I’ve been using Google+ for a couple of weeks now and it’s starting to grow on me.
What I like about it lets you group the people you want to share with or follow into circles and, unlike Facebook, you don’t necessarily have to agree to friend someone to share with them or even see what they’re posting.
If there is someone you want to read or share with, you add them to one or more circles. Circles can be anything you want to calk them: friends, classmates, churchmates or even “jerks that I need to keep an eye on.” The person in the circle knows that they are in one or more of your circles but not which ones. I have some people in multiple circles like a friend of mine who is in my friends circle, my colleagues circle and my journalists circle.
Some of the people who have me in their circles are also in mine, but not all of them. That’s kind of nice. If someone wants to share with me, they add me to a circle but that doesn’t mean that I have to share with them or even see what they post. I can, if I want, limit what I post to specific circles, specific people, extended circles (which are my circles plus the circles of people in my circles) or I can post to the public. The same is true with what I look at. I can, for example, decide only to look at posts from family members or I can look at posts from people in multiple circles or posts from anyone on Google+ who posts to the public, even if I don’t know them.
Most of what I post is for the public because I like using Google+ to reach a wide variety of people but sometimes I just post to specific circles. For example, I do a daily radio segment for CBS News and I wanted to get a quote from a journalist or a industry professional who uses Google+. So, I posted a note on Google+ asking for comments but only directed it to my colleagues and journalist circles. Minutes later, I heard from Dan Gillmor who’s interview you can hear below.
Whether or not you can join Google+ is a bit of a crap shoot. Last time I checked the public could sign up but they keep changing that as a way of controlling the number of people in the service during these early testing days.