M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-02 14:56:06
If I could make a circle with just myself, then I could use Google+ like Evernote to make notes on links I find interesting...notes which I haven't thought through enough to share with anyone.
  • 0 plusses - 2 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-03 00:08:15
    Nicely demonstrated. I'm as interested in his approach to teaching as his approach to drawing.
  • 1 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-03 17:58:00
    Maybe the Google+ defaults have started us off thinking about circles in an overly limited way. Rather than indicating the uchi/soto of social intimacy, maybe circles could be more content-oriented, more topical. For example, it doesn't matter how close I am to my family; I share few political or religious links with them. Ditto work associates. My gardening friends aren't interested in links about learning Japanese. Nor is there much overlap between the stuff I share with my techie friends and the stuff I share with friends who are writing novels.

    When I'm thinking about what I want to share with you, the answer isn't how well do I know you, it's what do I think will interest you.

    My view of circles isn't concentric rings with the people in the inner ring receiving the most information. It's isolated circles of interest; the more circles I include you in, the more varied the types of information you get from me.
  • 2 plusses - 4 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-04 15:38:27
    Asides So G+ does provide the ability for me to start a new thread if I want go off-topic in a comment, or reply privately to the originator, or include a different circle in the conversation. If I select the Share feature instead of the Comment feature, I can delete the original circle and comment directly back to the poster--or anyone I choose.

    It's not really a new thread because it's no longer attached to the original conversation. The umbilical cord is cut and the new conversation takes on a life of its own. I like this!

    On the con side, using Share looks a bit awkward because my comment on what you wrote is no longer a reply. I'm starting a new conversation referencing your conversation. I'd still like the ability to do an inline reply to a smaller subset of the original circle--like just back to the original poster.
  • 1 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-05 17:37:21
    G+ How To How can the initiator change the sharing permissions of a conversation after sharing. For example, I shared something with a small group of people but then decided it had a larger relevance. Or vice versa? For example, I realize that not everyone in my company needs to know about a change in the team meeting time, only my project team. Or I reorganized my circles and now want the conversation to be seen by the new set of people not the old one.

    Is it possible...not by reposting it with the Share command but by editing the original permissions?
  • 1 plusses - 4 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-06 11:25:10
    For those people struggling to manage circles, I suggest just two: Signal, Noise.
  • 3 plusses - 4 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-06 17:33:33
    G+ Features Wish List I'd like to be able to sort the conversations I initiated by circle. That is, I'd like to be able to scan through what I shared with a specific group of people--either to reference something I said earlier or to make sure I'm not repeating myself or have left something out.

    I know I can see my sent posts on my Profile page. And I know it shows which ones are limited and which are public. But the display is chronological across all circles rather than grouped by the set of posts related to a specific circle. I guess I'm saying I'd like the same setup that the incoming stream has in the left sidebar for the Home page for the outgoing stream on the Profile page.

    2011-07-08. Feedback Submitted
  • 1 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-07 12:39:28
    G+ How To: Setting Limits
    How do I share inappropriate jokes with some people in my Work circle and not others?

    Possible Strategies
    1. When sharing, add people by name, not by circle.
    2. Create a Humor circle and stop polluting your Public stream.
    3. Don't. When you used to spam our email boxes with this crap, it annoyed us then, too.
  • 4 plusses - 17 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-07 13:11:39
    Thinking about spammers...

    When the hordes arrive, the comments on Public posts have the potential to deteriorate into YouTube-type abuse. Will that be the end of engaging conversation on G+? It happened on Wave. However, I still want the ability to post things publicly (like blogging or Tweeting) and I don't want to shut comments off completely.

    What if we get a third option?: share Publicly but limit comments on a post to people in our circles. I wouldn't do this every time because I rely on comments from people I don't know to meet interesting people. But I don't want to spend my life moderating comments either.
  • 6 plusses - 6 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-07 13:43:24
    Streams Don't Have to be Timelines
    One of the things I love about G+ is the ability to edit my posts and my comments. This allows me to create a single post that I can add to over a period time. Instead of sprinkling individual (but related) thoughts across different posts that drift off the edge of the timeline, I can create a single, more static post where all the random thoughts on a given topic accumulate over time.

    The listmaker in me is intrigued by the possibility.
  • 7 plusses - 4 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-07 14:38:27
    I find it fascinating that the company who sold us on the idea of search and gmail to replace our many mailboxes has built a new product around the idea of categorizing content (circles).

    I love categories and G+. But can the post-search generation handle them or is G+ simply evidence that they've discovered they grew up missing something wonderful?
  • 1 plusses - 3 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-08 15:02:10
    #googleplustips
    G+ Tips: Bookmarks, Notes, and Drafts: No Circle Required
    If you want to save content for your-eyes-only, it's not necessary to create an empty circle (like Bookmarks).

    Just Share it with your G+ name. This works with your own content and links, and links to other's posts.

    Cons: These posts to yourself will appear unsorted in main stream and on your profile page (limited to your view only). If you use this strategy so much that you want to be able to sort the posts and read them together, use the Bookmarks circle strategy instead.

    2011-07-16. Update. This became such a big con for me, that I've stopped using this method. Instead I create me-only circles for Bookmarks, Drafts, and Feedback Submitted. But, I'm leaving this tip here so that people know that they have options.

    If you want to bookmark someone's post but the Share option is off, copy the permalink (in the timestamp) and create a post with the link in it. This is a good moment to tag the conversation, too, to make it easier to sort through posts later and remind yourself why you saved it.
  • 2 plusses - 7 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-09 05:52:27
    Google+ Known Issues
    Is it a bug or a feature? Find out. Link to the the Known Issues page.
  • 2 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-09 12:02:04
    Update: Based on the feedback I got in the comments, this may be a moot point. I now realize that the person was looking for an equivalent of Twitter's public timeline.

    G+: Conceptual Model--G+ vs Twitter
    I saw someone remark in a comment that, unlike Twitter, Google+ doesn't have a public stream; that is, a place where you can see what everyone using G+ is saying.

    Actually G+ is exactly like Twitter in this regard. On Twitter, people's tweets only appear in your Tweetstream if you follow them. On G+, people's conversations only appear in your default stream, if you add them to a circle.

    Three things might make G+ feel different to you than Twitter:
    1. No trending topics.
    There is no hashtags/trending topics equivalent (yet)--so you can't use that strategy for finding new people. _Remember. You are a beta tester. If you have a need, let the G+ team know via the "Send feedback" button on the lower right. _

    You can check the "Known Issues" page to see if they already know about it.
    http://www.google.com/support/profiles/bin/static.py?page=known_issues.cs

    2. Not everything is public.
    On a conversation-by-conversation basis, people can choose to share publicly or privately (only with their circles). So if you got suckered into following +Mark Zuckerberg just because everyone else is following him, you are going to be disappointed. Mark uses G+ like FB. He only shares with people he's "friended"--not just anyone who follows him.

    The great thing about G+ is that you can use either the public model (Twitter, share everything) or the private model (FB, share only with people you've selected to share with) and you don't have to make the choice up front. You make the choice who the appropriate audience is every time you share something.

    3. Not everyone is here yet.
    If you're looking for celebs to follow, go to your Circles tab and type their name into the Find People box. Ashton Kutcher. Felicia Day. Alyssa Milano. Lance Armstrong. (_Issue. G+ doesn't have verified accounts, yet. +Alyssa Milano had to tweet from her Verified Account their that this was the real her at G+. _)

    Another way to find people is go to your Circles page and click on "Find and invite". The people shown here are based on the people you've already added to your circles. So as you add more people, check back for more suggestions.

    #protips
  • 2 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-09 12:13:31
    #googleplustips #share
    G+ Tips: Disable Reshare
    If you don't want someone that you've shared a post with to share with his friends outside the circle, disable reshare.

    How To: After you publish the post, go to the little circle in the upper-righthand corner and select Disable reshare.

    You'll notice that the Share link at the bottom of the post disappears. And no one in the circle can add someone outside the circle to the conversation with a +[name] .

    2011-07-17. Updated to explain that Google+ has provided a tool for you to keep people from accidentally blabbing to someone not in the circle.
  • 1 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-09 16:06:19
    "What has fascinated me about G+ is the way that deeply engaged conversations evolve naturally around shared interests, giving me the opportunity to engage with people I know well but that also include people I have never met." -- +Dave Gray
  • 4 plusses - 9 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-09 20:03:45
    RESHARE:
    The linked article explains how Google+ is far more than just a FB substitute: you can use it instead of emailing, blogging, tweeting and...

    Reshared text:
    Really good article about Google +
  • 2 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-09 20:17:09
    G+ Tips: Saying No to Google+ Recommendations
    When adding people through the Find people tab of the Circles page, are you tired of +Mark Zuckerberg popping up in your list of recommendations?

    You can say "Not Interested" by clicking on the X in the upper right-hand corner of his name card. This wasn't obvious to me at first because when I hovered over the X, my cursor wouldn't change from the "move hand" icon to the "point and select hand" icon. It took a bit of fiddling before it changed and I could click on the X.

    But it works. Thanks to Googler +Joseph Smarr for the tip.

    #googleplustips #findpeople
  • 3 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-09 23:59:43
    People's first impressions of a new product are often blinded by their past experience. I get it. People first try to understand new things by bridging to what they know. But let's not leave the blinders on. The best way to figure out how to leverage the capabilities of a new tool is think about how it lets you do things you never could before--things you never even thought of trying before.

    You're Doing It Wrong. Or Not
    When I first started blogging a decade ago, people said "A blog's just an online diary. Boring." Over the years we've learned that a blog is no more limited to being an online diary than a typewriter is limited to pounding out book reports. Blogs are a tool for self-publication. People use them to aggregate links, to publish as a group, to publish create photo journals, for fiction, for journalism, as online magazines, as a way to interact with customers...

    When I first started tweeting people asked me, "Who wants to read 140 character status updates from strangers about their lunch? From haiku to Tweets of Old, from celebs to Samuel Pepys, from presidential town hall meetings to the ouster of a Weiner, to flash mobs and political revolutions--Twitter demonstrated that constraints can spark creativity.

    So, don't come to Google+ looking for a new model of your existing tools. Play around. Look at the features. Explore the differences. Imagine what you could do.
  • 9 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-10 12:20:28
    #googleplustips #circles
    Fluid Social Relationships and Evolving Circles
    I find circles to be a wonderfully intuitive way of mapping my relationships. The Google+ team understands how fluid our social relationships are. I might think someone interesting on first impression and think them less so over time. Relationships are more than either/or choices: friend or not, following or not. Sometimes, as we evaluate each other, we want to flag someone with a "maybe". Other times, we want to drift quietly away (not slam the door on our way out with an "Unfollow").

    Google+ doesn't impose any restrictions on circles (other than size) and so I can create circles to do a lot of things: target my posts to the most appropriate audience, filter incoming content, group people together by common interest or geography, have "Read Only" circles for people (like celebs) who I read but don't write to, create "My Eyes Only" circles as a Bookmark hack (until we can tag/star posts).

    Like a lot people, my initial thought was to build a complex set circles. (Visions of Venn diagrams, hierarchies, and nested circles dance in our heads here on G+.) But I quickly decided to let people the sort themselves out--especially because I was following a lot of people based on their comments left elsewhere or G+'s suggestions.

    Strategy for Sorting on the Fly
    I read incoming posts strictly by circle. I use the Mute button to mark a post "Read" if I'm not interested in following further discussion in the comments--especially if it's someone like +Robert Scoble (or any celebrity) whose every post results in hundreds of one-line responses from fans. (Muting also unclutters the incoming stream, especially of funny photos that I need to see only once.)

    If I find myself muting a person in that circle a lot, I take it as a clue that I've put them in the wrong category. So I move them. G+ makes this so easy. You don't have to go to your Circles page and move cards around physically. You can assign circles inline, on a post or a comment--right at the moment you've made a decision, without losing your place as you read. You can even create a circle if you decide the person doesn't fit into any or your existing categories.

    1. Hover over the name.
    2. When their name card pops up, you'll see the green box which shows what circle you've currently got them in.
    3. Hover over that and you get a list of circles. Assign them to a more appropriate circle. You can even create a new circle on the fly.
  • 7 plusses - 6 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-10 17:48:10
    RESHARE:
    Google+ Tips

    Reshared text:
    25 Google+ Tips to Enhance Your Google Plus Experience - "Here are some useful Google+ Tips shared by Matt Cutts and users who responded on his post at Google+. All these tips are handy and let you experience the actual power of Google+."
  • 4 plusses - 2 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-10 22:48:40
    #googleplustips
    Google+ Tips: Private Sharing with One or More People
    [2011-07-11. Edited to clarify terminology per comment below from John Moyle.]
    [2011-07-16. Correction. In this case you can see who sent it to you.]
    Sometimes you want to send someone a note -- like email or DM. You might also wish to make it clearer that you are writing just to them. Yeah. They can see the post is limited to some audience but they can't tell that it's directed to them. (You can see who else can see the post by clicking on the Limited link.)

    Strategy
    Rather than type out a salutation (Dear friend), use G+'s "add to conversation" feature as the salutation. For those familiar with Twitter or Facebook, this is the same as an "@ (at) mention" or "@ (at) reply".
    1. In the body of the post, type "@" or "+" and then begin typing the user's name. This brings up an auto-completing search list of users. (Sometimes you have to type slowly or you get ahead of Google search.)
    2. Select the user you want to address from the list.
    Their name is inserted into the body of the post with a box around it. The addressee is added automatically to the "Send to" box below the body of the post (meaning you don't have to add them in a separate step).
  • 4 plusses - 2 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-11 12:45:25
    G+ Conceptual Model: Share is Not Send
    Sharing content on Google+ is much more like blogging than email. When I share publicly, the entire Internet can see it. When I share to a circle, I've limited the people who can see it. But I've not guaranteed that anyone will see it. I've not pushed that content to them. The choice of reading it lies with the recipient.

    So Sharing with a group might feel to some people like sending an email with a Bcc, but it's not. I haven't sent the message to anyone. I've simply limited the audience who can view it. And, when someone in that audience shares the post with someone else, they've added that person to the conversation. This is why G+ warns you that you are sharing with someone who wasn't included in this conversation by the author.

    From the recipient's viewpoint this model is one of G+'s greatest strengths. It means no more email-type spam. If I follow someone on G+, it's like subscribing to their blog's RSS feed. I'll have access to everything they write publicly (more on this below). But I'm not forced to open my inbox, so to speak. I'm not required constantly to decide whether to read, delete, or mark each post as spam.

    Filtering Content
    The issue some of us are experiencing is that G+ doesn't have any content filters yet. When I subscribe to someone's feed, I see all their posts, Public and those limited to whatever circle the sender has put me in. This means that if I publish a Public post on "Conjugating Japanese Verbs" then my Fishing Buddies are going to see it.

    Among some of the people in my circle there has been cry to turn off Public posts to people who are in circles--to enable ways to publish to "everyone but X".

    I think this is the wrong solution and I think it breaks the G+ model which allows recipients control over what they read. (Would it be clearer if we called them subscribers?)

    If I subscribe to someone, I've made the choice to read their content. I don't want to give the control over what I read to them. Just because I limit certain posts to my Fishing Buddies shouldn't mean that they are prevented from reading my Public posts on G+ tips.

    More importantly, this approach does nothing to filter off-topic content in posts that aren't Public. I can still get "hot deals in Austin" posts from my coworkers, or "vote for X" posts from my family.

    Suggested Solution: View By Type
    I am looking forward to some kind of hashtag equivalent to help readers identify the content of a post (and maybe help writers focus the content of the post). But I don't think it's the solution to this problem. A tagging system can be used either for discovery (oh, here's someone I don't subscribe to talking about #Ozu) or as a filter (here's another lunch photo from my coworker).

    But for this problem, my suggestion is to have tools that provide control over what's displayed in my stream. Currently FB has this feature. FB displays everything in the stream but provides a drop down list where I can filter the stream by type: Status Updates, Photos, Links, etc. G+ could give us the same options and also add "Public". These Display options would be available for all streams.

