a potentially serious bias in future results unless Google zeroed out everyone's circle contacts, which they won't do). Google risks tainting the data behind its main revenue stream. The stakes are large, resulting from even tiny errors.

One example of this butterfly effect: in the category of photography, extreme post-processing such as the HDR technique figures prominently among posts shared by Suggested Users. While catchy, HDR is a highly controversial technique, and will severely turn off many people joining G+ and seeing Google essentially advocating that quirky bias. In my photography I try to straddle the fence and use HDR some of the time (and I try to inform HDR users how to improve their photography skills and to gain more control over an often difficult technique). I'm not going to weigh in on any side of that controversial divide, but the point is that if Google exercised any hand-selection on the photography list at all, they could severely and negatively impact the validity of any search results. I suspect each category has its similar inherent land mines; any list must be wholly community-generated, and those criteria must be very carefully selected.

“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies”.
all other accounts are closed except g+ .was bothered by way to many lonley people on other social engines.g+lets me decide to whom i may reply .that's the way i like it>
Finding this post again 1.5 years later... Still legit.

Which is another reason Google+ is teh awesome. Seriously. Good luck coming across an old post on Facebook or Twitter.
+Robert Scoble   After 3.5 years, Google's favoritism remains one of the main complaints about G+ that I hear from my photo workshop customers (I can't politely repeat their actual language).  

It's no longer directly tied to the publicly-viewable list of course, that was obviously changed in mid-2012 to be more of a behind-the-scenes setting, via What's Hot and similar post distribution priorities.  Although the list originally caused huge jumps in post popularity for the people who were on it, when it was changed in 2012, people taken off of the list experienced no effect whatsoever on post popularity at all.

Since G+ posts appear in Google Search, that means that any bias introduced by G+ which cause G+ to deviate from an honest, open, fair system, directly contradicts Larry Page's stated objective of having Google Search be the Internet search choice with integrity:
”Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a ‘Sponsored Link,’ so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust our objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.”

" short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.”

Is G+ really deriving great benefit out of selectively promoting the content of certain people?  No, on the contrary, I can name people deleting most of their G+ posts 3+ years later mainly due to this issue.

Perhaps much more important, is the benefit to G+ of biasing the network really worth the resulting damage to the integrity of Google Search?