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Google+ Circles Is Replacing Following / GFC

Those of you who have been Following this blog, in the past, may have recently noted a new gadget in the sidebar.

Just below the "Follow Me" gadget, you'll see "+Follow Me". The latter gadget looks similar to the former - but has some subtle differences. Some differences are visible, others not so visible. And some differences are not visible to the eye - but will still affect your access to this blog.

The Google+ Circles gadget, which on this blog is labeled "+Follow Me", appears similar to the Following / Google Friend Connect "Follow Me" gadget - but appearances can be very misleading.

The larger pictures are one obvious difference - but that's not the most significant difference. Some difference need to be discussed now, rather than later, for maximum benefit.

Blogger Followers lets your Followers Follow one specific blog.

Following / Google Friend Connect lets your acquaintances Follow a single blog. I have several blogs, and a different group of Followers for each blog. The Google+ Circles gadget shows everybody in all of your publicly visible circles, merged together. The merged concept may, or may not, be to your liking.

Google+ Collections now let you separate different content - so you can share one blog to one Collection, and specific people can Follow ("Circle") one Collection. I'm not convinced though that all of my Followers understand this distinction.

Blogger Followers let you use email and newsfeed subscriptions.

With Following / Google Friend Connect, your Followers can use email, or any number of newsfeed clients, to read the complete content of your blog - including each complete post, if you setup the blog feed that way. Google+ Circle members can read a snippet of any blog post intentionally Shared, in their stream - but will have to click on the link to the blog, in the snippet, to read the entire blog post. If you have read this far, that's what you have already done.

Following / Google Friend Connect works best for public blogs - and supports a reader audience of unlimited size. A Google+ Circle, likewise, supports a reader audience of unlimited size.

With a properly setup Google+ Circle, and a Blogger blog with a list of designated readers - and your readers properly accepting the emailed membership invitation, up to 99 of your designated readers can Follow your blog. As before, the limit for private blog distribution, as for any team blog, is still 99 members.

Anybody Following a blog, using the stream of any author of the blog, will see a snippet of each post Shared in their stream. To read the complete post, they will have to click on the link in the snippet. With a private blog, the reader will have to be a blog member, to read the complete post.

Many Blogger blogs have a lot of Followers, which will be missed.

Many publicly visible Blogger blogs have Following communities which vastly exceed my 4700 member population (my "Follow Me" gadget, as of April 2013) - and the possibility of losing those communities will not be willingly accepted by everybody. The integration of Following with the newsfeed subscription - and with the dashboard Reading List - is not automatic with Google+ Circles.

A blog with multiple authors (aka "team blog") will have either a Google+ Circles gadget for only one author - or multiple Circles gadgets, to fairly let people subscribe to the various authors Google+ streams. Neither solution will be exactly equal to the Following / GFC blog feed subscription - especially if the various team members are similar to me, and my range of interests.

Right now, it appears that a blog can have just one Circles gadget. How team membership blogs will use Google+ is another question to ask.

Many blog owners have multiple interests - and publish multiple blogs.

Similar to the team blog, we may wish to consider the multiple interests of each blog owner. I am one person, with a number of interests.

People who have intentionally subscribed to the newsfeed from this blog, and are specifically interested in my blog about Blogger blogs, may not be extremely interested in my blog about cooking - nor in my blog about jokes, pranks, and miscellaneous ramblings. Unfortunately, if you Follow my Google+ stream, you'll get a bit of each subject.

Some people may use Google+ Collections, to separate their different interests. It's possible that some Google+ Followers are now Following my RBS Collection.

Again, the Google+ Circles gadget appears to contain the total Followers for one person, for all interests of that one person. I have not yet found a tool that will allow me to analyse the interests of each of my Followers, and to accurately determine the specific areas of overlapping, between my own personal interests and theirs.

It will be impossible for many blog owners to keep an accurate Circle complement, and segregate each circle according to interest, so they may Share only relevant material with the specific members of each different Circle.

Integration of Blogger Follower, and Google+ Followers, requires compromise.

As the Google+ Circles gadget evolves, some significant improvements - and some compromises - will be required. Like the Internet, Blogger, and Google, are constantly evolving. This may require compromises by many Blogger blog owners.

We now have a rollup discussion, where each blog owner is asked to provide their thoughts about the above described issues - and possibly, others that concern you. Anybody who experienced the Blogger GUI upgrade of several years ago may, from experience, realise how much better off we may all be, with these issues discussed now - rather than later.


Is there a date when this will no longer appear on our blogs?
Chuck Croll said…

I have not heard any dates - even suggested.

I hope that Blogger / Google will take a long, hard look at the differences - and provide several alternatives - long before actually sunsetting Following / GFC.

Many Blogger blogs have extensive networking, using both the gadget, and the blog feed subscription / Reading List. I have not yet even begun to explore the details of the changes involved - and the compromises required.
Erika said…
How do you add more than one Google + circle to a team blog? I'm stumped
Chuck Croll said…

Apparently, you cannot have more than one gadget. This really leaves team blogs unsupported.
Anonymous said…
Any time anyone tries to join my blog it takes them to an error page. Is there any way to fix this without getting rid of it all together.

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