Google+ Circles: Interest, not privacy

Sometimes you say something and don’t exactly realize what you’ve said until someone repeats it back to you. Not in all cases is this a bad thing but it happened to me yesterday. Yesterday I did an online presentation about Google+, the recording of which should be available later today. At some point during that presentation I said something about how I view circles. Here’s what I found in twitter after the presentation:


Wait, did I really say that? Is that what I meant? I though about it and I decided that I really did mean what I said, I just hadn’t planned on saying it. It just came out. Let me explain.

I’ve got a few hundred people I follow in Google+. I’ve organized them into circles such as “Librarian Peeps”, “Work”, “Family”, “Friends”, “Whovians”, and “Horror Lovers”. I use these circles to decide with whom to share whatever I’m posting. For example, not everyone is a fan of Doctor Who, so I just share Doctor Who news with my “Whovians” circle. Horror novels and films go to “Horror Lovers”. In this context I was also showing the ability to disable re-sharing of posts. (Which I can’t say I ever actually used.") However, I cautioned that even if you disable resharing someone could take a screenshot or use copy/paste to reshare whatever I’d posted. In other words, if you really want it private, don’t put it online. As a result of this I’d realized that I don’t view circles as a privacy issue but as a share-only-with-those-that-might-be-interested issue.

Is this the right way to think about circles? Is it not? What are your thoughts?

2 Replies to “Google+ Circles: Interest, not privacy”

  1. Ya know, Michael, that’s how i view them too… just a better way to filter info and let those who need to know know. For example, a close friend of mine’s dad has been in the hospital as of late. Her post to facebook have been very limited, but on google+, she’s able to share with her very close friends in a more in depth manner. I also find myself commenting more on my close friends messages because they really mean something as opposed to those on facebook.

    Saddly, google+ doesn’t seem to be taking off enough for my main social circle and i continue to return to facebook for those stupid addicting games!

  2. Hope I didn’t misquote you, Michael! Honestly, I thought it was a very refreshing perspective on the whole philosophy of circles and that you segued nicely into discussing the rationale behind (and politeness of) selective sharing. It also gave you a good opportunity to reiterate that there is no true privacy in the world of social networking and that it’s just safer to not put anything online that you wouldn’t want leaking out to the entire world. (Something we just can’t say often enough.)

    However, all that was a little long for a tweet, so I just tried to paraphrase your gist. 😉

    Thanks again for the webinar! Very helpful and informative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *