Google+ is an amazing tool that I love to use. One thing that makes it so valuable is its instant response from contacts. The interaction time is almost instantaneous and so it makes it very handy to have instant discussions. These discussions can be good or they can be bad. One thing that is very irritating about Google+ is that it assumes that everyone wants to hear from everyone. It allows people to add you to their circles with or without your approval.
A couple days ago I had a discussion with some helpful individuals about this on Google+ and they made the point that if I block them, then my posts would not show up on their news stream despite my staying in their circles. This point has been made on several occasions on various message boards that I have read as well. Apparently I am not the only person that sees this as an issue. My issue is that I find it particularly irritating when I block someone and it shows on their page that they are blocked and that right below it, there is a message that says I am in their circles. When you block someone, it tells you that your public posts are still visible to them. Although this seems reasonable, it does not prevent them from contacting you directly.
One of the flaws that I see with Google+ is that you have to select on an individual post level who to send the post to. I mean, you have to select Public, or a circle name, or more specifically the individual’s name. It is too easy when you are using the mobile app to forget to select who it is going to when you are on the go. I should not have to worry about this on a post by post basis. When you block someone, they should be blocked, meaning that they should not even be able to search your profile. This problem has been exacerbated by the new feature of sharing circles. For example, if you are a photographer and others add you to their photographer circle and then share their circle, then you are suddenly on hundreds of other people’s circles. Now you may have people that have you in their circle that you don’t even know. I should have some say in who can add me to their circles. As much as Google+ users like to bash on Facebook, at least on Facebook you can request to add someone as a contact and that person has the choice of saying yes, no, or ignore the request all together.
I reject the point that you can just post non public messages as a legitimate solution to this issue because to me, this is no different than having an enemy standing in front of your house waiting for you to slip and open the curtain. If a person’s last post was Public, the next post will default to that setting and if a person is mobile, they may forget to unselect Public when they post. Also, when I remove a person from my circle, they should not be able to comment on my posts even if I did not block them. There should be a way to do that as well.
Separate from this issue, social networks of this type are not always ideal for people that actually have to work for a living. The very instant response that makes Google+ so valuable makes it where continuous interaction can be never ending. This in itself is not a bad thing but if you are discussing something that causes a lot of interaction then you are at a disadvantage when you have to leave for work. For example, the other day I was having a discussion with someone about the protesters in the news. There was a person that clearly disagreed with me. After two+ hours of sending messages back and forth, it was obvious I was not going to convince him and he was not going to convince me. I made a decision that it was no longer worth it to me to discuss this issue when neither of us was going to be convinced. I took the action of just deleting my original post that resulted in deleting the entire conversation. Then I blocked this individual that may seem harsh to someone else but my rationale was that if we were that far apart in our world view, then we would be arguing over every issue. I did not add him to my circle but since people were sharing Ham Radio contacts via the shared circles, he had me in his circles. The guy then contacted me via email to tell me that he guessed I did not have all the answers after all. It was sort of a last jab at me and I just deleted it. I never gave him my email address and had never met him or spoken to him before. It appeared that by the tone of his email, he believed that he had won the argument because I deleted the conversation. I could have continued the conversation but had decided that my time is too valuable than to argue this issue forever with someone that I do not even know. His smug email made it clear that he felt that he had won the argument. I know some of you may be saying “Why didn’t I just lock the discussion down where no one could comment on it anymore instead of deleting it?”
The reason I deleted it instead of locking it down was because I had locked a discussion down before and someone resulted in commenting on one of my unrelated posts to continue the conversation. They told me that for some reason they could not leave a comment on that post so they decided to respond to my post on another post that was not locked down. I am not for censoring comments but sometimes a conversation has played its course. Sometimes we have to get back to work and earn a living and let the conversation go and agree to disagree. Unfortunately these types of social networks keep the conversation going for weeks, months and even years. Someone may stumble on a post from months back and then you find yourself defending the message all over again. Friendfeed is the same way.
This may be worth it to some people to me it is not. A person can work for a certain amount of money, possessions, etc but there is one thing that no one can put back in the bank. That commodity is time. I could make my point again and again and again, but it takes time that I am not willing to give up. This is why I cannot see myself using Google+ on a regular basis. The blocking people issue is a deal breaker. I am sorry if you disagree with me on this but when I block someone, they should be blocked. How difficult is this to understand? On Facebook if you block someone, your name does not even show up in search results. Google+ as much as I like it, will never become mainstream for the two main reason that I have discussed. I have spoken to Facebook users that also have Google+ accounts that do not like it. It seems that most of the complaints that I hear is that Google+ is too open. Agree or disagree, that is what I hear. As one that has used Google+ from the very beginning beta, I am beginning to agree.