    2011--08-12. Edited to add hack below.
    G+ Hack: Dimming Public Content
    This is just a suggested (-un-tested) hack for the situation that +John Blossom and others have with a family member who doesn't want to read all the professional posts that they publish publicly on Google+.
    1. Have your family member unfollow you. (G+ maps the social relationship you actually have. They really don't want to follow you. They just want to get an occasional messages from you.)
    2. When you create content that is read-only-by your Family circle, add the person to the conversation in the body of the post. "Dear [+Dad's Name]. Thought you might enjoy this photo of the kids."
    This will send your dad a notification and give him read permission on the content.

    2011-08-12. Edited after testing hack
    1. If you mention someone you who is not following you in the body of the post, they will get a notification that they've been mentioned.
    2. If you just add them to by name to the share list and they are not following you, they get notification that they shared a post with you. It will also be in their Incoming stream (but not their main stream.)
  • 13 plusses - 15 comments - 26 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-12 19:35:34
    RESHARE:
    Think of circles this way. Reorganize accordingly.
    1. When reading, circles let me view the stream by a subgroup I follow.
    2. When writing, circles let me hide the content from everybody outside the circles I share it with.

    Reshared text:
    G+ Conceptual Model: Share is Not Send
    Sharing content on Google+ is much more like blogging than email. When I share publicly, the entire Internet can see it. When I share to a circle, I've limited the people who can see it. But I've not guaranteed that anyone will see it. I've not pushed that content to them. The choice of reading it lies with the recipient.

    So Sharing with a group might feel to some people like sending an email with a Bcc, but it's not. I haven't sent the message to anyone. I've simply limited the audience who can view it. And, when someone in that audience shares the post with someone else, they've added that person to the conversation. This is why G+ warns you that you are sharing with someone who wasn't included in this conversation by the author.

    From the recipient's viewpoint this model is one of G+'s greatest strengths. It means no more email-type spam. If I follow someone on G+, it's like subscribing to their blog's RSS feed. I'll have access to everything they write publicly (more on this below). But I'm not forced to open my inbox, so to speak. I'm not required constantly to decide whether to read, delete, or mark each post as spam.

    Filtering Content
    The issue some of us are experiencing is that G+ doesn't have any content filters yet. When I subscribe to someone's feed, I see all their posts, Public and those limited to whatever circle the sender has put me in. This means that if I publish a Public post on "Conjugating Japanese Verbs" then my Fishing Buddies are going to see it.

    Among some of the people in my circle there has been cry to turn off Public posts to people who are in circles--to enable ways to publish to "everyone but X".

    I think this is the wrong solution and I think it breaks the G+ model which allows recipients control over what they read. (Would it be clearer if we called them subscribers?)

    If I subscribe to someone, I've made the choice to read their content. I don't want to give the control over what I read to them. Just because I limit certain posts to my Fishing Buddies shouldn't mean that they are prevented from reading my Public posts on G+ tips.

    More importantly, this approach does nothing to filter off-topic content in posts that aren't Public. I can still get "hot deals in Austin" posts from my coworkers, or "vote for X" posts from my family.

    Suggested Solution: View By Type
    I am looking forward to some kind of hashtag equivalent to help readers identify the content of a post (and maybe help writers focus the content of the post). But I don't think it's the solution to this problem. A tagging system can be used either for discovery (oh, here's someone I don't subscribe to talking about #Ozu) or as a filter (here's another lunch photo from my coworker).

    But for this problem, my suggestion is to have tools that provide control over what's displayed in my stream. Currently FB has this feature. FB displays everything in the stream but provides a drop down list where I can filter the stream by type: Status Updates, Photos, Links, etc. G+ could give us the same options and also add "Public". These Display options would be available for all streams.

    2011--08-12. Edited to add hack below.
    G+ Hack: Dimming Public Content
    This is just a suggested (-un-tested) hack for the situation that +John Blossom and others have with a family member who doesn't want to read all the professional posts that they publish publicly on Google+.
    1. Have your family member unfollow you. (G+ maps the social relationship you actually have. They really don't want to follow you. They just want to get an occasional messages from you.)
    2. When you create content that is read-only-by your Family circle, add the person to the conversation in the body of the post. "Dear [+Dad's Name]. Thought you might enjoy this photo of the kids."
    This will send your dad a notification and give him read permission on the content.

    2011-08-12. Edited after testing hack
    1. If you mention someone you who is not following you in the body of the post, they will get a notification that they've been mentioned.
    2. If you just add them to by name to the share list and they are not following you, they get notification that they shared a post with you. It will also be in their Incoming stream (but not their main stream.)
  • 3 plusses - 4 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-12 19:57:22
    #googleplustips
    G+Tips: A Short Guide to Organizing Circles
    Think of circles this way. Reorganize accordingly.
    1. When reading, circles let me view the stream by a subgroup I follow.
    2. When writing, circles let me hide the content from everybody but the circle I share it with.

    Sorry to anyone who commented when I posted this via Share. (And thanks for your encouragement.) Because I posted via Share no one could share this post...only the original inspiration that I had linked to. I want people to be able to share my solution...not just see the problem. To do that, create a new post and link to the post that inspired you.
  • 4 plusses - 2 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-13 01:26:00
    G+ Tips: Lock This Post Option Prevents Accidental Invites
    Default Behavior: Post Can Be Shared. Sometimes you limit who can read a post because you want to share it with a special interest group. In this case, you don't mind if they pass your post on to other people with the same interests.

    If you leave Share enabled, then the people you allowed to read it in the first place can either
    1. invite people into the discussion by adding them (typing a + before their name like +M Sinclair Stevens ), or
    2. repost the body of your post with the Share link.

    Locking a Post. Sometimes you limit who can read a post and you don't want them to invite anyone into the discussion. Perhaps you're planning a surprise party for your spouse and you don't want someone to accidentally invite her to the conversation by typing in her name.

    If you lock a post, then the post can't be shared with a new audience (there will be no Share link). And the commenters can't accidentally (or maliciously) invite new people to the conversation.

    2011-07-14 Update.
    The Google+ team has made a UI change to make this behavior more obvious. On posts which are locked, commenters now can't use @ or + to enter a name and you get a message reminding you that the post has sharing disabled.

    2011-09-21 Update.
    Terminology has changed. The command in the pulldown menu used to be called "Disable reshare". It now called "Lock this post".

    One downside to this functionality is that you can't lock a post until after you share it.

    #googleplustips #share
  • 7 plusses - 5 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-13 12:12:11
    G+ Terminology: Invite and Bounce
    People have been struggling to come up with G+ terminology to replace what we use elsewhere--especially since the actions, though similar, have a slightly different feel. My suggestions.

    Replace "Follow/Friend" with " Invite Add".
    "I invited added him to my circle."

    2011-07-14 Update. The actual Google+ terminology is "add".
    "Janey Lee, Laston Kirkland, Silver Persinger, and 1 other added you on Google+."

    Replace "Unfollow/Unfriend" with "Bounce".
    "He was always sharing animated gifs, so I bounced him." (This is what you do to ignore someone. Remember, if they become abusive, you can take stronger actions and Block them.)

    BTW, you can always bounce someone from one circle and have them land in a different circle. "All that guy did was share photos of cute cats so I had to bounce him from the Fishing Buddies circle and put him in LOLcats")
  • 6 plusses - 5 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-13 17:09:17
    Category: Circles, Share
    G+ Tips: Reducing the Noise in Your Readers' Streams

    Newbie Circle: Republishing to a Smaller Audience
    In order to share my previously published public G+ Tips with people just arriving, without spamming any of my readers who were here when I published them, I'm creating a Newbie circle. Then I'll republish (using Share) my own Public posts just to the Newbie circle. This hides them from everyone else's stream and cut down on the noise. You'll be saved wondering, "How many times is M going to tell me that!?!" It also means that I as people come on, I can add them to the Newbie circle and they can see all the old posts.

    So how do I decide who's a Newbie? The group is going to be very dynamic. The same people won't be in it for long. I'm going to add anyone who I know personally who wasn't on G+ when I published the original tip. When I do the Share, I'll also note it's a Newbie tip. If you're getting posts from me that you don't want, you can give me feedback to take you out of the Newbie circle. (You can also ask to join it.)

    Draft Circle: Republishing to a Larger Audience
    Another application of the Republish-with-Share technique is to create a Draft circle. Leave the Draft circle empty (so that you're sharing only with yourself). Write your post and share it to the Draft circle. When you're ready to publish it to a larger audience, use the Share link at the bottom of the post.

    You can even use this to publish it to different audiences. Maybe first you want to share it with just a reviewer. After getting feedback (in the comments), you make changes and share it again to a larger audience. The Share link shares only the post...not the associated comments. This makes G+ an excellent tool for collaboration.

    Related
    This technique shows off one of G+ big advantages. Documents in the stream are not constrained by time. Yes, they flow by but they're not gone. This means you can do a lot more with G+ than just post status updates. Posts can be treated more like documents. Or discussions. Or To Do lists. You can add to them. Instead of having a lot of related content scattered across dozens of little status updates, you can keep ideas together.
  • 11 plusses - 11 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-14 02:10:16
    Feature Request: View Streams by Type
    In the Notification stream, we can view either all our notifications or view a subset of them by type. (See screenshot attached.)

    Please provide something similar for our streams. The All - More menu should be in the same position as on the Notification stream and be available whether we are looking at the main stream or the stream for one of our circles.
    _____
    All
    Posts by you
    Reshares (Note: Any posts that were created via the Share link.)
    Hide Public posts (Note: this would hide any Public posts in the stream.)
    Hide photos (Note: this would hide any posts that had attached photos.)
    Hide video (Note: this would hide any posts that had attached video.)
    Hide links (Note: this would hide any post that had attached links.)
    _____
  • 7 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-14 11:57:46
    #googleplustips
    G+ Tips: Circle Organization: Sort by How Often You Want to Read Them
    After more than a week on G+, I've noticed that the circles I use to organize what I read have sorted themselves by how often I want to check in on the people in the group.
    * Breaking News: (checked frequently) spouse, some family members, a few very close friends, some Googlers posting about G+ issues, coworkers I'm working on a project with)
    * Daily Reads: (checked once a day--usually with morning coffee) some family, some friends, coworkers I'm not working on a project but I hang around with socially, interesting people)
    * Following: (checked once in awhile) people I have only a casual interest in checking on: people I used to work with or go to school but who I don't see socially, work acquaintances, people I've met on G+ who I may decide to move to Daily Reads or bounce from my circle, celebs.

    Circles I use to organize what I want to share have remained topic-oriented. I also have some topic-oriented read circles, but no one I know limits themselves to writing on one topic. I'd find them kind of boring if they did.
  • 7 plusses - 7 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-14 13:05:46
    RESHARE:
    As I told you a couple of days ago, if you don't want others in the circle to add people to the conversation, disable sharing for the post.

    The Google team has just made an UI change to make the behavior more obvious. Now if you mention someone or try to add them to the conversation with @[name], you get a warning popup that points out sharing has been disabled.

    Thanks, Google+ team!

    Reshared text:
    Many of you have asked for this, and now it's here!

    Now, when you disable resharing (from the arrow at the top corner of your post), it also disables +mentions. That way, you can really clamp down on who's allowed to see the post.

    There were reasons why we originally allowed +mentions even when sharing was disabled, but your feedback convinced our team to change that. Keep sending feedback! We're listening.

    Let me tell you, sometimes it's hard to answer your feature requests without giving away the fact that we're already working on them. =)

    #googleplustips
  • 4 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-15 00:00:34
    #googleplustips Update: Rereleased as a Public Document.
    G+ Tips: Two Ways of Sharing Content
    1. The Share Link: RT Plus
    Sometimes you want to share another post but you don't have too much to say about it. You might add a note, a little commentary, or tag it, so people know why you're sharing it with them.

    If you are coming to Google+ from the Twitterverse, think of Share as RT. I even use the Share link to clip posts for myself. I add topic-related tags to help me remember what I thought was interesting when I go back later to read it.

    2. Embedding a Link to the Post: Hat Tips and Shout Outs
    Other times a post has inspired you to respond at length. What you want to do in this case is write your own post and attach a link to the original post.

    How To: The permalink of each post is in the timestamp. Hover over the timestamp and copy the permalink. In your post, use the link icon to add it. (Hint: After you paste the link, be sure to actually press "Add".)

    If you are coming to Google+ from the blogosphere, this method is just like including a link in your post in order to reference an article elsewhere, or give a shout out to another blogger.

    Important Differences
    The important thing is that Google+ has both situations covered. So you can choose whatever is most appropriate for your situation. And you're not locked into doing it one way every time.

    For Sharing Original Content: Focus on Content Providers
    If you Share (RT), your readers can share the original article easily. The Share link on your post Shares the original article, not yours. This is Google+'s way of focusing the attention on the content provider, not the linker.

    When you use the Share link, you (and your readers who subsequently Share) are sharing just the original article -- not the comments associated with either post. This behavior is great when you're sharing something funny from a celebrity like Felicia Day because you don't want spam everyone's stream with the hundreds of comment she gets on posts.

    On the other hand, if you want your readers to share your article (not the original article), use the second method and link to the post. In this case, the original article was just the inspiration and you are the content provider.

    For Sharing Original Comments: Discussion Groups
    In some posts, the comments are an important part of the discussion. If someone poses a question, then you want to see the answers. In this case, use the second method and link to the post.
  • 7 plusses - 0 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-15 04:50:40
    #googleplustips
    G+ Tips: J is the magic key
    j = next post
    k = previous post

    I realize that this hint is probably in the doc somewhere -- the doc I scanned lightly because I wanted to jump in and get going. Whether you're reading all the posts on the Home page or reading a subset of posts by circle, sometimes it's just a lot to scroll through. Especially if you follow people who write long interesting posts or share a lot of less interesting photographs. Or animated gifs. How do you get through it all?

    Press j. The j key jumps to the next post. j j j j j You can scan really fast.
    So if you're going too fast and something whooshes past that you want to take a second look at, press k.

    Thanks +Makram Saleh . If you hadn't left this hint in a comment, who knows how long it would have been before I figured it out. (And, yes. I know all you people who've used vi are thinking, well duh ).
  • 8 plusses - 10 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-15 11:53:01
    G+ Tips: Discovering People: The Incoming Stream
    The Incoming stream shows the posts of people who have shared something with you, but who you don't follow. This is a great place to meet people. First of all, these are people who are actively engaged on G+. They didn't just add all their contacts from other places and then just sit here silently. Secondly, these are people shared something that they thought might interest you.

    The posts in the Incoming stream don't clog up your Home stream. The Incoming stream gives you a chance to evaluate people "from a distance" before adding them to your social circle. It also lets you ignore them without making a big deal about it. You don't have to shut the door in their face with an "Unfriend" or an "Unfollow". This is so much preferable to adding someone to your circle and then having to bounce them for bad behavior. You're not forced to make an immediate decision, or any decision. You can kinda-sorta follow them. And if they are abusive you can block them.

    The Incoming stream is like a big party filled with people you don't really know--they're your spouse's coworkers and their spouses and the parents of the kids on your kid's soccer team. You wander around, listening in on their conversations and when you find one interesting, you join it.

    The Answer for Introverts
    I'm kind of an introvert. I've never been comfortable with the Facebook model where people had to ask to be my friend and I had to say yay or nay. So much pressure. So much guilt. So much time wasted deciding what to do.

    When I started using G+, my first impulse was not to use the recommendation page to add a lot of strangers to my social circle. Strangers whose posts would clog up my Home stream. I don't follow people I don't want to read.

    My Usual Method of Discovery Instead, I used the same technique that I've always used when reading blogs. I added a few interesting people with large followings. I read the comments on their posts. And when someone wrote something interesting, I hovered over their name and added them to my Following circle.

    Well apparently a lot of those people suffer from Facebook friending guilt because many of them added me to their circles and then people that they were connected to added me to their circles.

    Coming to G+ both from blogs and Twitter, I know that having strangers follow me is a good thing. As a writer, I want to build a following. The plus side to G+ is that it also lets me share posts privately. People can follow me but they can see only what I have given them permission to see.

    Google+'s Plus
    The Incoming stream is powerful addition to my tools of discovery. If you are tired of reading posts from people you don't care about, try this. Remove them from you circles. The ones who were really sharing with you will show up in the Incoming stream and you can add them again if you want. The rest will just flow away.

