Google+ shared circles allow people to send copies of their circles to other users. Shared circles have their uses but, like anything else online, you need to be careful with them because adding random shared circles can seriously compromise your Google+ experience.
Shared circles are not as important now as they were in the early days of Google+ before communities existed. At that time, shared circles were really the only practical way of establishing the equivalent of a community of people who could all communicate with each other. Now it is easier for people to simply join communities than to have to constantly pass around updated shared circles so everyone has the current list.
The good side of shared circles
A quality shared circle provides you an easy way to establish contact with new and interesting people on Google+. With only a few clicks, you can add them to your circles and liven up your Home stream with interesting material from the new people. Similarly, you help others find interesting people quickly by sharing your circles with people having similar interests.
The dark side of shared circles
The content of both your Home stream and What's hot is heavily influenced by the people you have circled. Adding random shared circles can therefore turn both into pure junk streams. Most of the posts you see in your Home stream are from people you have circled. Additional posts are included which were +1ed by people in your circles and (depending on your settings) from What's Hot. Google has not shared the details of how the content of What's hot is customized for each person, however there is overwhelming evidence that one of the major factors is the people in your circles. People who manage their circles carefully report that their What's hot contains very meaningful and interesting posts whereas people who have added many random people -- or many random shared circles -- generally report the opposite. The most compelling evidence of a link between circles and What's hot, however, is that people who have cleaned up their circles report an immediate improvement in What's hot.
Depending on your settings, adding random shared circles might also allow the circle members to create Google+ notifications for you or to start Hangouts with you. It might also give them access to personal information you intended to be shared with only a limited audience.
How to recognize good and bad shared circles
I recommend adding shared circles only if at least one of the following is true:
-- You already know the people in the circle and know you want to see their material in your Home stream.
-- You know who built the circle and how it was built. For example, circles shared by Google of people they have identified as Top Contributors, or circles created as a group project where people are nominated to be included for reasons which would make you want to see see their posts would fit this condition.
The surest sign that a shared circle is questionable is if it offers the option to be included in future generations of the circle if you add, +1, and comment on the current generation of the circle. That allows undesirable people to join very easily -- so those circles frequently include spammers and other people who you would not otherwise consider adding to your circles. On the other hand, people who are truly the top Google+ users in terms of providing high quality content virtually never join such circles (although they might be added by the creator of a shared circle to give the impression the circle was endorsed by those people). I strongly recommend not participating in any such shared circles.
What to do when you receive a shared circle
Unless you trust a shared circle for one of the reasons given above, you should always treat a shared circle with suspicion. I personally never add shared circles that allow people to join in the manner described above. For other shared circles, I recommend checking the profiles of the people in the circles to see if they share the kinds of posts you want to see in your Home stream. In practice, this means I never add large shared circles because checking hundreds of profiles takes too much time.
To check the membership of a shared circle, push the button to add the circle. Doing that displays the member list so you can make a good decision before the people are actually added. You can view the profiles of people in the shared circle and remove people you do want (by clicking the "X" that will appear in the upper right hand corner of their card when you move the cursor over the card). If you want to add the people, you can enter either the name of a new or existing circle in the field at the top. Then push the button to either create the circle or add the people to an existing circle. (Note that using an existing circle adds the people to that circle. It does not replace your current circle.)
It is a good practice to add a shared circle as as a new circle initially because it gives you an easy way to reverse the the process. You can then simply delete the circle if you change your mind. If you added the people to existing circles, however, you would have to crawl through whichever circle you added the people to and remove them individually.
Google Policy Considerations
Both Google+ profiles and pages are limited to a total of 5000 people and pages in their circles. Adding large circles can obviously lead you to reach that limit very quickly and leave you with a major cleanup job before you can add people you really want in your circles.
Rule #7 of the Google+ User Content and Conduct Policy (http://www.google.com/+/policy/content.html) says "Do not aggressively add people to your circles." Adding large shared circles frequently can lead to your account being flagged for violating that rule. If that were to happen, the number of people you could add to your circles per day could be very seriously limited.
Strouse for Congress
Bucks County Courier Times
Ryan budget vs. American Dream
By Kevin Strouse, Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Imagine you are a business owner facing tough times. Sales have slowed because your machinery is aging and breaking down and your hard-working employees are not trained to handle the latest technology. Your competitors are creeping up on you.
To stay competitive, you can A) invest in your machinery and train your workforce to generate more revenue, or B) try to turn profits by cutting costs, laying off your workforce and letting your old machines deteriorate. Which would you choose?
I think most of you would choose option A. So would I, because I believe you can only stay competitive if you upgrade your infrastructure and ensure you have the best-trained workers.
Congressman Paul Ryan, however, wants to foist Option B on our country, as evidenced by his budget plan. The Ryan plan makes savage cuts to our infrastructure, education, and health care. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick apparently agrees with Option B too, because he has already voted for similar Ryan budgets three times.
The Ryan plan seeks to balance the budget by kicking the legs out from the stool the working class uses to climb the economic ladder.
Under a section titled, ironically, “Expand Opportunity,” Ryan cuts $130 billion from Pell Grants, which help low-income students pay for college.
Similarly, Ryan goes about “Strengthening the Safety Net” by cutting $125 billion from food stamps and $1.5 trillion over ten years from Medicaid. This puts health coverage at risk for 67 million people in 2012, including 31 million children, 4.6 million seniors, and 8.8 million people with disabilities.
Finally, the budget dismantles Medicare by forcing everyone 55 and younger to use a voucher system.
These “cost-saving measures” deny our low-income students an education, potentially send our most vulnerable children to bed hungry, and put retirement at risk for Baby Boomers.
I refuse to accept that the only way to grow is to do it on the backs of the poor and the middle class. Instead, we should build up that three-legged stool to empower the hard-working middle class to grow our economy from the bottom up.
We need our government to set the conditions for a prosperous economy that benefits everybody. Our economy has sputtered since recovering from the Great Recession because too few Americans can buy more of what American companies make and do.
Too many Americans are out of work, and the vast majority of Americans have not seen their wages rise since 2008 in real terms, so they are not able to spend money in businesses that grow the economy. This has led to slow job creation. The Ryan budget will aggravate the low growth, low job-creation cycle. Instead, our government needs to make targeted investments in infrastructure and education while eliminating ineffective and inefficient regulations that hamper starting and growing businesses.
First, infrastructure projects -- especially in Pennsylvania, where 1 in 4 bridges are structurally deficient -- create jobs immediately in communities where many formerly middle-class people struggle to find work and have recently lost their last life-line -- unemployment insurance. Investments in our roads, bridges, electrical grid, and telecommunications improve the business environment. Plus all of us would like to drive our kids to school without damaging our rims on dozens of potholes.
Second, investing in education -- our children -- is the only way our country will be able to compete in a 21st century knowledge economy. A recent study by Oxford University predicts that 47 percent of current jobs will be automated in the next twenty years. The U.S. can only remain the most dynamic economy in the world by having the best-trained, best-educated workforce. This starts with preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, where studies show we can have the biggest impact and best prepare them for their academic careers.
Third, eliminating red tape and duplicate regulations will help spur private sector investment and job creation. Many economists view start-ups as responsible for the bulk of net job growth in America, and we need to make it easier to start businesses and grow them.
I believe in America’s promise that if you work hard you can have an equal chance to succeed, get a quality education, find a job, and raise a family. Americans, the people of this state and this district, are willing to invest in the country. We need to make sure this country is willing to invest in them.
- Cosmetology, 1982 - present
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