Islands in my stream: My first issue with Google+


It took a couple of weeks but I identified my first real problem with Google+ and it’s only going to get worse if something isn’t done about it.

As it stands right now, everyone I allow into my circles go into my main stream. This makes for a lot of scrolling through a very cluttered stream full of discussion, news links, large photos and reams of comments about all of the above. Of course, Google+ allows me to view streams for each designated circle but the main stream is the default stream and gives me a taste of what everyone in my circles is posting about at that moment. and it’s the only one I can view from my phone.**

Google+ has taken some of the best features from both Twitter and Facebook and made them their own, but the cluttered stream shows they can’t quite have it both ways.

I follow more than 2,000 people on Twitter (well more than the couple of hundred on Google+) but my Twitter stream is pretty manageable: short posts and no photos.

My personal Facebook account has a comparable number of friends to Google+, but the Facebook posts are more manageable to follow. For one, my friends typically post to Facebook a couple of times a day. And two, I know the vast majority of my Facebook friends very well.

Google+ is similar to Twitter because, in my opinion, the format encourages you to post much more often than Facebook. It also encourages people to meet people they don’t know so well, so you’re going to see a lot more posts you might not be personally invested in.

Add to that the fact some people are going to be quite prolific (more power to them), your stream can become monopolized quite quickly.

I’ve noticed myself staying away from Google+ because of this and I’ve heard and read a lot of similar complaints.

I’ve also heard a couple of different suggestions. Here’s mine: Give us the option to choose which circles we want to appear in the main stream. That would allow me to create a circle for people who I don’t want to unfollow but I don’t need to see 20 times a day.

As of this posting, G+ remains invite only as the new social network continues to tweak and improve itself. I really hope this is something they consider because, so far, it’s the only real issue I’ve had. If they don’t, I may have to start dropping people I don’t really want to drop and that will extremely dampen the experience for me.

Is it an issue for you? If so, how would you propose they fix it?

**One of the first 20 people to read this pointed out that I can indeed read any circle I want from my phone. Here’s how if, like me, you missed it: Click on “Circles.” Select the circle you want, click on “posts” in the menu at the bottom.**

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9 Responses to “Islands in my stream: My first issue with Google+”

  1. It’s not nearly an issue for me. I spend the most time on G+ on my desktop and so I can view the streams I want to and just in the evening or on the go with the phone and it’s ok for me, because the things I commented get always to the top if a friend of mine also comments it.

    • Thanks, Colin. If it’s not changed, I suppose I will have to train myself to look at the individual streams first or only.

  2. 3 Steve

    I agree with everything you have said Andy. We definitely need some way of customising the main stream.

  3. 5 James Tate

    There is a round about way to accomplish this. All you need to do is set up a circle that has all the people that you want to be in your main stream and then select that circle. If you were allowed to copy circles into circles this would me much easier to do.

    Among my circles, I have one set up for those that I normally want to post. Thus my post are generally either public or to that circle, although that are sometimes more selective posts. Likewise I have circle set up to be the main stream that I normally want to view their activities.

    I think that google has allowed a tremendous amount of flexibility and control.

    • I’d also add that they’ve been pretty responsive, which is why I’m holding out hope they’ll do something. If not, I can do something like you suggest.

  4. 7 @teejaygee

    The way I use twitter is to set up searches (like on #chswx) then let posts find me in tweetdeck. Is there a way to set up a circle on G+ based on a standing search?

    • Not that I’m aware of. It’s more people centric. For instance, there’s a nearby feature that allows me to see people near me geographically, but I haven’t done much searching by subject, nor have I really seen anything to encourage me to. There’s a ‘sparks’ feature that appears to be more subject-oriented but I haven’t played with it much.

  5. I have a similar problem. I want to follow news channels. But I don’t want my stream all flooded with their posts as I might miss what my real friends are posting.
    I wish G+ gives an option of temporarily muting a circle or persons.
    Currently I’ve created a circle called “All but News” which is self explanatory. When I want to clear my stream of news, I click it.
    But I foresee problems with solution if I want to categorise my news further.

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