Simplifying the circles

January 10, 2012 · 25 comments

Just stripped my circles from over 300 people down to about 60 people, and now I have only ONE circle – 'Interesting'. I don't think I need any more circles… anyone who's not interesting just doesn't get added.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ben Hancock January 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

"anyone who's not interesting just doesn't get added" – exactly! I've been track who I've been interacting with or find interesting. After a few weeks, I'll be removing everyone else. Nothing like a clean(er) slate!


2 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

if I was to only have in my circles those who I've been interacting with, I think there would only be 10….


3 Ben Hancock January 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I'm noticing a similar trend. Out of 600 in circles, I have around 30 that are "Interesting" and about 8 that I interact with regularly.


4 Anne Brown January 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Well, then, I'm glad to be still receiving your posts, and glad to be considered "interesting"! Thank you, and thanks for being interesting, too. I think the thing that cracked me up about you, and still does, is that when someone went on and on about wanting to gaze into a person's eyes in the profile pic, you wondered if one eye was OK. I laugh every time I see your picture.


5 Anne Brown January 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hmm, so far the only one I got rid of was one very nice lady who simply posted too much. She followed me back, and I liked about 50% of her posts, which really wasn't the issue, whether I liked them or not, it was simply the sheer volume. It felt spammy, especially since she had zillions of followers. Oh well.


6 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

+Anne Brown Oops… I just added you back… I'm sure it was an accident that you were removed too…!

You were still getting my posts because I'm in your circles (thank you!). I added you back because you're engaging with me. Nice to have you back 🙂


7 Anne Brown January 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Well, thank you! I'm glad I'm still in. I do enjoy your posts.


8 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thank you. Check out as you might enjoy my posts there too


9 Anne Brown January 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Will do. I'm not such a fan of the "inbox sanctuary" concept, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE all the fun I have on my Google Reader feeder, and my inbox is used for business, work, money, and dire creativity. So I'll check it out but I will probably not subscribe to anything that happens to come to an inbox ( I am RUTHLESS about my inbox, or else it just won't work, and I will go nuts). I am an occasional purchaser of ebooks however, and not at all opposed to supporting artists (you are a photographer, right?). Will check it out.


10 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I used to focus on Google Reader as well (still do, but with a lot less feeds now), but I like the concept of receiving permission to publish to people's Inboxes. It inspires me to write better, to provide content of greater value than what I might publish publicly.

It's a privilege to be invited into someone's Inbox, and I use that to make sure my writing is worthy. Also, knowing that people like to skim their email, it encourages me to provide greater value in as few words as possible.


11 Anne Brown January 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Alan, I keep hearing that phrase, "permission to publish to inboxes", which I can, superficially, respond to. However, what doesn't happen in an inbox is blog comments, which are totally fascinating to the blog subscriber. A lot of it is utter crap. But there are so many rubies, opals, jade earrings, ivory lip plugs, lapis lazuli wonders and fascinating mysteries to be courted that in comparison, the inbox thing seems narcissistic. One blogger I LOVE is +Gordon White who writes his "muggle blog" (mostly food recipes, and good ones, at this point), but his best stuff is in his chaos magic blog,, which is really more about life, art, and being a conscious human. He subscribes to the blogs of anyone who comments on his (a noble policy), and when the spirit moves, links to them (and 5000 other fascinating sources). I have noticed that the days he puts up a new post are the days I am on that proverbial cloud nine, investigating new sources, reading new research, generally tackling the web as if it were a recipe for life. I don't see that when +Ev Bogue or +Gwen Bell posts their reflections on what they ate for lunch. A full quarter of the blogs I follow came from his comment section.


12 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I found +Gwen Bell to be offensive, asking people questions and then telling people they bore her for giving her answers she didn't want. I think it's better to be open to people's answers if you're going to ask them questions. When I commented about this, she blocked me, so I was happy to realise I have no time for her arrogance.

+Ev Bogue has been an inspiration to me because he writes in a simple manner that reflects the style I want to write in as well. I can see that even his comments about food and activities is all part of a purpose to teach simplicity, and I love seeing it so that I can learn it too.

I think that blogging is evolving, and even within the evolution of something there is still value in what has been, while what is yet to come is still discovering its value.

Publishing to people's Inboxes by request is, to me, far more satisfying than publishing publicly to random visitors that might not actually be looking for what I'm writing, so they come and go without satisfaction.

I like the idea of writing in a way that satisfies the reader, without having to worry about trying to hold onto the random visitors that stumble upon my blog. I've been blogging for about 13 years now, and I'm feeling more satisfaction with how I'm writing this past week than I ever have in 13 years of public blogging.

