How I manage my circles

My circles have been getting out of control lately so I finally decided to sit down and come up with a plan.

I love the asynchronous following model of Google+. I have people I like to follow, people who may be interested in something I have to say and a bit of both. When I first created my circles, they were around topics: scriptys (JavaScript folks,) noders (node.js,) Googlers, etc.

Over time, my initial approach became muddy.

Do I want person X to show up my stream all time? They post really interesting links on astronomy, but overwhelm my stream.
Does person Y want to be notified about the latest release on Hangout Apps?

I found myself thinking about sharing more than I’d like to. So I decided to refactor my circles based on Share and Consume, with an emphasis on keeping people in a single circle where possible. I have a collection of circles that I set to show in my stream, a collection that are muted and one circle to “graduate” people and +Pages into my stream (more on that later.)

For the sake of education, here are my circles. I’ve included how they show up in my stream and a brief description.

Show All

  • Friends
  • Dearest friends, I have their cell and been to their house
  • Family
  • Genetically bonded
  • Web Platform
  • Thinkers and doers of JS, HTML, CSS & various Server Side technologies
  • G+ DevRel
  • My team & our +Page
  • Googlers
  • Folks who I work with or work on projects which I want to know the day-to-day
  • Exceptionally Interesting*
  • Folks and +Pages who don’t fall into any of the above categories and I want to see.

Muted

  • Google+ Community
  • Anybody who has posted interesting tidbits in the past and I plan on peeking at sometime in the future
  • Extended Googlers
  • Brilliant Googlers who share personal annecdotes or unrelated to my job directly
  • Following
  • All +Pages

As I reworked my circles, I first moved anyone who was obviously in one circle. For example, Tj Holowaychuk (of Express fame) clearly went into the Web Platform circle and Chrome went into the Following circle. I then put folks who did have clear overlap, like Paul Irish is in my Googlers & Web Platform. The last step was to “graduate” circles from muted to in my stream. Daria Musk is a big part of Google+, so I added her to the Google+ Community circle. But she is awesome so I also added here to the Exceptionally Interesting circle.

At this point, if discover someone interesting via a shared post or what’s hot, I immediately add them to the Google+ Community circle. Then if they continue to be interesting, I include them into the Exceptionally Interesting circle. I’m finding this breakdown easier to manage as well as easier to share.

Any tips you might have on how to improve my new system? What do you do? I’d love to hear.

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