    #googleplustips #streams
  • 17 plusses - 9 comments - 10 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-15 17:28:46
    G+ Tips: Don't be Afraid to Unfollow -- You Can Still Keep Up
    2011-07-16. Updated to provide clarification about Blocking and Notifications
    If you followed someone because you share a single interest but now feel inundated with the details of the rest of their life, here's the solution.
    1. Unfollow them. Bounce them out of your circle. You really don't have that much in common.
    2. When they share something with you explicitly, you will receive a notification.
    If they just share it with the circle they put you in, you can see it in your Incoming stream but you won't be notified.
    3. You can read the post (because they've given you permission to view it) in the Incoming stream.
    You still have a relationship. You've just described it more accurately.

    Example
    As my gardening tweeps come over from Twitter, they might be surprised to discover that the person they've followed as @ZanthanGardens has other facets. They may have never realized that, in addition to my blog on gardening, I have two other blogs and many other passions. Gardening is my hobby, not my profession.

    If they wish I'd just stop writing G+ Tips and get back to gardening, the technique I explain above is the solution for them. Every time I write a gardening-related post, I post it to my Garden circle, hiding it from the rest of my audience. If someone in my Garden circle isn't following me, then they get a notification they can see it in their Incoming stream.

    However, what if it's someone you know personally. You've talked it over and you said, "Look, I'm not that interested in all that tech stuff you write about, but if you share some photos of your garden, will you let me know?" And you can. If you are posting to a circle they are in, you can select "Notify". If you are just writing them a letter, adding them by name (rather than circle) will send a notification.

    And what if they get fed up my constant notifications? They have two choices.

    If they know me, they can apply a social solution: just talk to me. Ask me to take them out of the circle I'm using to send them stuff. I can still follow them (read their Public posts). I'll just put them in the Following circle so I won't send them anything.

    If they don't feel comfortable talking to me about it, they can apply a tool solution. They can Block me. If they block me, this is what happens.
    -- They won't see my content in their stream.
    -- I won't be able to comment on their content.
    -- I will be removed from their circles. (They already stopped following me so this is moot.)
    -- I (like anyone on the Internet) will still be able to see their public posts.
    Finally, I won't get a notification that they blocked me. It's not a door slam. It's not being rude. It's being in control of what you want to read.

    Google+ Encourages Discovery and Serendipity
    I've already gotten feedback from some of my gardening circle thanking me for sharing all these tips to help them get started with Google+.

    What if I had filtered out everything but the content in Garden circle posts from them? They wouldn't have had the chance to discover any other sides of me. Maybe, we have more in common than gardening. (I found this to be true of a friend I followed because of one shared interest; turns out he's interesting on a wide variety of subjects.)

    Even worse, what if they discovered I'd shared something with everyone on the Internet except them, specifically? I don't know about you but I would feel shut out.

    What scares me is I'm seeing a lot of discussions proposing to do just that. Their solution is to layer all sorts of complicated filters on circles, destroying the current model which encourages discovery and replicates the fluidity of our changing relationships.

    Maybe it's just easier for those of us who are not tool-builders to figure out what we want to do with a tool. Some tool-builders are more excited about redesigning it than using it.

    Focus your content. Use categories (circles). Don't share everything with everyone. Even among your friends, don't assume they all want to see the same things. But leave the final choice to the reader.

    Updates: Related Posts
    +Kevin Bourrillion Some total stranger just added you to their circles!
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/113026104107031516488/posts/JrAToLx5QPg

    #googleplustips
  • 12 plusses - 10 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-15 21:25:23
    RESHARE:
    Enabled not Constrained
    This is what I love about Google+. Until now I had to use different tools to write different things for separate audiences. Now I decide what I want to write and with whom I want to share it. No tool constraints!

    I'd add -- If you share it with a circle and Disable resharing, it's a Facebook status update.

    Reshared text:
    Here's what I love about Google+ in general and the Google+ Diet in particular:

    Instead of saying, "I'm going to write a blog post now," or "I'm going to send an e-mail" or "I think I'll tweet something" you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you're going to say it to.

    If you address it to "Public," it's a blog post.

    If you address it to "Your Circles" it's a tweet.

    If you address it to your "My Customers" Circle it's a business newsletter.

    If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.

    I'd say this is pretty revolutionary.
  • 15 plusses - 4 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-15 21:45:30
    RESHARE:
    #googleplustips
    G+Tip: Use circles to introduce people
    This is a very clever idea. It shows how one can expand the use of G+ beyond simply mapping your relationships and use these new tools to enrich your relationships.

    In blogging we do something similar when we list our favorite blogs in our sidebar or send "link love' in a post. On Twitter we have Follow Friday. But this idea to use circle as a kind of cocktail party is charming -- so much more personal and dynamic.

    Reshared text:
    My wife had what I think is a brilliant idea for a way to use Circles.

    She made a circle called "Y'all should get to know each other", and put a smattering of her favorite most interesting people from the various, well, circles she travels in into it. Then, occasionally when she sees a post from one of these people that reminds her of why that person is so awesome (and is not of a private nature), she reshares it to this circle and gives a little introduction about that person and we, you know, start to get to know each other.

    I think this is a way cooler idea than "follow friday". I see a lot more value in Google+ forging real relationships between real, connected people than I do in the twitter model of everyone jockeying to become the next oh-so-clever hipster internet pundit with ten gajillion followers.
  • 24 plusses - 7 comments - 9 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-17 14:06:13
    #googleplustips #socialnetworking
    G+Tips: Introduce Yourself
    I have to laugh at some of the wild schemes I read from the tool-makers here on Google+. They're so proud of their complex tool solutions (redesigning Google+) that they never consider simple social solutions. They're so concerned with doing social that they have no clue how to be social.

    Last night I discovered an interesting person to follow. She is at least a generation older than I am. We live in the same area. She is a highly successful business woman and she's active on various other platforms. But she had no public posts. I put her in my Following circle (people I read but who I don't direct any posts to).

    Later I began mulling over why she has no public posts. Is it intentional? Is she taking advantage of Google+ and using circles to write posts targeted to specific audiences. Or is it because she hasn't figured Google+ out yet. Should I add her to my Newbies circle so that she can read all my G+ Tips?

    Then I realized how patronizing I was being. Here is a woman who has more experience and business savvy than I do and I assume because she has gray hair that she can't "get" Google+. Then. Facepalm. Why not just introduce myself -- explain how I came across her Profile page and why I added her to my Newbie circle? Why not give her some information about me so that she can have the opportunity to determine the appropriate scope of our relationship?

    Am I saying you should send an introduction every time you follow someone. Absolutely not. So far, I've followed several hundred people but this was the only case I felt an introduction was necessary. In all the other cases, the tools that Google+ provides have worked beautifully. I have so much more control over who I follow and to what extent I follow them than on any other platform I've used (listserves, forums, email, blogs, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Gowalla).

    I think what differentiates Google+ from those other platforms is that it enables so many different kinds of interactions. It mirrors real life pretty well. Some people we have deep soul-searching conversations with. Others, the occasional chat. Still others we just follow in the celebrity mags.

    Why not just apply the same social conventions that we do in the physical world? Don't just use Google+ to use a tool. Actually get out there and socialize.

    Example Introduction
    Dear [+Name],

    I noticed you that we have a [shared interest | shared friend ] and added you to my [shared interest] circle. That's why you might occasionally see posts from me in your stream.

    Don't feel obligated to follow me back. Until you are more comfortable about who I am, you can read my posts in your Incoming stream and they won't clog up your Home stream.

    If they start to bug you, or if you feel you're getting too many notification from me, don't be shy about to letting me know and I'll drop you from that circle. Or if you don't feel comfortable communicating with me directly, you can Block me.
  • 15 plusses - 15 comments - 6 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-17 21:31:05
    #socialnetworking #circles
    G+: Conceptual Model: It's a Circle, not a Box
    I love my online community. Recently, various discussions about Google+ got me wondering whether or not people who knew me from just one sphere of my life, would enjoy knowing more about me. I used my Gardeners circle as an example.

    Although, I share my gardening posts exclusively with my Gardeners circle, they also receive all the G+ Tips posts that I post publicly to the Internet. I hypothesized that if it annoyed them, then would do something about it: either tell me or quietly drift away (unfollow me).

    Well, +Ramon Gonzalez did do something about it. MBT wrote a post on the GardenBloggers.com blog inviting our fellow gardeners not yet on Google+ to read my public posts in order to get a sense of what it was like in here. MBT linked to various G+ Tips of mine which he found most helpful. Then MBT took it a step further and tweeted about it. I'm so flabbergasted and flattered.

    What if I had done as as some suggest? What if it were possible to put MBT in the Gardeners circle and hide all my public posts from him (even though everyone else on the Internet can read them)? Then this would never have happened. As MBT put it, he wouldn't have found "....a lot of cool information that I hadn't figured out on my own and probably wouldn't have had I not connected with him.

    I think the Google+ team has it right. After all, it's a circle, not a box.
  • 7 plusses - 5 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-17 22:22:45
    RESHARE:
    Thanks, Ryan! I wish I could explain stuff this graphically.

    Reshared text:
    Here is the entire section about rights, explained section by section.
    As with any personal interpretation, read the original text and make up your own mind!
  • 9 plusses - 5 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-18 12:12:19
    Notifications: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
    #googleplustips #notifications
    When you share something with a circle (Limited distribution), Google+ gives you the option to notify those in the circle about your post. Use it sparingly. When you use it, all the people in that circle get an alert. "M shared a post with you." If you use this option constantly, you'll soon begin to annoy your audience. Like the boy who cried wolf, they'll start ignoring you. They may even feel forced to block you.

    2011-08-28 Update: In addition to Block, you can now Ignore people who follow you but whom you don't follow. Both options mean you will not receive notifications. Block additionally keeps them from commenting on your posts. Ignore allows them to comment. Neither works with people you follow; for people you follow, you have to talk with them if the over-notify you or decide to drop them.

    By default, sharing a post does not send a notification. Sharing gives everyone in the circle the ability to read your post, but it doesn't force it on them.

    However, there are occasions when you want to alert someone so that your post doesn't get lost in the stream. For example, if you want to announce to your family that you got accepted into grad school, notify them. I know my mom wouldn't want to miss that news.

    Conversely, if my mom notified me every time she shared her friends' grandkids pics, it would drive me up the wall. Soon I'd start rolling my eyes every time I saw a notification from her. I already have a term for it: nagging.

    Manage Email Notifications
    If your Gmail is getting flooded with notifications, modify the settings.
    1. In the black toolbar, click on the Options icon (the sprocket).
    2. From the menu, select Google+ settings
    3. In Receive notifications, uncheck any event that you no longer want to receive notifications in Gmail about. You will still get the notification inside Google+.

    Note: You do not get the option to send notification when you share to these circles: Public, Extended Circles, or Your Circles.
  • 25 plusses - 12 comments - 81 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-18 16:05:00
    Google+ Tips: Let the Right One In
    Say you send out invitations to a party and tell your friends to bring their "plus ones". But then, without asking you, those friend-of-a-friends invite someone else. And those people invite all the people they know.

    Would you let them all into house? Some of you would. Some of you wouldn't. The important thing to remember is that it's your choice.

    The Downside to Letting Everyone In
    1. Stream It clogs your stream with stuff from people you don't know and probably don't care about. When people share with Extended Circles, they are sharing with everyone they follow and everyone those people follow. If you look at a post and wonder, why am I seeing stuff from this guy? I didn't follow him? Yeah. But someone you do follow did.

    2. Profile It makes it appear to others looking at your profile that you know someone in common. Many people make the choice to include someone based on the idea that they are friends of a trusted friend. "Hey, M follows him. He must be okay." There's no way for them to know why you followed someone: close friend or just a guy you ran into at some other guy's party.

    3. Relevance It messes up the Find and Invite Suggestions
    Google+ suggests (not recommends, important distinction) people based on your contacts and interactions. When you invite people in, Google+ suggests more people based on who they know. So if you invite a spammer into your social circle, you are telling Google+ to suggest this guy to all your friends.

    Social networking relies on "trust by association". When you let just anyone in, you're giving your real friends bad recommendations.

    Remember. The vampires can't get into your house unless you invite them. When you invite them in you are assuming some responsibility for their actions. Luckily, in Google+, it's just as easy to uninvite them.
    --------------------------------
    #googleplustips

    Update: 2011-07-24. Added link to bot attack: A certain shade of Scoble.
    Do not follow people just because they follow you. Follow them because you want to read what they have to say or you want to share something with them.
  • 23 plusses - 18 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-18 19:10:32
    RESHARE:
    #googleplus #picasa #fail
    A Cautionary Tale: Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket
    This story makes me feel faint.

    Reshared text:
    Google+, Picasa Web Albums and Blogger, a Cautionary Tale

    Had a kind of amazingly bad and frustrating experience related to Google+, probably my first ever Google “epic fail,” and this seemed to be an appropriate place to document it.

    When I signed up for Google+ a couple of weeks ago, I – like everyone else – was immediately hit with that “Google+ is integrated with Picasa” screen, and the only options at that point were to turn back on the future of social networking or agree to this linkage and continue. I continued.

    A little seemingly-unrelated but critical background: For the last five years, I’ve maintained a personal parenting blog on Blogger. It’s not particularly active these days, mainly was used to document little moments with our kids when they were younger. I never associated it with my name publicly on the Web because the posts were primarily family-related, written for a small circle of relatives and friends, and all four members of our little household felt more comfortable with it that way.

    As soon as I completed the Google+ sign-on process, I was presented with a page showing my “Picasa Web Albums,” or some similar language, and right there staring back at me was a folder that shared the name of my parenting blog and contained about 130 photos. I had never created this album, the photos I posted to the blog were all uploaded through Blogger and, to me, that was where they lived.

    Given the privacy issues with social networks generally, confusion over settings and the frequently shifting dynamics around who can see what, and where, I didn’t particularly want a Picasa Web Album with photos of my kids and the name of my personal parenting blog associated with my public Google+ account – so I deleted that folder. It was very easily done, I got one “are you sure?” pop-up box and said, in effect, “Yeah, I’m sure. Those photos live somewhere else, I don’t need them here as well.”

    Didn’t give it another thought, until yesterday, when I went to my old neglected blog to find a pancake recipe I had posted and noticed that there were blank boxes where all the photos used to be. Click on a box and an error message (shown in this post) pops up. A little poking around through help forums indicated that I wasn’t alone in this, it seems others have gone through the same process and also unwittingly lost years of blog photos. I can’t decide whether that makes me feel better, or worse.

    Here’s one thread I found:

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Picasa/thread?tid=187a486b42253bd0&hl=en

    If there had been a simple screen or notification saying that if I proceeded to delete the photos in this Picasa Web Album – which I had never created or uploaded to or – in my mind – had anything to do with – they would also be permanently removed from the personal blog I had carefully tended to for several years… well, I think it’s safe to say I would not have hit that delete button.

    I guess there is no recourse here, one of the threads I found had a comment from someone apparently associated with Google saying that yes, if you delete the photos in these Picasa albums they are gone, forever, from everywhere, and we’ll try to be more clear about that in the future. I find it hard to believe there's no back-up living somewhere capable of restoring these photos, but try getting that kind of personalized customer support out of Mountain View. I guess I could go through our iPhoto archives and try to piece together and rebuild the graphics associated with a few hundred posts, but I’ll probably just let it go and move on.

    Google+ is getting great reviews and growing in popularity, hopefully this account will help others avoid this extremely frustrating situation.

    Paging Marissa Mayer…
  • 7 plusses - 12 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-19 17:37:38
    #googleplustips #share #reshare #contentcreators
    Why Resharing is Not Broken -- But How it Could Be Better
    Coming to Google+ with my blogging blinders on, I was initially dismayed by the behavior of the Share link at the bottom of each post. As a blogger, I want readers to read my content on my site, not an aggregator's. Page views are a bloggers bread and butter. The idea that people could expand my entire post inside someone else's post just felt wrong.

    I talked to Googler +Trey Harris and this is how he explained Share to me. "...it interests me that you feel that using the share button as currently implemented feels like stealing. The format of the " Person originally shared this post:" with the profile picture and link is not possible to fake; you can't alter a post or make something up or point the profile picture and link to some other person. The original poster gets notified of the reshare and can look at comments made to it. It requires attribution to the original author. It seems like taking this mechanism away would result in people using copy and paste, which doesn't require attribution or notification to the original author, and that seems much more like stealing to me."

