My Major G+ Circles Makeover: Alrighty then! I've changed up my circles strategy: I just unhid who I have in circles (now over 1,000 and climbing), and consolidated over 35 circles into 5 circles.

Before, I was trying to use circles as some kind of address book tagging feature (and uber tight industry content curating). Meh. Not effective - I know how to reach all my true business and personal contacts. And, it's just easier to have fewer circles.

Plus, I was focusing primarily on my main stream, so I had to constantly keep a close eye on what to prune in order that the aggregate of all my circles didn't get too "noisy." Meh. Too much work. Far easier to focus on a few circles containing peeps I want to read and with whom I want to engage.

Similar to a post Tom Anderson shared earlier, I'm not really using G+, so far, for any kind of private conversations. I haven't been using my circles to select specific people with whom to share specific content as I found it tricky to manage what had been shared with whom when reading my own posts. (Besides, I just feel it's kind of presumptuous of me to say, "Here, I thought you and you and you would find this subject interesting." Rather, I'd just assume put the onus on others as to what they would like to read/subscribe to... hopefully that type of featuring is coming).

I appreciate, being the raging extravert that I am, I have a very open policy and am happy to share everything publicly. But others may have a different approach and use the circles the way they were designed to be used: to segment your friends/contacts and share/discuss different content with each segment.

In any case, after putting my circles on a diet, here are my new slimmed down, manageable ones:

1. Top Content = folks I find interesting, whose content I want to read, share on G+, share on Twitter, share on Facebook, bookmark, etc. Some are big players, some are up and coming. The industries and businesses are wide and varied, but with an emphasis on tech, social media, and business leadership. As I monitor this circle, I may move some to #2. ;)
2. Following = everyone else, some of which may qualify for circle #1 over time once I get a feel for what they share. I'll check this periodically and move peeps accordingly; otherwise they stay here. My goal is discovery - finding new interesting peeps to share with others.
3. My Golden Rolodex = top contacts I know personally so I can see them all at a glance.
4. My mastermind buddies.
5. My students and clients.

(I do have a #6 and it's an empty circle called My Bookmarks -- at least, until G+ comes up with an effective bookmarking/favorites feature).

So, on G+, I'm taking more of a Twitter strategy (at least my own Twitter strategy), of "following back." Yeah, we max out at 5000, same as Facebook profiles. (Though, I've seen a few G+ profiles sail past the 5k limit. Hm).

I'll see how this works out. On Twitter, I currently follow back over 113,000 peeps and only just glance at my main timeline now and then. I mostly focus on my @ mentions and DM's. That's it.

My overarching goal with all social networks is three-fold: 1) to connect with - and learn from - great people, 2) to share my own expertise, and 3) as a source of valuable content that I can curate/cherry pick and share with my various networks.

How about you? What's your circle strategy on G+ so far? How's it working for you?! ;) And what are your overarching goals with social networking?
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