Last Thursday, I began an exploration of G+, prompted by a question posted there by a fellow blogger. Having spoken about the profile, posts and collections let us now move on to circles. NB: this is going to look a bit muddled just being all in print; I advise you to open your G+ page in another tab and shift back and forth as you read so that you can touch and act at time of reading - this should make it easier. ("Should", I said…)
CIRCLES are really handy. They arise from the list of those you have 'followed' on G+. Let me discuss following at this point, as this and circles are integrated. Most of you will have had a notification come through about somebody or other having followed you. You may know straight away who that is, so fine, go follow if you wish (or it may be someone you followed earlier, opting to include you in their circles). If you don't know them, it is not advisable, neither is it compulsory, to automatically return the favour! Always click through to their profile and check them out. See who else they have as followers, have you seen them out about in the etherplaces you have been (such as commenting on favourite blogs), do you like the sorts of places they are collecting in their following? This is not to say that they are going to be 'naughties' (though I have had a few of those!), they may simply not necessarily be on the same wavelength as you. Most of us now have developed a reasonable instinct as to whether we want to linger on a page. Trust that gut feeling. If you think it might be worth checking in with them every so often, but don't want a regular connection, this is where setting up a circle called, say, 'Acquaintances' is useful. You can still follow, then place that profile into the circle. This way, their post stream will only be seen if you choose to view 'all circles' on the Home tab, or the Acquaintances circle specifically. You can choose to view single circles posts via the People tab.
PEOPLE is the tab which was called circles before the upgrade at the end of last year. It is slightly more friendly! In that tab you will see at top 'find people'/'following'/'followers'. Click following, if it is not already defaulted. All the thumbnails of the people you have chosen to follow will be there...if they have not been moved into a specific circle. You can place any person in more than one circle. Say you have a pal who is in your 'Blogpals' circle whom you also know personally from your other group, 'The Wooferists', then tag them for both circles. The only tricky bit about that is, if you post something which you wish both Blogpals and Wooferists to view privately (selecting those circles just prior to posting), that person who is tagged twice will receive double notification. So use double tag sparingly!
To read the posts of the 'following' group, click the three dots at top right of the section. Select 'posts from circle' - et voila! You can see what folk have posted directly in G+; I have a few photographer pals who post separately to G+ from their regular blogs. What if you want to check if family have posted anything? You will find the listing of your circles at the bottom of the People page, beneath whichever thumbnails are up at the moment. Click on the title of the circle and it will drop down with all the names in there. You will again see the three dots to the right of the bar and can select to see posts from that circle. Once you get the hang of this navigation, it becomes quite instinctual.
Managing the circles… note the title of the circle is at the bottom of the thumbnails in 'following' section, or to the right of each name in the drop-down of each circle. Clicking on that will pop-out an action sheet. BE CAREFUL, particularly in the case of uncategorised people. If you unclick 'follow' before assigning a new circle first, you will be 'unfollowing'! If you want Earik in the Wooferists, tick that box before unclicking Follow.
In the 'followers' section of the People tab, you can check through to see who is following you, but whom you have not followed in return. You can review your decision in this way.
In the 'find people' section, suggestions will be put forward of folk you might like to add to your circles. Note this… those which have the blue silhouette in all probability are not active. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE, ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT MOVED OVER TO USE OF G+ PROFILE FOR BLOGGER, THAT YOU ANYWAY HAVE A G+ PAGE OPEN… Google had to do this as part of their big security upgrade last year and moving the bloggies over to the https:// protocol; it's there for you to use.
A couple of additional tips;
- if you don't have an email contact for someone but you have them in your following list, you can click on the blue byline beside your mugshot in the post creator and scroll down to people, then select that person as the sole recipient of the post, turning it into a personal message … of course you need to be sure that they regularly check for incoming posts! This is where you opt for circles over Public posting also.
- if you receive a comment you feel unhappy about on G+, you can click the three dots to right of that comment and report it. Google will assess the comment and if they agree it is inappropriate, will remove it. Equally, you can block and/or report another's profile by selecting them from the circle they are in to go to their profile page. On the banner beside 'about', there are those ubiquitous three dots, which will reveal the relevant actions when clicked. This is only to be done if you feel there is genuine threat or nuisance, not just because you don't like them. It's a grown up world, folks.
Okay; is that enough to set you exploring and engaging more readily with G+? Clicking that 'help' button on the sidebar can be jolly useful too. Have fun!