Creating Your Circle Of Friends

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Circles is +Google‘s answer to online sharing. Google has made it really easy to share the right things with the right people in your life, with Google+.

The basic paradigm of Circles is that you’d typically put people in different circles, depending on how you know them, or what your interests are.

coworkers-circlefamily-circle

For example, you’d typically want to place people in your family in your “Family” circle. This way, when you share a photo of your cousin, little Timmy; you’d naturally select the “Family” circle and only your family will see the photo, and no one else.

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Getting Started

You’ll see Find People on the navigation ribbon to the left-hand side of Google+.

Look for this icon on the left side navigation bar

As a new user to Google+, you’ll have a small set of pre-made Circles to get you started. You can use these as a base to build upon, or you can remove them if you want. A seasoned user may have 20 or more Circles set up, but it’s all up to how you use Google+. There’s no right or wrong way.

Adding people to your Circles

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See the tabs at the top? Click the “Find people” button, to view people in your contact lists on various services (+Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!) which are on Google+.
 If people you know aren’t on Google+ yet, you can still add them to a circle and share with them as you normally would! Just click “Add a new person” and enter in their email address and hey presto!
Google has created a short-but-informative video on finding people you know on Google+, watch to learn more:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=D08MxIpemdY

Organising Your Circles

The best thing to do is start organizing, or at least find some sort of structure to your circles as soon as you can. As you start adding more people and pages and you haven’t worked created many circles, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed by a very noisy stream without being able to filter affectively.

Start off simple

The first thing you should do is build upon a basic structure:
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Co workers
  • Acquaintances
  • Following

If you already have people in circles, move them to the relevant ones. If they don’t fit in a circle, create a new one. I would advise against very specific circles though, for various reasons, one being that it would be harder to organize in the long-term.

Filter by Circles

Now that your circles are nice and tidy, you can filter your stream by circles on the desktop and on the mobile app.

Filtering on the desktop

You can customize the list by reordering your circles
You can customize the list by reordering your circles

To filter on the desktop, you’ll see a tabbed bar at the top of the home stream, this displays your circles. You’ll find 4 on the tab, the rest will be hiding in the “More” drop-down menu.

Filtering on your mobile device

Filtering is easy on mobile devices too! Just tap the “All circles” drop-down menu to see all the circles you’ve created, as well as the Nearby and What’s Hot streams.

Circle selection on a mobile device
Circle selection on a mobile device

 

Circle Sliders

There are some people that you add that you might not want to see every single post of theirs in your stream, and then there are those (such as your family) that you may want to be notified about when they post. It’s easy to adjust how much content is shown on your stream by using the circle sliders.
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To adjust, click on a circle from the quick-list (tabbed bar) at the top of the home stream, you’ll see the slider on the top-right, next to the cogwheel menu. There are several levels to slide to, from showing no posts at all from that circle (i.e – your “annoying people” circle) to being notified on new posts (subscribing). I’d only use slide up to notifications on circles with fewer people in, or with people that post less frequently but have more quality content.
Use this wisely
Use this wisely

Sharing Circles

One of the really neat features in Google+ is that you can compile a circle and then share it with your other circles. You can use it as a recommendation tool. Just place the people and pages you’d like to share in a circle, click on that circle and hit the share button (in between edit and delete).
Sharing a circle is easy and useful
Sharing a circle is easy and useful

When you share a circle, other people can view the people in that circle and add them in one or two clicks. It’s definitely an underrated feature.

Now that you have your Circles set up, you can start hanging out with your friends and other faculty members. The next post will detail how to start a hangout.