Look at Noise as an Opportunity on Google+

On Google+ a lot of people are talking about “noise” control or that they are getting too many posts or “stuff” in their feeds, since the shared circles have come out and Google+ was opened up to everyone.  Why are so many complaining about the noise, when we should be viewing this opening up of Google+ as an opportunity to go beyond your normal comfort zone of people that you usually associate with?

It sounds a lot like early invitees were starting to get comfortable with their circles and what they expected to see in their streams and these new changes have disrupted this comfort level that many of them had.  Is there some unnecessary noise of course, especially as new users attempt to navigate their way around in Google+ and we use the share Circles function to discover people to follow that we didn’t know about.

Yes there will be what is being called “noise”, but is it all bad?

Remember you pretty much control who and what you see on Google+ and can quickly get rid of those that you no longer wish to follow or follow you – unless you like the numbers, to message your ego or enable you to get your posts or pictures out to more people. Numbers are a completely different issue, but having too many followers or following too many does contribute to potential “noise”.

You do not have to follow back

Just because you follow me, does not mean that I will automatically follow you and I do not expect you to automatically follow me if I follow you.  That just is not reality and no I don’t take it personally if you do not follow me back.

I believe that without the flexibility to add and delete people from our Circles as WE want to and not feel the need to keep or artificial karma (follow-back) those in our Circles who we no longer want there, our streams become bloated and the quality of the conversations we actually want to be involved with are reduced considerably.

It is our choice who we follow – no one else.  Over the course of the next few months I imagine that I will be cleaning out the number of people I follow considerably.
It is a privilege to meet new people

The initial onslaught of new people in Circles, (especially shared Circles), is still going on, and is going to happen for at least the next 3-6 months, where I have the opportunity and privilege of electronically meeting many more people than I would have otherwise in other social media platforms.

Yes I do consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.  Which means that I have the opportunity to tune-out those I no longer wish to learn more about or from.

Cut through the wheat or the chaff

At present there is no easy way when you bulk add a Circle, to go through and cut the chaff from the wheat, you will have to pick out the chaff manually as you find them.  How many of those you thought originally were going to be chaff, when you took a good look at what they were actually doing, you found or will find that they have a lot of reasons to keep them after all. That to me is part of the excitement of starting over in a new social media environment, finding those hidden gems that you wouldn’t have in your feed otherwise.

Yes you have a weeding out process that you have to go through, which can be a pain in the butt, especially for hundreds of new followers or people you are following and it just feels more compressed now than it will in a few months or on other more mature social media platforms.

My rules for following

I commented on a post by +Tim Kerr about before I wrote this post and basically said that I am going to use some of the same rules for following people on Google+ that I have for Twitter which are:

1.  Look at their profile
2.  Look at their most recent posts/pictures to see if their perspectives are something that I want to read or view on an ongoing basis.
3.  Is the topic they write about – primarily, one that I am interested in?
4.  Am I following this person on Twitter?  Have I seen their name/handle on social media sites before or participated in #chats with them.  Do I have any personal knowledge about this person?
5.  How long have they been on the social media site?
6.  Are they using a pseudonym?  My requirements for following a pseudonym are tougher than for someone who uses their “real” name, my rules my preference.  Do they say why they are using the pseudonym?
7.  If I haven’t made my mind up by this time and the person continues to intrigue me I put them in a Temporary Circle where I put people I am not sure about, before I put them into one of my regular circles.  In fact I have a feeling that I will start putting any shared circle into my Temporary Circle

Then I include all of my posts to the temp circle and see who comments back or +1 my posts.  This is a good way to see who is interested in conversations with you from that circle.

Actually this decision process only takes a couple of minutes, but if you have hundreds of people to make determinations about it will take time.

The reality is that

over the course of the next few months I foresee a lot of fluidity in those who I follow or delete from my Circles.  It is my choice on who and why I follow anyone on any social media platform.  I also expect the same from those who follow me and expect my number of those who follow me will go up and down for quite a while, at least until Google+ matures and people decide what they want from Google+ and what communities they will participate in.

That is the beauty of the Google+ platform you are in charge of what you see or read or share with others.  This ability will become even more important as Google opens up to businesses and those with pseudonyms and spam becomes more of a problem – which it will.  That being said, I am enjoying being taken out of my comfort zone by all the “noise” in my stream, I am being introduced to people that I never would have found or followed in the past, because I didn’t know they existed.

Take a moment and think of what many are seeing as “noise” instead as an opportunity and maybe your perspective about the “noise” will change.  Just take a minute to see the many opportunities being given to meet new and interesting people, instead of it just being more “noise”. It is up to you on Google+.