The toddler social network Google+ based its marketing on the fact that you could control what you post to whom and keep private what you want private. Facebook recognized that value of Google’s model and has completely revamped its own sharing structure to meet the apparent demand. Now Google+ has retreated somewhat from the privacy premise with the ability to share your circles with others.
Don’t get me wrong – I actually think this is a brilliant move, one that would not work for the likes of Facebook even with its newly revamped sharing. Google+ has embraced its following functionality and, like Twitter lists, has offered users a way to share content by sharing the best content sharers and curators with others. You do all the hard work and your followers reap the benefits, as do members of your recommended circle who presumably will be rewarded with more followers. Overall, the Google+ experience is enhanced for both followers and followees.
My sense of it is that people will most likely share lists based on topics, such as Tech gurus, Photographers and Artists, Musicians, Lawyers, etc. I can’t imagine sharing family and personal circles, so I think the tech press cautioning against sharing circles and privacy implications is off the mark. Nonetheless, it makes some sense to use some sense when you do share.
All in all, though, as I mentioned above, I find this sharing feature fantastic – now I can find the best unknown follows by checking out the shared lists of some of my most respected and well-known follows. Thanks, Google+.