    Finally. I got it! And the more I use it, the more I get it.

    Reshare = Link Love
    Google+ is actually providing the same behavior as when we share a link on a blog. The reader can either comment on the linker's post or click through and comment on the author's post. My shared post, arguably, gets more eyeballs because the reader can read it inline and not lose his place in the stream.

    Reshare Enforces Attribution
    Google+ improves on the blog experience this way. When a reader clicks Share on the linker's post, it actually shares the author's post -- giving the original author all the credit. The original author gets notified of the shares. And, on the original post, you can see how many people shared it and who they were by name.

    Reshare Helps Your Post Go Viral
    Rehare enables the original post to build up an audience over days -- as people share with their friends who in turn share with their friends. Rather than the post slipping off the timeline into oblivion, it has more opportunity to go viral.

    Share counts go to the author of the original post, not to the linker.
    http://socialstatistics.com/?include=popular

    How Google Could Make Reshare Better
    1. If the original post can be viewed publicly, let the reader click through to the post.
    Then we could read the comments in the original discussion and leave comments for the original author. (This is one of the major complaints of the current implementation that I've seen.)

    I would expand this. I would always allow the click through to the original post and then let the original author's read permissions determine whether or not I can see it.

    2. Convey more explicitly which post (author's or linker's) that these actions apply to: #1, Comment, Share.
    Maybe, Google+ could detect if the post is from a Share and change the text to "Share original". Maybe there could be two comment options: "Comment (works the same)" and "Comment on original" which would have a link to the original post. Whether or not you have permissions to view the original post, you'd discover when you got there.

    How Users Could Make Reshare Better
    1. Introduce the Material
    If you're going to share something with me, tell me why. If you can't tell me why you are sharing someone else's post with me, don't share it with me. If you can't form complete sentences, stick with hashtags (#humor #fail #NSFW) -- but give me a clue.

    2. Share With a Specific Audience.
    Rev up the power of Google+, people. Share with the people who care. Your Fishing Buddies don't care about your Yoga videos. Your Vegan friends don't want to see BBQ links. And I don't want to see anymore animated gifs. (#humor)

    If you must share with everyone, at the most share with Extended Circles. This will get it out to more people than those you follow explicitly.

    There is almost zero reason you should ever reshare publicly (share to the whole Internet). If the original author shared publicly, (or is referencing content external to Google+) then the permalink is already out there on the Internet. I don't know the ins and outs of Google's search algorithm, but I doubt if they are giving you extra credit for sharing publicly.

    With many new features, not limited to Google+, Google now seems to be focusing the spotlight on content creators. Bravo, Google!
  • 10 plusses - 21 comments - 9 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-19 21:58:42
    Navigating the Churning Stream
    #googleplustips #circles #stream
    People who invite 280 people into their circle and then whine about how noisy their home stream is are like people who drive on the freeway and complain it's crowded.

    If you feel like you've bitten off more than you can chew, here's some ways to navigate the roaring waters.
    1. Press the j key to jump over posts. This is faster than scrolling and gets you past long or boring posts quickly.
    2. Always read by circle. Skip the Home stream. Venture off into a quieter tributary.
    3. Set up some circles based on how often you want to pull information from those people: Breaking News/Important, Daily Reads, Casual Reads, Moments of Boredom and Procrastination.
    4. If someone annoys you, hover over their name and move them to a less read circle.
    5. If someone consistently annoys you, create a circle for loudmouths and stick them in it.
    For example. My family has sorted itself into two circles: relatives I like to read on a daily basis (Family circle) and relatives who share too much (Family Loudmouths circle). I read the Family circle every day and the Family Loudmouths much less often. When I want to write to my family, I write to both circles. From their perspective, we look like one big happy family.
    6. If they really, really annoy you, unfollow them.
    They won't be notified. If they're still following you, they'll see all your posts. And if they're not, why are you following someone who drives you up the wall?
    If they share with you, you can see their posts in the Incoming stream. They won't muddy up your Home stream.
  • 25 plusses - 13 comments - 16 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-20 16:03:09
    #socialnetworking
    Google+ What are We Trying to do Here?
    If you are confused about circles, why they'e here and how you should use them, check out +Paul Adams's presentation slides, The Real Life Social Network v2.

    Paul Adams worked as a Google User Experience Lead before going to Facebook. Two important points from his presentation..
    1. We are not friends with everyone equally. We have strong ties and weak ties. (Our plumber doesn't want to hear the details of our life that we share with our mom.)
    2. We present different facets of ourselves to different groups (professors, fellow frat brothers, mom and dad).

    This presentation isn't a "how-to". It discusses how our social networks operate in real life and discusses why existing tools (as of June 2010) didn't emulate our real life social networks. The Google+ team seems to have taken this presentation to heart -- Google+ is their answer.
  • 6 plusses - 3 comments - 5 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-21 12:16:07
    G+ Conceptual Model: Our Friends Are Conduits of the Information Stream
    +Kevin Cheng asks, "Can we ever digitally organize our friends?"
    The short answer is, no.
    My question back to him is "Why do you want to?"

    In his article, Kevin says, "When I first started using Google+, I had a sense of déjà vu as I categorized my friends. I’d done this before… on Flickr, on Facebook, on Twitter, on my instant messenger contact list, and in my address book."

    I don't wonder that he quickly got bored categorizing friends. I would, too. The great thing about Google+ is that we are not required to set up a massive or complicated system to organize our friends before we start.

    I thought about it myself. Why do I organize my contacts? It's not about putting people in boxes. On Google+, it's about controlling the flow of information:
    * the information I want to hear (reading circles)
    * the information I want to share (writing circles)

    Streams represent the flow of information. Circles are the conduits through which information flows. Circles enable us to channel information where we want it as we convey information to our contacts and they convey information to us.

    Google+ helps us organize information. It doesn't burden us with organizing friends.

    Google+ doesn't make us carry over the baggage from other systems. It provides a place to start fresh with only the people with whom we are actively engaged. For example, there's absolutely no reason for me to add my plumber to Google+ -- I don't intend to be sharing any riveting articles on plumbing with him. He's still in my Gmail contacts when I need him.

    Google+ allows us to be as social as we want to be -- whether we are introverts or extroverts. It lets us gracefully shed relationships which are no longer engaging -- without slamming the door in someone's face.

    My advice? Don't add someone to Google+
    -- until you have something to share with them, or
    -- unless they write something you want to read

    Don't carry the dead weight over from other systems. It's too much bother. Plus, you are going to meet a lot of new, engaging people here.

    Note: Be sure to click through and read Kevin's article. He has many interesting insights about Google+ on what works for him and what doesn't work.
  • 10 plusses - 9 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-22 01:08:06
    #parody #socialnetworking
    What If Men Can't "Get" Social?
    There's a lot of talk about gender inequality here on Google+. I have to admit, after reading some of the analysis and reviews, I'm worried. What if guys can't get it? What if it's not in their genetic makeup to be social?

    Tool-makers vs. Tool-users
    The first instinct of many male early-adopters seems to be to take Google+ apart and try to redesign it. Fiddling with the tool and discussing endlessly how they could have built it better delights them. But they seem stumped on simply how to use Google+.

    Relationships. Not a guy thing?
    In "Can we ever digitally organize our friends?", Kevin Cheng points to some of his difficulties. "...maintaining digital groups has two problems. First, you don’t know when to move someone from one group to another because transitions happen gradually. Second, it’s simply a lot of effort to maintain...When compounded with the high overhead of maintenance and likely outdated groups over time, it’s even less likely that I’ll know who I’m actually sharing a post with."

    Fred Wilson, in his article "Explicit Groups Vs Implicit Groups," responds to Kevin. "...[F]riends and interests are not so finite and fixed. They come and go. They are highly fluid and dynamic.

    I'm just about to shout "Yay! Fred gets it!" when he concludes, "I don't want to put my friends into circles. I want a machine to do it for me." [ emphasis mine ]

    Despite these initial pockets of resistance, I have hope. In my three weeks on Google+, I've met plenty of men who break gender stereotypes. Maybe we could encourage more guys to open up if they had their own circle on the Recommended Users site. That site (see screenshot below) spotlights "Women in Tech". But where are the men? We need to make them feel more comfortable.

    M's List: Guys Who Get Google+
    So to correct the oversight, here are some of my daily reads. This list is by no means exhaustive. And I didn't include any superstar gurus (like Scoble). These are just guys who are using Google+ to share their passions. They engage and amuse me and I'm always learning new, cool stuff from them.
    +Mark Traphagen
    +David Prieto
    +Ricardo Francisco Prochnow
    +Jeremy Welch
    +Ron Pemberton
    +Kol Tregaskes
    +Geeky Sprocket
    +Daniel Jomphe
    +Takahiro Yamamoto

    Sources for this article
    +Kevin Cheng Can we ever digitally organize our friends?
    http://kevnull.com/2011/07/can-we-ever-digitally-organize-our-friends.html

    +Fred Wilson Explicit Groups Vs Implicit Groups
    http://www.businessinsider.com/explicit-groups-vs-implicit-groups-2011-7

    Google+ Suggested Users
    http://www.recommendedusers.com/
  • 12 plusses - 21 comments - 14 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-22 12:02:57
    RESHARE:
    "I am both a person and a brand." +Trey Ratcliff
    This interview of Trey Ratcliff shows how quickly uses of Google+ are evolving and expanding as different types of people are using it for different purposes. Google+ succeeds, in part, because of its flexibility.

    The scope and the format are not constrained by Google+. A post can be anything the author wants at the spur of the moment -- a letter to a friend, a status update to followers, or a blog post to the world.

    Reshared text:
    I know there are tons of articles around discussing G+ at the moment but I particularly like this interview with artist Trey Ratcliff. He makes some points that definitely resonate with me (also like his comment that G+ has that "ineluctable element of fun").
  • 5 plusses - 3 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-22 13:41:28
    RESHARE:
    Shakespeare addresses identity on Google+.

    Reshared text:
    Some Shakespeare for the deciders at Google:

    'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
    Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
    What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
    Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
    Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
    What's in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;
    So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
    Retain that dear perfection which he owes
    Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
    And for that name which is no part of thee
    Take all myself.
  • 4 plusses - 20 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-23 12:13:44
    Updated: Please Expand to see Update
    Privacy Invasion Leak: Google+ Displays Profile Photo from Gmail
    Great! Not only did Google+ make me use my personal email account (rather than the public one associated with my blogs) to sign up -- this morning it started displaying my picture from that Gmail account.

    This is a photo I specifically chose not to make public. It is the photo I use to interact primarily on chat with my spouse and a very few close friends. I have just gone to my Gmail account and deleted it. I have submitted feedback. I hope this was only a glitch.

    I feel exposed and violated.

    Update: Just logged back in again and was directed to a new Account page. Maybe Google is merging Google+ and Gmail account profiles and that's what caused unexpected behavior. Does anyone have status updates from the Google team that would confirm.
  • 6 plusses - 27 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-24 00:27:32
    Netiquette Advice from 1848
    "...to the attention of persons commencing the world. Praise everybody, I say to such; never be squeamish, but speak out your compliment both point-blank in a man's face, and behind his back, when you know there is a reasonable chance of his hearing it again. Never lose a chance of saying a kind word. As Collingwood never saw a vacant place in his estate but he took an acorn out of his pocket and popped it in, so deal with your compliments through life. An acorn costs nothing, but it may sprout into prodigious bit of timber." -- William Makepeace Thackeray "Vanity Fair"
  • 15 plusses - 5 comments - 3 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-24 13:49:47
    Feature Request: New Pre-Defined Google+ Circle: Followers Readers
    #featurerequest #circles

    Intended Audience: Granting Read Permissions
    When sharing with people in a circle, all an author is doing is indicating who is allowed to read the post (setting the read permissions). If you've ever followed a link and gotten a 404 message, it's probably because someone who had read permissions shared it with someone outside the author's intended audience.

    When I share with my circles, the people in those circles who have also added me to their circle can see my post in their Home stream. If they haven't added me to any circle, they can see my post in their Incoming stream. It's important to remember that I'm not sending the post to those circles or notifying anyone in them that I've written a post. (There are ways to do that with user-defined circles or individuals, but it is not -- and shouldn't be -- the default behavior.)

    Google+ has three pre-defined circles:
    - Your circles: everyone you follow (even if they don't follow you)
    - Extended circles: everyone you follow plus everyone they follow
    - Public: everyone on the Internet

    What's lacking, currently, is a way to make a post visible to the people who have indicated most strongly that they want to see it -- the people who have decided to follow me subscribe to my posts, my Incoming stream.

    Asymmetrical Relationships
    One of the core strengths of Google+ is it allows us to have asymmetrical relationships. Not being forced into a symmetrical relationship (I follow you read your posts so you are required to follow me read mine), lets relationships both develop naturally and degrade gracefully (no one has to slam the door in someone's face with an "Unfriend" notification).

    Reading: To enable asymmetrical relationship, Google+ includes the Incoming stream. This allows me to read the posts of people who follow me have decided to read mine. (In blog terms, the Incoming stream contains the people who have subscribed to your RSS feed.)

    Sharing: However, Google+ currently lacks the other half of this equation. I can't share posts with the people who follow me have subscribed to my posts (my Incoming stream) unless
    1. I follow them back, or
    2. I publish a post Publicly.

    Why not just publish everything Publicly?
    I was attracted to Google+ because it allows us to publish selectively. This is the big plus -- its advantage over other platforms.

    Here's some examples of why you might want to make posts visible to your Incoming stream (the people who have elected to follow you) -- but not Publicly.

    1a. Me: Brainstorming and research before publishing an article.
    When writing an article I often want to get feedback from my readers. I may ask them questions about their own experiences in order to get different perspectives on a topic I'm puzzling over. I may ask them to contribute quotes.

    At this point in the writing process, I'm not ready to "publish" my work (share with the Public circle -- with everyone on the Internet). Even if I decided to do so, the Internet outside of Google+ would not be able to provide any feedback to me (leave comments). So what's the point?

    Updated: Another Example
    1b. Me: Getting to know you
    When I see a lot of people I don't know in my Incoming stream, I'd like to encourage them to introduce themselves -- to leave a comment telling me how they found me, or why they followed me subscribed to my posts -- something to help me decided whether I want to add them to my circles. This is not a message I want to publish on the entire Internet (Public). Nor do I want to add someone to my circles in order to have this conversation with them.
    2. +William Shatner : To reward his fan base.
    William Shatner shared this message with his fans. "Apparently one can only have 5000 plusers in total in all their circles. I do apologize for those not yet in one of my circles. I would hope that Google lifts this limit or comes up with an alternative so I may add you."

    Of course, William Shatner does not need to follow his fans for them to see his Public posts. However, he may want to reward his fan base by sending them special messages not visible to everyone else on the Internet. Being able to receive selectively visible messages (to be part of a select group) would be further incentive for people to follow William Shatner. This, in turn, would increase his own "popularity" numbers on Google+.

    Currently, the only strategy available to William Shatner is to follow everyone back and then share with just his Fan circle. Not only has he already exceeded his limit (which in the future might be increased) but this becomes a time-consuming chore for people who have more than 5000 (or even 500) followers.

    Related Articles
    Navigating the Raucous Stream: Tips for keeping down the noise by managing your information stream.
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/hNkCJGE8omA

    Let the Right One In: Why it's not a good idea to let everyone into your house and why you don't have to.
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/ijexSUrwi9Q
  • 15 plusses - 48 comments - 6 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-24 18:07:45
    Don't Focus on Building a Better Tool; Address the Underlying Problem
    Sometimes we get so focused on comparing a new tool, like Google+, to the tools that we are familiar with (blogs, Twitter, FB) that we fail to see its true advantages -- its potential. We fail to realize that a new tool enables us to try things we've never tried before.

    We get mired in discussions about features, or how it doesn't behave in the way we expect. Sometimes when a thing confounds our expectations, it helps us see the world with new eyes.

    If we use a power screwdriver to pound in nails, we are going to be disappointed and frustrated. If we instead take a moment to examine the power screwdriver and realize that it is not just a fancier hammer, it will take us beyond the limitations of the hammer.

