On day 1 of the Google+ launch, I joined as I was invited by a bunch of friends. I was pretty busy on that particular day and saw everyone buzzing about it, but didn't have time to spend more than about 10 minutes setting things up. The first thing that bothered me about joining was that it forced me to use my old gmail address that I retired because it was taken over by mailing lists and social network pings. Rather than just proclaiming email bankruptcy...even that would have been too much work...I just put a permanent out of office greeting on it that says, "I've laid this email address to rest. If you are a human being, email me over there instead". Over 'there' is my Buyosphere email address. We use Google Apps, etc. to host it, but Google limits these PAID FOR accounts to anything social because...um...I think corporate stuff is supposed to be anti-social. Either way, I had to log into my festering gmail account to make the G+ leap.
But then I went away and did some work type of stuff and kept getting messages that 18 people added me to circles here and 26 people added me to circles there. Next thing I know, I log back in a few days later and I have a mile-long suggested list of friends to put into circles. 2,500+ of them! Now, I've met most people who are suggested. I've had conversations and hung out with many of them. I would even consider most friends. But to put 2,500 of them in intelligible circles?! I have no clue where to begin!
I started with cities: Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Austin, Paris, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Sydney....then I started to get a little fuzzy on where some of my contacts live. Many of them I've met at conferences and hung out in places neither of us live. It's quite difficult to keep track of the home addresses of 2,500+ people at the end of the day.
Okay...so I moved onto topics: technology, entrepreneurship, karaoke, fashion, social media...once again I hit a wall. I know people from certain conversations that probably have little or nothing to do with the topics they cover day to day. In fact, those that are Facebook friends talk about great personal stuff like families and their favorite restaurants. I actually enjoy getting to know them on that level.
Right. So default back into Friend/Acquaintance/Follow...but those are pretty broad categories. And I don't know about you, but social networking has changed my definition of friend. I know more about many of my FB/Twitter "friends" than I do some people I grew up with!
And then I started getting a little fuzzy on why I was putting people in these circles anyway. I have no idea how I want to filter thoughts or feeds. The 'sparks' feature (where you can follow topics) is much easier for me to gr0k. If only I could mash the two up a bit. Or something. Something bigger. Better.
YEAH! Google has all this information about me, right? They have been collecting it for EONS. They collect it when I search, when I email people, when I create documents, make meetings, shop on Google Products, use my mobile phone, etc. etc. They serve up incredibly relevant ads for me daily in all of my Google-y type applications. Sometimes so relevant I get a little scared. They seem to know my next move before I do. Google tells me who to add to cc's on emails. They understand who are in my groups I've moderated for years and know what we talk about. You told me through Latitude that you know where I work versus where I live based on the hours I spend in these places. Google knows more about me than I know about me.
SO WHY THE FRACK CAN'T THEY MAKE MY CIRCLES FOR ME?!!
Sorry G+, but adding 2,500+ people to cute little circles when you have more data than GOD seems wrong to me. At least give it a whirl. Take a shot in the dark on who should go where. You could DEFINITELY figure out city for me...see that I'm creating City named circles and say, "Hey! I see you are putting your friends into locations! Let me help you with that!" Suggest topic circles based on people's sparks. Or their descriptions. Or what other people group them as. You should definitely know who I work with. You probably can infer what a personal versus professional email sounds like.
I know people will be a little freaked out...but that is what makes for magical technology. And you have it. You have miles and miles worth of humming data farms worth of it. Stop holding out and making me feel like a GoogleMinus. Don't make me work for another social network. Make your social network work for me.