Google+ Pro Tips Weekly Round Up: Refining Sharing
One of the primary goals of a social network is for you to share what you find interesting with your followers and friends, but on Google+, sharing has so many layers that it can be confusing for most people to really take advantage of it properly. Some of the tools in place that enable you do deal with spam and manage your privacy aren't very clear, so this week's round up is all about how you can share what you want with who you want on Google+.
This week, Google+ rolled out the ability to change your notifications settings so that you only receive them from people you care about. Many users complained about getting "notification spam" from people who had added them to their circles, and would +mention them with non-relevant information, like links to their sites, that the users were definitely were not interested in. Many of the most popular users complained about having to spend a significant chunk of time blocking and reporting people who abused the notifications system. However, once the change rolled out, +Lauren Weinstein noticed that the default for people who could send you notifications had been changed from "Anyone" to "Extended circles". If you are someone who posts a lot publicly, and would like to get feedback from others who may not be in your circles, then it's probably best to change the setting to "Anyone".
To change this setting, click the gear icon at the top of your Google+ page, choose Google+ settings, and then click on Google+.
We've discussed blocking people before. There are three settings you can use to deal with annoying people and posts: you can Ignore, Mute, or Block. If you ignore people, then that means people can continue posting and including you in their Extended Circles, but you won't have to see any of their posts. They can still comment on any public posts you make. If you decide to mute a post, you will no longer see the post, but you may receive notifications if someone +mentions you in the comments of the post. If you decide to block someone, the person will be removed from your circles, and they theoretically shouldn't be able to post in your threads. However, +Lauren Weinstein discovered, to his dismay, that when he blocked a user, the person continued to post in her thread, and he wasn't able to see the comments, but everyone else was. This has some serious implications for people who want to host discussions - if they can't see every comment in their own posts, there's no way for them to moderate their own threads properly. Hopefully Google will come up with a fix for this soon.
+Ebby Amirebrahimi introduced a new feature where you can now lock your posts and disable comments before posting. Previously, you had to publish your post, and then edit it to lock down the post or disable comments, and this caused issues when people weren't fast enough with the edit button. Locking a post prevents the post from being re-shared. Note that if it's a public post, people can still share the post, by linking to the timestamped permalink on every post.
+Daniel Treadwell created a neat blog concept using Google+'s API. You can see the concept in action at Treadwell's site, which also lists the number of comments, shares, and +1s. You can try testing your own Google+ blog by adding your Google+ identification number to this URL: http://minimalist.se/. However, API calls are limited at the moment, so if you aren't able to see your profile, you'll have to return the next day. +Ryan Schultz helpfully figured out how you can do it yourself.
The ability to share your circles publicly was such a hit that the limit to each public circle has been increased from 250 to 500. Some of the best groups of circles you may want to check out:
Google+ is filling up with some amazing stars and celebrities. Most North Americans missed the epic hangout with the +Dalai Lama and the +Archbishop Desmond Tutu, where they celebrated the Archbishop's birthday despite not being in the same country. It was also part of the Inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture. You can catch up by watching the recording of the live hangout.
If you missed +will.i.am's last hangout, not to worry. You can catch the whole thing here. Note that the actual concert starts about 20 minutes into the video.
Don't want to watch the whole thing? You can just watch the highlights.
+Alton Brown is the latest celebrity on Google+ to head to Google's offices for a chat, and he's taking questions from you. You can ask or vote on the best questions on the @GoogleTalks YouTube channel.