Google+ is a fantastic tool for facilitating this evolution of writing.


13 Anne Brown January 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Well, then, I'll say, "Touche" since you made me laugh here on Google (I don't actually remember why I first followed you, maybe it WAS the picture). And, I'll say, that I don't think anyone's goal should be holding onto random visitors to a blog. The only thing one can do is touch the heart (or funny bone) of another, and if inbox writing is proof of that connection, then so be it. Then again, just to be argumentative, what are you doing to connect your readers to one another? Are you a good party host, do you introduce them, do you get your inspiration from those who subscribe, and share that inspiration to grow this community of followers you've created? I do think there's a possibility of growing the kind of world you'd like to live in by doing this. And, I think anyone who's grateful for space in others inboxes should consider this. While facebook has its horrendous points, my favorite feature is the "suggest friends".


14 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I follow people I find interesting. It's often the case that other people who follow them are also interesting. So when they make interesting comments to the posts of those I'm following, I might follow them too.

Hopefully, just by communicating and encouraging discussion with my own posts, I facilitate people making their own connections with each other. I aspire to be interesting enough to build my own little community in this way.

Inspiration comes in all forms, including feedback from subscribers, discussions with followers, and the experiences I have online and offline.


15 Anne Brown January 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

How do you encourage discussion with your own posts? Do you comment on the posts of others?


16 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I encourage discussion by asking questions, by responding to comments, be developing connections, and adding my input elsewhere.

Participating in G+ is very much like participating in a blogging community… You make your posts, you respond to people's comments, you comment on other people's posts, and you share other people's content (with links) that you find interesting enough to share with those that follow you.

There's not much difference, only an evolution in the means by which this is done. Google+ is an extensive community that allows the formation of sub-communities, all using the same forum, and still doing what we all used to do with blogging. We're just evolving how we do it.


17 Victoria Waugh January 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I need to discuss more-
Is everything we do predetermined? Is our subconscious aware of our decisions before we consciously make them?

If you follow your path, conscious of the decisions you are making so as not to harm others but end up hurting others, does that mean that subconsciously you were aware of the consequence however still chose to hurt that person? (hurt in an emotional sense).


18 Heidi Ohlander January 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I have an interesting circle too!! And you're in it! How neat is that?!


19 Alan Howard January 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

+Victoria Waugh I'll send you a private message.

+Heidi Ohlander Thank you! I really enjoy reading your posts and comments, and I'm happy you do with mine too. 🙂


20 Ando Perez January 11, 2012 at 3:43 am

I have to agree about +Gwen Bell being offensive. She takes it further than G+, I can assure you. She'll bring it right to your inbox if you let her. It took one very rude personal email from her to get me to unsubscribe and block her. We need to be selective about our circles, and popularity gives no one the right to treat others like that. I'm glad to find that I wasn't alone in my experience of tho +Alan Howard. Although I'd prefer if she read the book on non-violent communication that she so often promotes on here, in her emails and on her site. I feel offended, as someone who purchased one of her over priced books last year.

We live and learn.


21 Heidi Ohlander January 11, 2012 at 3:52 am

This is one of the best discussions I've seen on Google+. This is what it's all about. Lately the web seems new to me – perhaps that is because I have allowed myself to find new people, new websites, new circles. I am having so much fun that I can totally relate to Alan's recent enjoyment as well. I love that Facebook made so many people mad with the infrastructure that it helped create what we are having right now.

Feeling gratitude.


22 Ben Hancock January 11, 2012 at 4:24 am

I was thinking the same thing, +Heidi Ohlander. It definitely sparked my thinking.

I've had a similar vibe about Gwen. It's a bummer, because she does seem to have some good to contribute. But, we're all on a journey and learn as we go.


23 Heidi Ohlander January 11, 2012 at 4:53 am

+Ben Hancock and everyone, I have noticed that there is a recent trend on Google+ where a great many of us were snubbed by one or both of two prominent bloggers who were recently residing in Mexico.

I am meeting people on Google+ every day who were left hurt and abandoned, yet, miraculously we are finding each other. Without them. THAT is what inspires me, and shows me that the web is truly a web.


24 Ando Perez January 11, 2012 at 5:32 am

+Heidi Ohlander SO true. You know, just because people have readers, and followers, it doesn't mean they have truths to share, or contribute, not forever. It's a fragile tenure.

The only thought I had was that one or both of them were going through some life issues right now, that aren't being shared, and that's bubbling over into their 'work'.


25 Alan Howard January 11, 2012 at 7:13 am

it's amazing how such an interesting discussion can result from a throwaway comment about cleaning up my circles


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