    If any of you real artists want to collaborate with me by drawing a better cartoon, let me know.
  • 9 plusses - 3 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-26 00:36:02
    Read. Write. Share.
    Google+ is primarily about content. Whether or not we think of ourselves as authors, we all produce content: messages, email, photographs, status updates, FAQs, tips, reviews, and recommendations.

    Google+ wisely imposes no form on a post. So a post can be anything. Begin with a salutation; it's a letter. Boldface a title; it's an article. Ask a questions; it's a discussion forum. Jot down some reminders to yourself; it's a To Do list.

    Google+ recognizes that consuming content is not a solitary activity. When we hear something funny, interesting, outrageous, or tragic our immediate impulse is to share it.

    Our streams contain all the information that we consume and produce. Our circles are the conduits which convey the information stream. Circles help us control the flow of information.

    Summing up circles: some concepts
    1. People in our circles are the "authors" we like to read.
    Just because we put someone in a circle, doesn't mean they read our stuff. All we've done is give them permission to read it.
    If we add someone to our social circle, everything that they choose to share with us will appear in our Home stream.
    Tip. If you don't like the content they produce or share, remove them from your circle. Yes, even if it's your Mom. (Don't worry. They can still share with us. And Google+ won't notify them. Not even if you Block them.)
    2. People in our Incoming stream are our readers, our fans! They have decided they want to see our content in their information stream.
    3. You can have a reciprocal (aka symmetrical) relationship where you read each other's posts. (This is similar to Facebook.)
    4. You can have an asymmetrical relationship (like with Robert Scoble) where you read his stuff and he doesn't read yours. (This is similar to reading Tom Clancy books or a favorite columnist.)
    5. Google+ doesn't lock you into one kind of relationship. Relationships are fluid and changing. Circles are your predefined settings but you can define the relationship between you and your reader on a post-by-post basis.

    Strategies for avoiding an information deluge
    Don't follow people just to follow them. Follow them because you want to read what they have to say or share. Or follow them because you have something to share with them.

    1. Get over your "follow back" guilt.
    You do not need to add anyone to your circles to read their posts.
    Take a look at your Incoming stream from time to time and check out what your fans are writing. If they're interesting, add them to a circle. If they're annoying (send you lot of notifications, share without adding value), block them. If they are abusive, block and report them.

    2. Read prolific authors via their Profile page.
    Professional writers, like Robert Scoble, use Google+ to broadcast their message just like they do on their blogs. Everything they are going to share with you is a Public post -- visible to anyone on the Internet. So you can read an author just by going over to their Profile page. You don't need to follow them in order to read their Public posts or to comment on them.
    (If you can't comment on a Public post it is because the author has blocked you.)

    Note: If I'm afraid that something from a favorite read slipped by in my stream without my seeing it, I use the same strategy. I visit their Profile page to read posts. Sometimes, it's relaxing to change views, to focus on all the content from one person rather have everything churning in our stream.

    3. Share directly.
    You don't have to add someone to your circle before sharing with them. Mention someone by name in the body of the post (a salutation is a nice social convention to use when addressing a message) and they will be added to the Share box. They will also receive a notification message. "[X] has shared a post with [Y].

    4. Let topic-based circles evolve.
    I have an empty circle called Bookmarks where I Share posts with myself -- things I find interesting that I want to think about later and maybe write about. Quickly it became hard to find anything. So added circles based on articles I was clipping a lot of: Tech, Film, Photography, Music, Humor.

    As I read other people's posts, I'd notice if someone had the similar tastes. If someone mentioned an obscure Japanese film I liked, I'd throw them into my Film circle. In this way, the topics I shared (initially only with myself) and the people who have similar tastes were brought together.

    When I read the posts in that circle, it's pretty easy to see if the people still fit in the group. If not, I move them to a more appropriate circle, or to Following (the general dumping ground for eclectic posters) or stop following them entirely.

    5. Focus on your audience.
    When you write a post, view the circle of people you are writing to. This tributary is much calmer than the Home stream, so you aren't constantly distracted by posts popping up as you write.

    Pictures of all the people in the circle appear in the right-hand column. Their posts appear in the stream. Take a look at your audience before beginning to write. Share with them.

    Related Posts
    Let the Right One In (Why you shouldn't follow just anybody -- the bots are coming)
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/ijexSUrwi9Q
  • 16 plusses - 12 comments - 14 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-26 12:59:59
    One Person One Vote
    After reading +Paul Clarke 's post on the forced consolidation of his Google accounts, it occurs to me that the Google+ team has let the identity argument get away from them -- into a battle over pseudonymity.

    Most of us think our account as the thing we sign into to use a service (email, banking, utilities). But Google has built our Google Profile as a separate entity. Go into Google+ settings and check the Data liberation options. Your Profile is distinct from your Stream data, Buzz data, and Picasa albums.

    We users might think of our Profile as just the settings for our Google+ account, but it is not. It is one of many "reputation management tools" that Google is developing.
    http://www.ciopronews.com/ciopronews-75-20110617GoogleLaunchesNewReputationManagementTool.html

    So the underlying issue isn't about allowing pseudonymity. It's about preventing multiple identities. It's about quashing sock-puppetry. With Google products, we get +1 not +1000000. Our Google Profile is our voter registration card.

    Allowing people one vote (a single identity) is a good thing. It keeps people from gaming the +1 system. It builds reader's trust in a specific author's reputation.

    But what's the best way to verify accounts? I don't know the answer to that. But based on takedowns of William Shatner and Alyssa Milano, it's not someone legal name. If you are a rapper, an actor, or a writer your legal name might not be connected with your reputation.

    So the question is how should Google+ ensure that one person doesn't create multiple identities while at the same time allowing people to use the pen/stage name on which they've already built their reputation?
  • 4 plusses - 33 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-27 11:36:39
    Netiquette: Social Solutions not Tool Solutions
    I knew that after people were here for a few weeks that they would begin to develop guidelines for their own behavior (not rules for other's behaviors). We don't need to develop a tool solution to stop people from doing things. We need to develop communities within G+ where people behave according to their community standards.

    My own is to lead by example. That is, I try not to do the things that annoy me. (Share without introduction. Post animated GIFs. Post without considering my audience -- like personal status updates to Public.)

    Remember. It takes time to sort our social circle out and settle on some rules for interaction. Don't be in too big a hurry to impose rules on others -- instead do what Christina did and start with yourself.
  • 6 plusses - 6 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-27 12:25:26
    RESHARE:
    Interesting insights from +Aaron Goldman He figured out two points I've been trying to make: G+ is not just a social network; the need for authenticated profiles is related to the +1 system. More great stuff so click through.

    Reshared text:
    My tally on Google+: +9 -1 = Gr8!
  • 5 plusses - 2 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-29 02:25:18
    Google+: The First Four Weeks
    Week 1: Squee! New toys. Let's explore.
    Week 2: G+ Tips and tricks. Everyone's new, so everyone's an expert.
    Week 3: Wait! Where are the women?
    Week 4: Pseudonym wars. Anonymous Pseudonymous was a woman. And she's outta here.

    That sums up the activity in my circles. What happened in yours?
  • 8 plusses - 14 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-29 18:34:18
    Passport to Googleland
    In Googleland, no one is anonymous. We each have been stamped with a 21-digit ID number. I've tried to understand (but can't) why some people get upset about what [tag | label | name] other people choose to associate with that number. No matter we are called (the Romance languages have much better terminology than English in this case), Google knows who we are.

    Should I take this discussion to its logical conclusion and change my Profile name to my ID number?

    Now 21-digits is a mouthful. I'm partial to short names, myself. I suppose you could call me "2649" for short. But, I don't want to get suspended. And, I've always preferred that my friends call me "M".

    "Call me anything but don't call me late for dinner."
  • 3 plusses - 4 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-29 21:17:28
    RESHARE:
    Checking Your Connections: Be Aware of What You Share
    In all the talk about identity and privacy, the information the Google has on us is at the same time fascinating and disturbing. At least, they've given us access to it -- or some of it.

    I was very surprised at some of my supposed connections -- friends of a friend?

    Thanks to +Mark Traphagen who brought it to my attention.

    Reshared text:
    This URL is hidden in your Google profile (or, at the least, very hard to reach), but it's essential. http://www.google.com/s2/u/0/search/social?hl=en#gc will show you where and how you're connected to others in your Google account and where they pull in socially shared content.

    It's fascinating to see the depth of the connections they build, and how they're using the social web's link structure to make content appear from folks you may not even realize you're linked to.
  • 10 plusses - 2 comments - 9 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-31 01:54:47
    I Write to Discover Why
    @Tom Anderson said,
    "Personally, I'd prefer to spend my time learning something new, rather than try to convince someone I'm right. That may seem counter-intuitive to you if you've been reading my posts on here -- because I'm often making points, rather than asking questions (though I tend to do both in my posts). But writing for me is actually a form of thinking, so in many ways, I write in order to arrive at something bubbling up in my own mind. So, put simply, my "pontificating" actually is "learning" for me."

    Exactly. No wonder he has such interesting posts.
  • 2 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-31 14:42:21
    Avert Your Eyes
    Yesterday I @ mentioned someone in a conversation we were having. When I pressed "Share" someone else's name replaced the name of the person I was addressing.

    I thought, "Damn. I've made a typo. G+ must have auto-completed someone else's name without my noticing. I better edit it quick before the wrong person gets invited in and wonders WTF. Too bad they've already received notification."

    I tried it again. And then I realized G+ is showing me the personal name of a writer I've followed for years under her pen name. Until that moment, I hadn't known the writer's gender or ethnicity either -- nor did I care to, as both are irrelevant to the topic of interest we shared. I felt a bit sick and had the sudden urge to avert my eyes. G+ had revealed private details that I was not meant to know. If I, a casual reader, was meant to know these things, the writer would have told me. Her choice, no?

    Later in the day, someone who I didn't follow showed up in my Daily Reads circle. Luckily, just before I bounced them, I recognized their Profile picture. They too had been stripped of their pen name. The audience that they had spent years cultivating would not recognize them. (I didn't.) Most importantly, they no longer had a say in the decision over what they considered private information and what they chose to reveal to the public.

    I felt sorry for them. And embarrassed for them. And a little scared for them. I felt the need to hurry by and avert my eyes.

    -----
    Be sure to click through to the link. So that you can see how the US justice system works when your readers show up at your door with a .44 Magnum.

    "Then it was the stalker’s turn to take the stand. The defense attorney made a big fuss about how I had accepted his “friend request” on Facebook, nevermind that I’ve accepted over 3,000 friend requests, that it happened months before the stalking began, and that I had since blocked him."
  • 6 plusses - 5 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-31 14:47:43
    RESHARE:
    Google+ Team: Please protect my Technogran.

    Reshared text:
    An open letter to Google Plus.

    Dear +Vic Gundotra and everyone else associated with the Google+ venture. Yes, I know that everyone is fed up and tired of hearing about the name situation and rules on here, but I need to voice my feelings on the subject. I know that as a pensioner from the UK and a mere speck in the grand scheme of things, my opinions as an individual will probably count for nought and be completely ignored, but still, I’m going to make my feelings known about the whole name saga that has unfolded in the last few days.

    Since buying a computer and beginning to use the Internet, I have called myself Technogran. The reason why I decided to give myself a pseudonym rather than be known by my real name are actually pretty simple. I am a female. I am also a lone parent and carer, looking after my Down’s Syndrome daughter. I am a senior citizen. As a member of society I very often feel vulnerable. If I say something on the Internet that someone else doesn’t agree with, I need to know that they won’t be able to find out where I live and cause me any trouble. I also want to be sure that no one can use my name via Identity theft. In other words, whilst being on and using the Internet I NEED to feel safe.

    Over a number of years, people have become accustomed to my usage of the name Technogran. During those years, I began to help new users of computers use the different features and programs associated with Windows Live. I was rewarded for my efforts by being made a Windows Live MVP. Since joining Google + I have been recently posting some more how-to’s to help newbies get used to using Google+ on my blogger blog at http://techno-granny.blogspot.com and many users have already made use of them. Please don’t think I am ‘blowing my own trumpet’ here, I am just trying to demonstrate that its very easy to find out exactly what ‘Technogran’ has been up to whilst on the Internet in the past, thereby proving that I don’t call myself that so that I can ‘spam’ anyone or get up to any skulduggery online.

    A quick ‘Google’ search of my pseudonym reveals my past exploits to anyone who cares to find out about me. Of course there is another person who calls herself Technogran, I certainly wasn’t the first person to use that pseudonym and it often occurs that someone has taken that name when I join a new network, such as Twitter. On there I had to become Technogranma unfortunately but all of my linked names and networks, blogs and other sites I use are listed for anyone to peruse in my ‘links’ on my profile. Which leads me to the other annoyance. The fact that I had already been using quite a few Google sites such as Blogger, Picasa, Buzz, Google reader, all using the pseudonym Technogran. Even my existing profile was set up using that name. So why on the introduction of Google+ where YOU are now insisting making our profiles public is the use of Technogran no longer acceptable?

    I also have come to the conclusion that insisting on people using a ‘first and last’ name won’t stop the spammers or others who join social networking sites just to get up to no good. Who on earth would be so silly as to call themselves ‘Technogran’ if they were up to doing something bad? I suppose in hindsight, I should have called myself ‘Arianne Black’ or something like that. Made a name up in my head and as long as it had a first name and a last, that would have been okay. How on earth do you know that someone’s name is bona fide? None of us can know exactly who anyone is on the Internet, we have to take a lot in faith, and build our friendships on how that person conducts themselves online. If they are rude, aggressive in tone etc, then we simply block them or unfriend them. So for me, its how someone conducts themselves online over the years that should be the deciding factor, not the name that they call themselves.

    I was under the misguided impression that the internet was free and that living in the UK I was residing in a democratic country. I feel that its an erosion of my liberties and freedoms if I cannot protect my privacy online by being able to have a pseudonym. As long as my conduct is not hurtful or spiteful, cause others distress whilst I use that pseudonym and that most know me by that name, then I should be allowed to use it, as long as it is available on that particular service or social network. I don’t want to have to leave Google + as I have been really enjoying using the whole social network and the valuable discussions taking place on there, and I was so pleased to be able to take part in the field trial, but the whole ‘name’ saga has left a very bitter taste.

    I had hoped that Google would take a different stance to the dictatorial one adopted by Facebook. I despised having to use my real name on there and I only used it for networking with family and a few friends. I am keeping my fingers crossed that you will have a change of heart regarding the use of pseudonyms, and as long as you can prove that the pseudonym is the one that person has used on the internet for some time AND that the person using that pseudonym has conducted themselves in a decent manner whilst using that pseudonym, then they be allowed to use it as their public profile name on Google+.

    thank you for reading

    TG
  • 7 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-31 16:38:33
    RESHARE:
    KISSmetrics Tracking Explained
    Apparently there is a way to opt out.
    http://www.kissmetrics.com/user-privacy

    Reshared text:
    I saw a post on Slashdot about a new method for user tracking. As expected the post itself was not helpful and the comments were pretty moronic. The article linked to was also fairly useless but that article did point to one from the people who implemented the tracking and the description there points to, but doesn't completely explain, the method they're using, and it is a pretty ingenious hack.

    Servers can use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_ETag ETags as part of a caching implementation. When the browser requests a resource it sends the ETag value it has. The server is meant to compare this with the current ETag value for the resource, perhaps calculated by hashing the resource contents or just derived from the modification date, and if there is a match just send back a 304 Not Modified response. That way the resource itself doesn't have to sent.

    To use this for tracking you need to notice two things. First, javascript can be loaded from sites other than the one associated with the top level url, and two the ETag doesn't actually have to mean what the standard says.

    So your HTML from site A includes a request for a small script, say x.js, from the tracking domain. The tracking domain returns the script together with an ETag value, but the ETag value, instead of representing some information about the resource itself, is a unique opaque identifier for the user. Now when a user goes to a second site B that site also requests the same script, x.js, from the tracking domain. The browser recognizes that it has a copy of the script so it also sends along the ETag value it has as part of the request. Now the server has the ETag value, which identifies the user, and can keep track of their visits to site A and site B using the referer value in the request to know the site the request came from.

