Google Plus? Several new sites have popped up with ideas for "suggested circles." Unfortunately, Google Plus itself doesn't offer a way for users to share Circles with their friends, so for now, manually reproducing these Circles is your only option. But for those who are willing to put in the time, you'll be hitting that 5,000 friend limit pretty quickly.Looking for people to Circle on
OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little about hitting the 5,000-user limit - but you'll definitely find some new people to follow on these sites, especially if you're interested in technology.
With Circles, You Can Follow More People!
From the comments I've read on Google Plus, many of you out there are still using Google's new social network a lot like Facebook when it comes to how many friends you add...err..."encircle."
In fact, one particularly controversial thread started this weekend by Digg founder Kevin Rose called out über-power user Robert Scoble for "using the Internet wrong." Scoble was complaining about the noise on Google Plus, which struck Rose as ridiculous, given that Scoble follows 5,000 people.
While personally, I think everyone should feel free to use social networks as they see fit, if anyone was really missing the boat regarding Google Plus' potential, it was Rose, not Scoble. Although Scoble's stress-testing often does hit levels "regular" users will never reach, on Google Plus, 5,000 people is not an inconceivable limit.
Google Plus is the first social network that actually encourages users to follow more people, not fewer.
On sites like Facebook and Twitter, adding too many friends turns your streams into a mess. Add real-time updating, and it's impossible to even read the content as it zips by. There are workarounds for this problem - Facebook lists and groups, or Twitter lists, for example, but none are as elegant a solution as Google Plus's Circles.
The "Other" Dunbar Number
Until now, typical social network user behavior was that, instead of over-subscribing, you would limit your friending activities to match your cognitive limits. In many cases, people max out at "Dunbar's number," or 150. According to Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Oxford, human beings can hold only about 150 meaningful relationships in their heads.
But here's a side note to that oft-quoted research - Dunbar also said that human beings have the ability to recognize about 1,500 people. So why shouldn't there be networks that tap into our ability to function in a wider community filled with familiar faces?
Hello, Google Plus.
Circle Suggestion Sites
As soon as Google Plus launched, Circle suggestion ideas popped up all across the network, as well as in the occasional blog post - like this one with a suggested Photographers Circle. Now we're starting to see more formal efforts appearing. Although reaching the 5,000-person limit may be difficult for the average user, there are several new sites that may help get the creative juices following.
For example, I've been enjoying Share This Circle, a site that offers everything from niche Circles like "Italians abroad" to more mainstream fare like "Authors" or "Celebrities." In most cases, the Circles were curated externally, by individuals or other media outlets, but have been centralized here for easy access.
Another new site, RecommendedUsers.com, groups techies into Circles like "Podcasters" and "Bloggers." However, the categories on this site have too much overlap in some cases. We wonder why some bloggers are listed as "authors," while others are "journalists" and others still are just "bloggers?" It's a little confusing. The site's owner Alireza Yavari says that he's updating the lists soon based on feedback, so hopefully they will be cleaned up a bit.
And even more lists are coming, too, thanks to crowdsourcing. (You can see all the new categories in the dropdown list on the suggestions page.)
If you have time to kill, it's fun to dig around in these pre-made groups to see if there are people you missed, or Circle ideas you want to duplicate on your own.
Do you have any great Circle ideas? Let us know in the comments!