    Combine this with javascript that recreates cookies if they are removed, uses browser persistent storage and flash cookies and you have a tracking system that's pretty difficult to defeat. Well, apart from the obvious solution of blocking all requests from the tracking domain. It gets more difficult when more that one company starts to do this sort of thing though, how do you, in a generic way recognize that this is going on?
  • 2 plusses - 2 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-07-31 17:02:42
    RESHARE:
    G+ Tips: Moving a group of people to a new circle
    Via +Trey Harris More tips in his post below.
    • Remember the "open circle in new tab" trick to add a bunch of people from one circle to another? It's now much easier. Just drag a circle—as if you were reordering it—up into the top half of the circle editor, where the people's cards are. The circle will expand into a new tab and you can drag its members into other circles.

    Reshared text:
    My posts about workaround hacks are getting more and more irrelevant every day! Here are some great new features that have recently rolled out:

    • Forget the funny character prefixes or numbering tricks to order your circles. Just go into your circle editor and drag your circles around! Whatever order you put them into is the order you'll see them in your left-hand bar, in add-to-circles hovercards, and anywhere else you see your circles listed.

    • Remember the "open circle in new tab" trick to add a bunch of people from one circle to another? It's now much easier. Just drag a circle—as if you were reordering it—up into the top half of the circle editor, where the people's cards are. The circle will expand into a new tab and you can drag its members into other circles.

    • The "create a temporary circle to easily +-mention people earlier in a comment thread who are unsearchable or have popular names" trick is also totally unnecessary now. The +-mentioning popup preloads people already in a comment thread.

    • No more going to Picasa to change the names of your photo albums. You can click on a photo album in your Photos → "Your albums" view, then click on the title; then you can edit it from inside Google+. (You can't change the "Profile photos" and "Photos from posts" album names, they're special.)

    The team is doing a great job responding to feature requests rapidly, so more and more of my hacks will become unnecessary over time. But don't worry—I'm sure I'll find more hacks and workarounds for you!
  • 5 plusses - 2 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-01 12:30:55
    Designed for Asymmetrical Relationships: Avoiding the Echo Chamber
    Google+ does more than allows asymmetrical relationships; it encourages them. I've written many times about the downsides to follow-back guilt. Here's another: you're creating an echo chamber.

    If everyone I read in turn follows me back, then pretty soon we're all running in the same circles. We're all passing along the same content. It doesn't take long for our friends to reach a breaking point and start screaming for tool solutions that will prevent the same shared link from appearing in their stream multiple times.

    If instead, you populate your circles so that the people whom you read (your sources) are a different set than the people for whom you write (your readers), then you provide something of value to your readers. You are sharing content that they would have not discovered on their own.

    If you're here primarily to share status updates with established friends, then creating symmetrical relationships and posting privately is the best solution for you. If you are here primarily to discover great content and share it, then your sources and your readers shouldn't overlap too much.

    Of course, as in all things Google+, this is not an either/or choice. You can do both.

    Related Posts
    Read. Write. Share. (It's about the content.)
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/VrUsdWUhLND

    Let the Right One In (Don't cave to follow-back guilt.)
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/ijexSUrwi9Q
  • 11 plusses - 14 comments - 8 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-02 17:36:27
    Extended Circles Spam and How to Stop It
    #circles
    One of the brilliant things about Google+ is that, for the most part, it is the reader who gets to decide what to see. No one can push content onto you that you didn't sign up for, unless...one of your contacts lets them in the door via extended circles.

    Ideally extended circles let you expand your circle by making your posts visible to friends of friends. Of course, we don't live in an ideal of world and the brands, the marketers, the social media gurus, and the spammers are already exploring ways to exploit this hole in the pull model so that they can push content into your stream.

    They will add you to their circles so you get a notification. If you've been ignoring my advice, you will follow them back. Even if you don't follow them back, they will push content into your Incoming stream and the Incoming streams of all the people you follow. The latest twist: if you follow them back, they will use new tools which block your content in their stream.

    These people aren't interested in what you have to say. They are only interested in access to your stream and your circles.

    Protect Your Friends and Encourage them to Protect You
    1. Edit you profile.
    Extended circles only works if your contacts are visible to the person posting to Extended circles. So the safest thing to do is hide the list of people who you follow from "Anyone on the web". You can also select which of your circles are visible.

    I trust the people I follow not to abuse extended circles. Currently, I have a lot of friends who know each other only by their blog names. Thanks to Google's policy on pseudonyms, we're having a hard time finding each other. So, if I add one of them to my circle, I want them to see the other people I've found -- so that we can rebuild our community here on Google+. That's why I let anyone I've added to a circle see who else is in my circles. In the future I may have to limit this further.

    2. Don't add gurus to your circles.
    Well, if they've already reached their 5000 limit, it's okay. Then they can't add you back and so spammers can't reach you through them. (But if Google+ caves to their demands to increase the follower limit, you are opening yourself up to abuse.)

    Also, if it's someone like +Chris Brogan who has followed step 1 and hidden the people he follows, it's okay. He's protecting the people he follows from Extended circle spam. Way to go, Chris! If we could get all our friends to do this, we could foil the spammers.

    3. Turn about is fair play.
    Since the marketers are developing tools to follow us without reading our content (https://plus.google.com/113117251731252114390/posts/UyMGYfQGtRN), I think it's fair to turn the tables and read them without following them.

    Remember. You don't have to add someone to your circles to read or comment on their posts. In fact, with highly popular authors, you have little incentive to do so. First of all, they're going to flood your stream with posts ("The Scoble Effect"). Secondly, everything they're going to share with you, they share publicly. So just go to their Profile page and read it.

    If you can't remember them by name, you can subscribe to their Profile pages with RSS. (http://plusfeed.appspot.com/)

    Or you can just build your own bookmark page with links to their Profile pages.

    Related Posts

    Let the Right One In
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/ijexSUrwi9Q
  • 30 plusses - 26 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-03 13:19:54
    RESHARE:
    For those of you looking for an interesting discussions rather than just mind-numbing entertainment: Google+ and community standards.

    My own opinion is that when one signs into a community, one agrees to follow the standards. Self-imposed/community standards are not the same as free speech censorship by a government. Do I agree with all the standards. No. But I also understand that Google is a company which has to protect itself from lawsuits under a wide range of conflicting international laws. In order to comply, Google must follow the most restrictive standards.

    https://plus.google.com/109083396980587151144/posts/KxHDZpAZ8qE

    Reshared text:
    Tags: #post, #bullypulpit, #google+, #notsafeforwork

    First, should the following post appear garbled or incomplete, accept my honest apology. Ever since this morning, I am trying to fight my way through a slew of errors impairing my ability to post comments, and I fear it might also turn my posts into mush, at least until the problem goes away. Thus said, here goes:

    I am sure most of the people around here are aware of the Not Safe For Work problem, caused by Google policy concerning explicit material. The passage from relevant Google policy states the following: "Do not distribute content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Do not drive traffic to commercial pornography sites. Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content. For example, do not use a photo that is a close-up of a person’s buttocks or cleavage."

    After a widely known ZDNet blogger, +Violet Blue, has raised the issue publicly - and in no uncertain terms at that - the whole situation became even more concerning (I suspect Google+ team is hammering away at it as we speak, sans +Vic Gundotra, since he is on well deserved break). I cannot help but to highlight a few comments she has included to support her cause for providing Google users with a way to moderate their content, such as a jab at "religious people and children", a thinly veiled anti-American notion from someone who claimed that Google is "imposing one nation’s set of value judgements on everything using some arbitrary scale", and a complaint that Google has a "nanny attitude". To borrow a phrase from Samuel L. Jackson, allow me, ladies and gentlemen, to retort.

    On principle, I stand against any form of censorship whatsoever, regardless of the entity enforcing restrictions upon freedom of expression (at least until said freedom is within boundaries as defined by Zechariah Chafee). It is also my firm belief, however, that current Google policy on sexually explicit content is essential to the company as a method of safeguarding itself against potential threats, coming not from Google users themselves, but from individuals and organizations, who would seek to use any example of Google's potential laxity in this regard as a way to advance their own agenda. Why am I convinced of this fact? Because some people are ignorant, and will remain so, some people want a story to go on the front page of their yellow press newspaper, and some people like to employ lawyers like me for fun and profit. Let me supply you with two examples:

    1. On a dark, stormy night, after a steamy chat session, a male user shares a few quite racy photos of himself with a female user. Unfortunately, either due to his own error, or an unforeseen glitch in Google+ code - and we all know those things happen - the images become publicly available. Who's name, apart from both users in question, is dragged through the mud and dissected by journalists?

    2. On an equally dark and stormy night, again, after a steamy chat session, a female user this time shares a few quite racy photos of herself with a male user. Unfortunately, in her country, age of consent is 15 - just like where I am from - while he lives in, say, Virginia, where it is illegal to engage in sexual activity before reaching the age of 18. Can I hear the outrage, and if so, directed at whom?

    The answer, to both questions, is "Google". Not just the users, Google, a major corporate entity with deep pockets and too much to loose due to bad publicity. In a world filled with trigger-happy lawyers and tabloid journalists willing to overlook important details in order to sell a sensational story filled with sex, crime and corporate mismanagement, Google has no other options but to impose artificial restrictions that are not rational in the world of adults who actually have consensual relations of sexual nature, but perfectly sane and normal when you take issues such as liability, both civil and criminal into consideration. In fact, I find it pretty odd that +Violet Blue, while being staunchly against censorship as far as matters of sexuality go, is so keen on Google policy concerning hate speech, which is also quite restrictive, and also not just because hate speech is generally vile, but because the company does not want to find itself in legal quagmires, say, in Germany, with its strict laws concerning propagation of National Socialist ideology. Besides, not even taking the aforementioned problem into consideration, isn't restricting hate speech also censorship? Are the users not entitled to speak their mind, and be openly condemned by their peers, should they post something that goes against social norms? I'm sorry, but again, on principle, I'm on the same page +David Brenner is.

    Finally, in order to clarify my stance on censorship, allow me to offer you a short explanation. Being a citizen of a state that once had been a Soviet satellite, I am acutely aware what censorship is, enough to find it abhorrent. I live in a country, where official, state censorship, had ended barely twenty years ago, and where the building housing a defunct institution aptly named "Main Office of Control of Press, Publications and Shows" still stands, a few blocks from my workplace, actually. There are people who still remember the subtle touch of a censor's pen, or the need to stop voicing their opinions due to the very real possibility of being questioned by gentlemen working for the Ministry of Public Security. Let this be a disclaimer, in case someone would like to expose me for being an enemy of free speech, and any other freedoms that we are entitled to.
  • 6 plusses - 2 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-03 17:09:55
    Another one of my friends pushed off Google+. The wonderful Documentally. I met him this year at SXSWi. This is a man with whom I've shared lunch, invited into my home, and driven around town.

    He is an authentic person with and authentic voice. He is Documentally.
    Please follow him on:
    Twitter:@Docmentally
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Documentally
  • 4 plusses - 8 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-04 18:52:01
    New Twitter
    For months Twitter has been threatening "You will soon be moved to New Twitter." Today was the day. They moved my name but not my tweets, followers, following, or lists. I can't even sign out in order to try signing in again to see if it will somehow reset.

    All I see is a black bar (very like Google+) and, beneath it, an entirely blank white screen.

    Apparently I'm not alone. Reports of the disappeared are cropping up. Perhaps I'll just go back to blogging and email.
  • 2 plusses - 5 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-08 21:01:37
    Existing Relationships or Potential Relationships
    One of the things I find very limiting about Facebook is that it maps the relationships you have. In fact, it makes it more difficult to move on with your life, to shed people with whom you have only a tenuous, unproductive connection. Do I really want to acknowledge a connection to someone because we attended the same high school -- even if we never knew each other back then? Our paths crossed but we did not interact. In itself, that is not a meaningful connection.

    Do I have more in common with the people who shop at the same bookstore, go to the same movie theater, or eat at the same restaurants? Potentially. Although these people are strangers to me, we share common tastes. And to me, chosen proximity is a more valuable relationship than accidental proximity.


    #socialnetworking
  • 6 plusses - 3 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-10 16:03:41
    Wildflower Center: A Plea for Drought-Relief
    A message from Susan K. Rieff, Executive Director
    Central Texas has been hit by record-breaking heat and drought. Day after day, temperatures soar to 100 degrees and higher under clear blue skies with no rain in sight. Our hardy native wildflowers have taken it in stride, putting on a beautiful display of blooms. But the people who visit the Wildflower Center aren't nearly so hardy and, as the heat and drought drag on, our visitors have faded away.

    The Wildflower Center relies on admissions for 30 percent of its budget. More revenue comes from sales at our gift store and café. Fewer visitors mean reduced sales there, too. The entire region is facing restrictions on water use due to the drought. The Wildflower Center also faces serious restrictions on our education and research programs due to the decline in admissions.

    We are carrying on the environmental work that can and will change the way landscapes are designed, constructed and maintained. We are conserving native plants threatened by shrinking habitat. We are getting children outdoors and acquainting them with nature. And we are innovating in ways that improve our ecosystems, such as developing a resource-thrifty native lawn grass and green roofs that cool buildings and catch rainwater. We will not slow our progress.

    But we urgently need your help. Your donations, no matter how small, could make all the difference. Your donations could make this challenging year a total success.

    We can't count on anyone else for rescue. The Wildflower Center is now and always has been totally self-supporting. We greatly value our relationship with The University of Texas at Austin, but the university cannot provide significant financial support. Nor do we receive city, state or federal funds except for some specific grant programs.

    We need to raise $100,000 before August 31. Donations of any kind will help us meet our financial needs. Please act now to help us survive the drought! Send your check today to:

    Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
    4801 La Crosse Avenue
    Austin, Texas 78739

    Or make a donation online.

    Thank you.

    Susan K. Rieff, Executive Director
  • 5 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-10 17:27:48
    No Public Posts
    #socialnetworking
    +Guy Kawasaki is credited with saying, "There are two types of people on Twitter: those who say they want more followers and liars." As usual, given an either/or choice, I start digging for a third alternative. Bravo, Google+: the tool for readers as well as writers.

    Social media gurus, whose livelihood depends on being read, are not necessarily the best model for the rest of us. Of course it's great that Google+ (like blogs and Twitter) gives us all a speaking platform and access to an audience. But unlike blogs and Twitter, that is not all it does. Google+ also provides excellent tools for content consumers and for social networking unrelated to self-marketing.

    Here people can share as publicly or privately as they like. Most of us choose to take advantage of both capabilities, to use the tools Google+ alone provides in order to share with the appropriate audience. Only the most egomaniacal among us posts everything publicly.

    The next time you look at someone's profile and don't see any public posts, don't assume that they aren't using Google+. Just assume they have nothing to share with you. And if your next question is "Why should I follow them?" the answer is probably, "You shouldn't." Follow who you want to read.

    Why did they follow you? Maybe they thought you had something interesting to say.

    Related

    Let the Right One In
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/ijexSUrwi9Q
    Read. Write. Share.
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/VrUsdWUhLND
  • 13 plusses - 5 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-11 20:53:07
    Summer Reading
    I've come back to reading Science Fiction after some years absence. Now to see what I've missed. Or what old favorites I want to reread.

    Congrats +John Scalzi on Old Man's War.
  • 2 plusses - 5 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-12 15:32:49
    Pushy People
    [they regarded me] "with a polite lack of curiosity which seemed to say: "We should not dream of being so offensive as to suggest that you never met us before." Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

    When I first read this passage, when I was younger and as curious as a cat, I didn't understand it. Since then I have met too many people who treat a first encounter as if it were a job interview or an application for a dating site. How refreshing it is to be in the presence of someone who talks to you as if they already know you -- who does not feel the need to begin with your personal history.

    I've come to appreciate the rare people who understand the pleasure of letting a relationship evolve. You listen. You talk. You discover. Topics of mutual interest give rise to more personal revelations. Conversely, probing questions result in shields up.

    So no. I'm not going to fill in the blanks before you even know me. I'm not going to submit a resume for your friendship. If you're not the kind of person who relishes the process of getting to know someone, then you're wasting your time with me. Move along, pushy people.
    #interestgraph
  • 15 plusses - 6 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-13 17:41:10
    Let the Right One In: GIGO Edition
    Robert Scoble is slowly coming around to understanding that if you follow everyone willy-nilly it mucks with the Google+ system.

    +Robert Scoble complains: "Look at +Leo Laporte for instance. His main stuff he's been doing here lately is just location checkins. No value at all and just adds noise to the system (that's another problem Google needs to fix, why these things need to be in our feed just makes no sense to me)."

    Why are these things in your feed, Robert? Because you put them there. You follow people out of habit, even when you're not interested in what they write. And then you get upset when the algorithm for suggestions of people who might interest you (based on who you've added to your circle) "doesn't work"!?! Typically, your solution is for more tool solutions. What you should do is change your own behavior to reflect your true interests.

    So, people, the next time you are looking at your stream and wondering why there is so much stuff of zero value to you, don't do as Robert does. Act a little more independently and stop following people who don't provide you with value.

    Google+ gives you complete control over what you choose to read.
    * Don't carry over bad habits from other systems. Guilt is not a virtue.
    * Celebrate asymmetrical relationships. Who you read and who you write for can (and often should be) different groups. Distinguish between your sources and your audience.
    * If someone is merely a contact, keep them in Gmail contacts. There is no reason to read the musings of your plumber -- unless your plumber writes fascinating stuff.
    * If someone is a celebrity or guru who only shares public posts with you, don't add them to your circles. Bookmark them or follow them with RSS.
  • 9 plusses - 10 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-14 17:40:34
    Not Playing As Designed
    I see what happened to Monopoly (as explained in the linked article) happening to Google+. Someone doesn't understand (or doesn't like) a feature and tells their friends of a workaround or a way to circumvent the system. They pass the hack on to their friends who pass it on to their friends.

    Pretty soon people are playing by a set of rules that they imposed on themselves but which cripple the real features of the system which would have set it apart from other systems.

    Jonny Nexus wrote, "The first question is why is everyone playing a variant of the actual rules without actually realising it. Well the answer here is that no-one ever actually reads the rules of Monopoly. Monopoly is something you learn through word-of-mouth in childhood, like riding a bike or tying your shoelaces. Your mother, who never read the rules but was instead taught them by her father, taught you, and one day you will teach your children, again without reading the rules first. She passed on broken rules to you and you'll pass them on to your kids.

    "So the set of rules we play by is the shared cultural set of rules passed down through the generations, and not the ones written on the booklet inside the box."

    via +Amy Sundberg
  • 5 plusses - 8 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-15 22:25:09
    Build it and the Trolls will Come
    If you've been involved in any passionate discussions on G+ lately, you might have noticed that the trolls have arrived. Currently their mode of operation is to circle people with whom they disagree, cut and paste their garbage message on every public post those people make, and scrape those people's contacts and then follow their friends -- which enables them to insinuate themselves into any conversation that the person they're trolling is reading.

    Edit Your Profile
    The safest thing to do is hide the list of people who you follow from "Anyone on the web". You can also select which of your circles are visible. (See screenshot.)

    I suggested this a couple of weeks ago when the extended circle spam began. I know we all like to share and to see who someone is following because 1. we can see if we have anyone in common, and 2. we can discover new people to follow. But once a troll starts harassing you and your friends, your options for dealing with him are very limited.

    Blocking
    Sharing a post publicly gives read permissions to the world. Thus blocking does not (and should not) prevent anyone from reading a public post. If the post is yours and you've blocked someone, this should prevent the person you've blocked from doing two things:
    1. Commenting on the post.
    2. Seeing the post in his stream even if he has added you to his circle. He can still go to your Profile page and see the post -- just like anyone on the Internet (even if they don't have a Google+ account) can do.

    Blocking indicates that you do not want to interact with this person on your posts or see them in your stream. It is not the same as reporting someone for a violation. All the Republicans in America could block all the Democrats in America and all it would mean is that they didn't want to listen to them.

    Shutting Down Comments
    However, once a person has commented on a post (before you discover that they are a troll and block him), you cannot revoke his read/write permissions on that post. You choices at this point are pretty onerous.
    1. Block him.
    2. Shut down comments on the post.
    3. Delete his comments.
    4. Reshare the post.
    Yes, I know the discussion will be cut in half and that people in the original discussion won't know about the redirect (unless you edit the original post to tell them). But once a troll has trashed your post, it's trashed.

    Limited Sharing
    Sharing only to our circles is a pretty unpalatable suggestion to most of us in these early days of Google+. We are still using the discovery tools to find and build an audience. If we wanted to remain in the confines of a closed system, we'd stick with Facebook or LiveJournal. If this is our only option, then the trollers and spammers will rule the Public posts and the rest of us will live in enclaves. It's impossible to "get the message out" if we can't post publicly.

    Community Blacklist
    When you block someone, you prevent them from commenting only on your posts, not posts of the people you interact with. Ultimately, it is up to the person who shared the post to block the troll, not you. So talk with them.

    You might want to create a blacklist which you share with a select circle -- so your friends have a heads up on who to block before the troll attacks. Remember, once a troll is in a conversation, you cannot revoke read/write permissions for that post.

    Abuse of Power
    Being obnoxious or irritating or having a dissenting opinion is not against the terms of service. I keep reading comments that we should be able to block, shut out, and report people who invade our social networking "space". As long as that space is a public forum, you can't really want that to happen -- or else those same strategies will be applied to shut down your opinion.

    Related
    Let the Right One In
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/ijexSUrwi9Q

    Extended Circles Spam and How to Stop It
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/118011560178264222649/posts/8nQ2ZCZmT1s
  • 34 plusses - 59 comments - 297 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-17 13:10:53
    Content Scrapers Are Here, Too
    Shortly after +Robert Scoble reshared my post on trolls yesterday and it came to the attention of a wider audience, reader +Chris Clark gave me the heads up that he'd seen it reposted on Inside Google Plus .

    I followed his link and sure enough, two of my posts had been combined to create one post -- used without my knowledge, permission, or attribution. I left a comment saying as much. This morning my comment had been deleted but, they had edited my article and linked back to my Google+ profile. As far as I looked, it is the only attribution given to any "author" on the site.

    This doesn't satisfy me. Someone else is still monetizing my content without my permission and without compensating me. I write for a living so this hurts. (Even if I didn't, I'd still consider it stealing.)

    Their site map contains rules for becoming an author.

    "We do not accept guest blogging account request on this website anymore. If you want to submit your articles, please contact info[at]googleplustip.com."

    "We received many re-written articles and discarded all of them, many previous guest blogging author published such articles and all were deleted."

    If you go to the site map, they have an "Authors" category but no authors listed. No authors but plenty of articles. A complete list is on the site map. Check and see if any of yours are there. (I'm not providing a direct link because I do not want to drive traffic to their site -- get the URL from the screenshot below.)
  • 15 plusses - 23 comments - 11 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-20 21:20:21
    Our "Inauthentic" Forebears
    How interesting it would be to have Ben Franklin on Google+. Or would it? How could we put our trust in the ideas of a man who is such a fake, right? I'm sure the self-righteous mob would quickly report Silence Dogood and Busy Body, while Benevolus wouldn't get past Google's own algorithm. How dare Franklin speak for democracy when he isn't even willing to stand behind his own words.
  • 14 plusses - 38 comments - 19 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-21 19:15:36
    Deleting Comments and Branching Discussions
    #netiquette
    Recently +Steven Streight and I discussed whether it was okay to delete comments or was it a type of censorship. It's absolutely okay (and if you don't believe me, listen to author +John Scalzi -- see link below).

    My House, My Rules
    First of all, I'm under no obligation to provide anyone with a bully pulpit. I'm the host of my post and if I don't like the way that someone is acting in my house, I'll bounce them. If they want to spout off, they have their own account where they can set their own standards among their circles. I'm not going to give anyone netiquette advice on how to behave at their place. But I do expect them to respect the rules at mine. We do not need one standard for everyone; we need to respect the standards people set for themselves.

    My post is my space where I'm free to do what I want and they have to play by my rules. Conversely, my comments exist in someone else's space where they are free to do what they want and I have to play by their rules. If they delete one of my comments, I'm not going to cry about it.

    Branch the Discussion
    If you're worried someone will delete a comment, then the best tactic is to reshare the post and put your comment in the reshare as an introduction. That way you are in control. In fact, that's one of the best ways to reshare something -- to provide added value when introducing it, to explain why you agree with the original author or why you don't. This turns you from a reader into a content producer.

    That's my policy on deleting comments...in theory. In action, I've only deleted two comments in seven weeks. One person got really off topic. The other forgot we were speaking publicly and revealed personal information. What I did in both cases was copy their comments and start a new discussions with just them.

    My Standards
    I've been lucky so far to have interesting and engaging readers. I'm always more interested in a good discussion than mindless agreement. As long as people stay on topic and focus on the issues, then you're welcome here.
  • 14 plusses - 27 comments - 11 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-22 16:14:28
    G+ Tips: Letterbox Circle #circles
    I use Google+ rather than Gmail these days to have conversations with individual friends. Google+ has the quick interaction of messaging plus the ability to write longer missives. Google+ posts feel more informal and conversational to me than email -- even when they are just as long.

    However, when I write to one or more people by name (rather than by circle), the only place I can see that post is on my Profile page where it quickly gets lost among my Public posts.

    So I created a new empty circle (like the ones I have for Bookmarks, Drafts, and Feedback). I call it Letterbox.

    Using the Letterbox Circle
    1. Open the Letterbox circle to compose your letter.
    This keeps the main stream from distracting you as you write. It also automatically adds the Letterbox circle to the distribution box.
    2. Enter the addressee's name with an @ mention on the first line of the post.
    This adds the addressee to the distribution box.
    It also acts as a salutation -- a social convention which highlights the fact that this post is shared with just the person you are addressing.
    Note: If you want to keep the conversation private (that is, turn off resharing and not allow the recipient to add anyone else to the conversation) then after sharing the post, lock it.

    Using my new Letterbox circle, all my letters are now in one place where it's easy to monitor the conversation or pick it up again.
  • 21 plusses - 21 comments - 13 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-23 14:03:48
    RESHARE:
    Over +Guy Kawasaki 's yesterday, I discovered some people who didn't know that the j key lets you jump to the next post. And if Guy is in your stream, the j key is your best friend. So even though comment collapsing has been implemented since I wrote my stream navigation tips, I thought it was time to reshare these tips. The j key is faster than scrolling or comment collapsing.

    Related: J jump K back
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/118011560178264222649/posts/7hTMeVmDuJp
    Comment on the original
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/hNkCJGE8omA

    Reshared text:
    Navigating the Churning Stream
    #googleplustips #circles #streamPeople who invite 280 people into their circle and then whine about how noisy their home stream is are like people who drive on the freeway and complain it's crowded.

    If you feel like you've bitten off more than you can chew, here's some ways to navigate the roaring waters.
    1. Press the j key to jump over posts. This is faster than scrolling and gets you past long or boring posts quickly.
    2. Always read by circle. Skip the Home stream. Venture off into a quieter tributary.
    3. Set up some circles based on how often you want to pull information from those people: Breaking News/Important, Daily Reads, Casual Reads, Moments of Boredom and Procrastination.
    4. If someone annoys you, hover over their name and move them to a less read circle.
    5. If someone consistently annoys you, create a circle for loudmouths and stick them in it.
    For example. My family has sorted itself into two circles: relatives I like to read on a daily basis (Family circle) and relatives who share too much (Family Loudmouths circle). I read the Family circle every day and the Family Loudmouths much less often. When I want to write to my family, I write to both circles. From their perspective, we look like one big happy family.
    6. If they really, really annoy you, unfollow them.
    They won't be notified. If they're still following you, they'll see all your posts. And if they're not, why are you following someone who drives you up the wall?
    If they share with you, you can see their posts in the Incoming stream. They won't muddy up your Home stream.
  • 7 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-23 17:43:49
    Copyright Fights
    The music industry can shut down your Internet with no evidence but the movie industry can steal without fear from writers.
    ---------------------
    “It’s not the law that protects you,” Mr. Marder said, recounting how a copyright case of his own recently gained new momentum when an anonymous source sent him documents that the studio had insisted did not exist. “It is like the Mafia. Those that have the juice, the power to punish people who don’t play along, get protected.”
  • 5 plusses - 1 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-23 22:56:32
    Judging You by What You Do, Not Who You Are
    I don't want to know your name. I don't want to know your race, your gender, your age, height, or weight. I don't want to know the color of your eyes. I don't want to know your marital status, where you live, or what diseases you have. I don't want to dismiss you as part of that group, some ~ism, or that alien other.

    I want a chance to know you before I make that judgment.

    So don't come to me with a seal of approval from your little group, from your private club. Don't hold up your litmus test. I don't want to know whether you're an atheist or a Dominionist. I don't want to know who you voted for. I don't want to know your political views on global warming, gay rights, or abortion.

    Not yet. Not first thing.

    I want your words. I want your ideas. I want your observations. I want you to tell me the reason why. Why you liked that movie. Why you eat bacon on ice cream. Why you can't support my line of reasoning.

    And the other stuff, it will come out naturally. Our relationship will evolve. Trust will grow (or be broken). We will confide more and more with each other. Or we'll go our separate ways. We will encourage. We will disappoint. We'll get into fights. We'll comfort.

    Sharing demographic traits provides an immediate but false sense of intimacy. Your badge, your name means nothing to me. I want to peel away the layers and discover.
  • 38 plusses - 53 comments - 20 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-24 02:59:35
    Different Forms for Different Content
    In the linked article (excerpted below) +Nathan Pensky asks whether the Twitter user composes aware of the constraints of Twitter or is he just reacting to them. For me, it's a bit of both. I don't just sit down at my social networking site to chat and then realize I have only 140 characters so I better make it snappy.

    Generally, I have something to say or someone in mind to say it to and then I choose the most appropriate tool and forum. Will I write a post on one of my blogs, type a Tweet, compose an email, or start a discussion on Google+?

    I've known for a long time that the tools I use shape my writing. I write differently in long hand than when I'm using the computer. When Adobe shut down my favorite word processor (FrameMaker) it took years for me to adjust to composing in plain text.

    Not all my Tweets are clever. But every time I think of a funny line, I know it will be a Tweet. So "do we imagine a Twitter user going through the same process?" Yes. Sometimes.

    <blockquote> (Emphasis mine.)
    "To illustrate the difference of authorial agency, it may be helpful to imagine a narrative about how an epigram and a Tweet are created, respectively. With epigrams, we would probably imagine a writer deciding to enforce the epigrammatic form upon his or her ideas before sitting down to actually write the epigram. The epigrammatist would want to bring about a certain effect, and resigns upon the epigrammatic method as the best, then proceeds on to applying that method into his or her creative process.

    But do we imagine a Twitter user going through the same process? No, we imagine the Twitter-user signing up for Twitter not to impose any effect on his or her ideas but for "social" reasons. Thus we imagine the shortened form coming to the Twitterer second-hand. In other words, we imagine that the writer of the epigram has reasons that have to do with the form of the epigram itself, while the Twitter user has reasons having little to do with Twitter's shortened form. The form of a Tweet was resolved upon by someone else than the author.

    Operating on the basis of these imagined narratives, the epigram would seem to give the writer much more agency. The self-imposed epigram is a self-imposed, formal discipline, while the form of the Tweet, as imposed from the outside, is more of a task-master, one which yells "Sorry, you'll need to be cleverer!" when the writer strays from the form."</blockquote>
  • 6 plusses - 0 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-25 17:15:33
    RESHARE:
    Blogs Get a Kickstart from Google+
    +Mike Elgan might think blogs are dead -- but they're getting a big kickstart from Google+.

    "Clicking the +1 button is a great way to highlight content for others when they search on Google. But sometimes you want to start a conversation right away—at least with certain groups of friends. So beginning today, we're making it easy for Google+ users to share webpages with their circles, directly from the +1 button. Just +1 a page as usual and look for the new "Share on Google+" option. From there you can comment, choose a circle and share."

    Reshared text:
    We are rolling out new features to the +1 button that you see all around the web. The most important feature is the ability to share a web page to your circles!
  • 3 plusses - 1 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-28 15:07:54
    G+ Tips: Ignore vs Block
    #googleplustips #notifications
    The Ignore option is for people who feel that their Incoming stream (the people who follow them but they haven't followed back) is too noisy. Basically it does the same thing as Block as far as the Incoming stream is concerned. You won't see their posts, there. But Ignore doesn't prevent that person who is following you from commenting on the posts you've shared with them (Public posts or direct-addressed posts). Block does.

    Another thing that Ignore does is remove that person from the list of "People who have added you." So, if one of the reasons you don't want to be added to someone's circles is because you don't want to give even the appearance that you are associated with them (like a porn site), then Ignore them. [Note: You would think Block also did this. If it does, it is not documented.] Clever readers will realize that this makes it easy to see if someone is actively ignoring you.

    The Ignore option is one of the features that I think got implemented quickly because Googlers eat their own dog food. I can imagine Vic Gundrota and the developers on the Google+ team getting fed up pretty quickly by people who @ mention them every time they have a complaint or recommendation. Now Vic can ignore your endless notifications but you can still comment on his posts.

    Both Ignore and Block are options for managing interactions with your readers, people who follow you not people who you follow. If someone you read is too noisy, you have the option to mute their posts on a case-by-case basis or to stop following them. You should consider the latter.

    If the person is a public figure who doesn't follow you back, you should just stop following them. You can read all the posts that they are sharing with you on their profile page (use bookmarks or RSS). If the person is a personal friend of yours, then talk it over with them. Tell them what topics you are interested in. If they post everything publicly, though, this won't help. Ultimately you must decide where to draw the line. Just don't follow someone and then complain about what they post.

    Related
    Notifications: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
    https://plus.google.com/118011560178264222649/posts/fyisJMex9bJ
  • 6 plusses - 13 comments - 6 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-29 02:55:28
    Memories of another hurricane...and Garbo.
  • 0 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-29 16:59:13
    RESHARE:
    Report Scraper Pages
    +Matt Cutts announced (via Twitter?) that Google is testing some new tools against scrapers. If you've got some data to submit, do so via this form.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGM4TXhIOFd3c1hZR2NHUDN1NmllU0E6MQ&ndplr=1

    Reshared text:
    Content Scrapers Are Here, Too
    Shortly after +Robert Scoble reshared my post on trolls yesterday and it came to the attention of a wider audience, reader +Chris Clark gave me the heads up that he'd seen it reposted on Inside Google Plus .

    I followed his link and sure enough, two of my posts had been combined to create one post -- used without my knowledge, permission, or attribution. I left a comment saying as much. This morning my comment had been deleted but, they had edited my article and linked back to my Google+ profile. As far as I looked, it is the only attribution given to any "author" on the site.

    This doesn't satisfy me. Someone else is still monetizing my content without my permission and without compensating me. I write for a living so this hurts. (Even if I didn't, I'd still consider it stealing.)

    Their site map contains rules for becoming an author.

    "We do not accept guest blogging account request on this website anymore. If you want to submit your articles, please contact info[at]googleplustip.com."

    "We received many re-written articles and discarded all of them, many previous guest blogging author published such articles and all were deleted."

    If you go to the site map, they have an "Authors" category but no authors listed. No authors but plenty of articles. A complete list is on the site map. Check and see if any of yours are there. (I'm not providing a direct link because I do not want to drive traffic to their site -- get the URL from the screenshot below.)
  • 8 plusses - 10 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-30 00:53:13
    Trading On Your Good Name
    +Jeff Jarvis has a great discussion going (link below) on "How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live".

    I wouldn't be on Google+ if I didn't believe in sharing. But I don't agree that transparency necessarily makes people more open. If we take down the curtains in our house, we are less likely to lounge around in the nude. Likewise, when every public thing we say (no matter how trivial or offhand) is archived and associated with our name, forever retrievable (with or without context), I think this has a chilling effect on what we are willing to say publicly.

    Google+ is clearly all about reputation -- designed for those who want to build a name for themselves in their fields. When you focus on building a reputation, your concerns -- the kind of tools you design to do that -- are different than when you focus on building relationships.

    So what are some of the things about Google+ that focus on reputation at the expense of relationships?

    The Hovercard: Identify with Your Job
    Your hovercard identifies you, not by your tag line, but by your current employer. To me, this has a decidedly Japanese salaryman feel: "I am Hideo Tanaka of Sony." This design choice communicates the bias of a certain segment of the population -- people who identify themselves closely with their employer. This is a tiny UX point. But it seems significant. And I've read enough comments elsewhere to know I wasn't the only one taken aback by it. Are you your job?

    The Public Sphere: Whose Reputation Is It?
    The larger reputation-building design choice is that everything you share publicly (posts, comments, +1s) becomes part of your searchable permanent record -- associated with your profile. So for most of us who are aware that future clients and employers are looking at us, our public posts and comments take on a neutral professional air. (Exceptions for writers whose personality is their reputation or for writers whose personal experience is the focus of their writing. I'm talking about us ordinary worker bees who have to worry about losing a job.)

    Everywhere you leave a +1 or a comment, you leave a link back to your profile. This, of course, is what Google is selling: social search, recommendations made by verifiable sources. But whose reputation are we building when we +1 a site? The transaction works both way. The brand is happy because they have real people endorsements. (This is the reason there is no Google minus.)

    Conversely everyone who knows us, can see which sites we +1, which sites we've given our seal of approval. (I'm glad I chose my inkan -- my legal seal; it really plays to the game.) This gives me pause. Now it's not just the brand's reputation being built by loyal customers, it's my reputation being built by the brands I endorse. I'm not going to +1 anything which might adversely affect my professional reputation. When the ability to get my next job is on the line, I'm going to err on the side of caution.

    On the one hand this makes my +1s more valuable because I give out so few. On the other hand, it makes my +1s less accurate and less personal because I'm not going to put my endorsement on any cause that might come back to haunt me.

    Sharing With My Circles: The Limits of Limited
    If I want to draw a line between my professional writing and my hobbies, circles seem like they would be the ideal solution. But they're not. That's because my profile identity is stuck being my professional identity. My personal interests end up being shared only privately.

    This results in a two-fold problem. Publishing my more personal topic-centric posts to my circles makes it difficult to find new people who share these interests. Conversely, anyone who followed me because of my personal writing elsewhere is surprised to discover a strong divide between my vocation and my avocations. Instead of posts focused on our shared interests, they get posts about Google+. This isn't what they signed up for when they followed me here. My non-professional relationships can relate to me better via Twitter, blogs, or email.

    Even more frustrating under the current design is that I can't share content with just my readers, the people who follow me. If I post publicly, then everyone can see it. So what's the incentive for people to follow me if I can't share something with them that I don't share with just everybody?

    Your Reputation is on the Line
    In an August 30, 2011 article, the Telegraph reported that 40% of the victims of cyberstalking were men and that, "For women the fear is of physical violence to themselves and then to their families or children. For men, they are afraid of damage to their reputation."

    Whether you're a man or a woman, I'm curious to know, how much you think about your online reputation when you decide to share something -- especially here on Google+, where your name is everything.
  • 9 plusses - 16 comments - 2 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-08-30 16:11:44
    G-Male: The Perfect Companion? Maybe Not
    Like many relationships, it starts well. And then the very behaviors that attracted to you start to feel a bit creepy.
  • 14 plusses - 4 comments - 8 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-09-01 23:45:55
    Who Needs Whom?
    The Google Profile is an identity service. It sneaked into my life on the apron strings of Google+ and is now insinuating itself into the lives of people who use Picasa or new Blogger. Currently Blogger, like Gmail, remains pseudonymous but one wonders how long it will be until users are forced to new Blogger or to migrate to WordPress.

    Traditionally companies have wooed customers with their products and marketing. They have something to sell and we're the ones with the money. Consumers vote with their wallets.

    However, as we spend more time interacting in a virtual space, what once were mere products take on more the role of monopolistic utilities. Sure you could live your life off the grid, never flying on an airplane or using a public road, but it would be damned inconvenient. For most of us, the need to just get things done in life outweighs the strength of our ideals. How else can Americans resign themselves to the treatment customers receive at the hands of the airlines and the TSA?

    Google is positioning itself to be the TSA of the Internet. In exchange for our identities, Google will let us fly the system. Our recommendations will mean more than others. Our pages will soar to the top of search.

    So the question is...Does Google have the public buy-in to change its offerings from realm of products (something to sell to consumers and which consumers feel free to decline because they have options elsewhere) to the realm of utilities (where they're the only option in town and we have to comply to fly)?

    When I think about the software on my desktop, I realize that I chose it because I liked it and it was useful. And I can do what I want with it. No one stopped me at checkout to check my credentials before buying it. But when I think about software in the cloud, it makes me feel like I don't have a choice. And worse -- I have to meet its qualifications to be allowed to use it. If my permission to use a product can be revoked at any moment, how can I feel any confidence using it?

    I don't really want to have to build a relationship with a product. I don't want to have to prove myself to it. I just want to use tools to do the stuff I want to do.
    ----------
    Note: This post was inspired by +John Moyle 's post attached. He says some interesting things but the thing that got my gears spinning was the idea that users, if we want to get the features that are important to us, have to market to Google. That still seems backwards to me. I still have the idealistic notion that I'm the customer.
  • 10 plusses - 4 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-09-02 13:15:20
    Authors and Authority
    In an article on Dickens in the Aug 29, 2011 "The New Yorker", Jill Lepore explains that book reviewing sprang up in the 18th century with the introduction of magazines. In the 19th century, as literacy rates rose and the price of magazines fell, " A democracy of readers rose up against an aristocracy of critics. " Thus emerged the rift between popular success and critical acclaim.

    In the 21st century, everybody's a critic. Hell. Everybody's a writer. The Internet and blog software have made self-publishing possible beyond the wildest dreams of people like Ben Franklin in the days of small, free presses.

    We now live in a moment when anyone can voice an opinion and be heard. Is it coming to a close? Companies which fight against Net Neutrality want a tiered system which favors their content over competitors'. Facebook has shown that most of us are social animals, influenced by our peers in our decisions to try and buy. Facebook is the realm of the "democracy of readers".

    Google+, I think, is not. Google+ seems designed to spotlight the "aristocracy of critics". Google+ encourages us to build our reputations, to become an authority. Then when we give something our stamp of approval, it will mean something.

    According to my dictionary, "imprimatur" comes from Latin verb imprimere "let it be printed". It was the stamp of approval that the Roman Catholic church put on religious tracts, the official license guaranteeing the contents were free from heresy.

    The return to an "aristocracy of critic" seems like a natural response to information overload -- just as magazines began to review books when books became too plentiful for anyone to read them all himself. On the Internet, we complain about the noise. We demand relevant search results.

    As someone who relies more on the analysis of authorities and critics than I do on the tastes of my friends, Google+ sounds like should be the ideal solution. By circling someone, I tell Google search that I have chosen him as one of my authorities. How does this affect my search results? Is skewing results in the favor of my chosen authorities always a good thing, or will dissenting opinions be adversely damped down?

    In theory, it sounds good. In practice, it makes me feel rebellious and heretical.
  • 12 plusses - 22 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-09-02 21:13:11
    RESHARE:
    I think today, Sept 2, is the last day of voting. So get your votes in. Hope to see some of you at SXSW.

    Reshared text:
    Did you know that a bunch of the Google+ team is going to be at SXSW? It’s true, if you show your support! You can help by voting now for your favorite panels at the SXSW Panel Picker. Here are the Google+ panels to look out for:

    Being a Publisher in a Social World
    +Timothy Jordan +Julie Farago
    http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/13680

    Google+ for your Organization: Pivoting on People
    +Ronald Ho
    http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/13625

    Google+ Mobile: The Next Phase of Mobile Social
    +Punit Soni, +Ben Eidelson, +Anish Acharya
    http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/13792

    How to Make Google+ Work for Your Business
    +kari wilson, +Greg Marra
    http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/13827

    The Google+ Design Team Tells All
    +Brett Lider, +Irene Chung, +Andy Hertzfeld, +Jonathan Terleski
    http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/13933

    Truth and Beauty on Google: Markup and Sitemaps
    +Daniel Dulitz, +Timothy Jordan
    http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/13729
  • 0 plusses - 0 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-09-03 13:03:39
    Respect and Regard: Is Google+ Elitist?
    Who catches your eye? Who's worth a second look? Who warrants your attention?

    Our entire life is made up of choices. We constantly discriminate. It is the basis of our discrimination that has given the word itself a bad rep.

    The people who embrace everything equally, the "it's all good" people, I find very dull indeed. In my world, everything is a choice. A or B? Which is better? and why ? I have favorites. I hope that I am a person of discriminating tastes.

    The important disctinction is that I discriminate based on what someone says and does. Not on who they are. In other words, I find people whose tastes are similar to mine and look to them for advice. (Respect originally means "to look back at".) I'm even happier when I can find someone whose tastes are better than mine; someone who can inform and instruct me. I don't turn to my friends (people I've met through accidents of proximity) for expertise; rather, the people I consider experts, I cultivate as friends.

    Yesterday when I was writing about how Google+ is designed to focus our attention on authority, +Robert Scoble was writing along the same lines. It's a great post (link below). The only issue I have with it is that, in his inimitable attention-getting style, he called Google+ "elitist".

    I'm sensitive to what seems to be a movement in America to discount any intellectual endeavor as elitist, as anti-populist. (This is what we were discussing yesterday in "Authors and Authority" -- critical versus popular acclaim.)

    Condemning expertise as elitist is simply a justification for the worst kind of discrimination: judging someone for who they are rather than by what they do. "We don't need no stinkin' experts. We have our friends -- people like us ."

    If you would rather follow someone's advice because they are the same age, gender, race, as you -- rather than because they have expertise in that field -- well, then my regard for you is nil. If admitting that there are people in the world who know more than I do makes me an elitist, then I'm proudly an elitist.

    Related
    Authors and Authority
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/118011560178264222649/posts/cd4Lviw5M4Q
  • 12 plusses - 13 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-09-05 13:48:42
    Tangents
    Often when an idea is stewing in my brain, I'll read something completely unrelated that brings my thoughts into focus. A quote or a phrase will startle me into clarity. When I fire off a post, I always credit my original inspiration.

    Lately, I've noticed that I haven't done a great job of explaining when the original inspiration is just a jumping off point . Apparently, I veer off suddenly in another direction, leaving my readers arguing about the merits of the original article and wondering where I went.

    Sharing in Google+ feels more like a conversation than formal writing. When I post here it feels like I'm discussing ideas for articles with colleagues rather than publishing final drafts. I'm much more likely to push the Share button when the idea is still hot (because ideas percolate fast on Google+) than to let my cooler mind prevail and over edit. However, in the future, I'll try to give you a bit of warning before turning suddenly. Which reminds me of my mom's favorite joke.

    "Why did the ram fall off the cliff?"
    "He didn't see the ewe turn."
  • 7 plusses - 2 comments - 0 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-09-05 17:12:38
    Central Texas Fires
    #centraltxfires
  • 0 plusses - 0 comments - 1 shares | Read in G+
  • M Sinclair Stevens2011-09-05 22:56:58
    I Yelled Fire Because No One Would Save Me If I Yelled Chocolate
    Google+ is an attractive platform. Many of us have decided that the social and networking benefits are worth the privacy risks. We take advantage of Google+ to produce and share content and to discover others and consume their content.

    Let's be clear. Although Google+ comes wrapped in bright colors and the glowing words "real life sharing, rethought for the web," we users are not Google's customers.

    "Our customers are over one million of advertisers, from small businesses targeting local customers to many of the world's largest global enterprises, who use Google AdWords to reach millions of users around the world." -- Google Investor Relations FAQ http://investor.google.com/corporate/faq.html

    This model is not any different than broadcast TV. Television shows weren't designed for our entertainment. They were designed to capture our attention so that we would listen to ads. That we get something more than just ads is the bargain we make for our time in front of the tube. The commodities exchanged on Google+ are different but the relationships are not. The advertisers are still the customers and we users are still what are being to delivered to them.

    I can't help but think that a lot of hard feelings could have been avoided if Google had just said this upfront. But perhaps, similar to Tommy Smother's predicament in the song attached, they were afraid that no one would come if they yelled "Identity Service".
  • 8 plusses - 4 comments - 4 shares | Read in G+