A Solution For Categorized Updates On Google Plus

I’ve seen a few discussions about the desire for the ability to categorize your status updates on Google Plus, most recently from Adrian Holovaty.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell:

You’re a multifaceted human being interested in a lot of different things. For example:

  • Video Games
  • Tai Chi
  • Economics
  • Politics

Your views on one of those subjects gets extremely popular and gains you a massive amount of readers/viewers (lets say video games). Now whenever you talk about one of the other 3 things a large portion of your reader/viewership is uninterested.

What do you do?

This is, admittedly, one of those good problems to have because it means you’ve been successful at gaining a reader/viewership somewhere. That said, it is a pretty “serious” problem for a number of bloggers/vlogers/tweeters/etc. out there that no one has created a “good” solution to.

My Personal Experience With This Problem

To get an idea of how this problem works and the effect it has on people like myself, take a look at the first 5 seconds of this video (it pretty much summarizes the whole video):

That video currently has 2.2 million views. The experience I had with that one video has forever changed the course of my… everything! Before that video my YouTube account was much like this blog. Random content about… whatever. After that video I had an… AUDIENCE (like… a real one that wanted new content from me).

I don’t want to ramble too far off topic. Essentially, I amassed a following of people that expected one kind of content on my main channel of content distribution and wasn’t sure how I should react to it.

Broken Solutions

One solution some people choose to go with is the “If you don’t like my content, fuck off,” approach. I’ve somewhat adopted that style to my video making but it’s not the greatest solution. If you have a viral video, a popular book on some subject, etc. you’re always bringing new people into your world looking for more of what they perceive as being “you.”

Another solution is creating multiple personas which… works, but doesn’t. Here’s a (short) list of personas I’ve created online trying to categorize my updates:

  • PwningLife – Personal development
  • Black Horse Tai Chi – Tai chi
  • MyDeadXbox – Video Games
  • Social Milwaukee – Social Media stuffs
  • MilTownKlan – A Clan of digital warriors battling evil and righting wrongs throughout the multiverse

This should work in theory but… it’s a lot of work trying to update all your different personas when there’s just one persona behind the scenes doing all the work.

The Ultimate Solution

I’ve been thinking about a solution to this Google+ “problem” and I realized that it was sitting in front of me plane as day.

Whenever I create a new online persona there are steps I take every time:

  1. Buy A Domain
  2. Create a Gmail account
  3. Link it to YouTube
  4. Create the Twitter Account
  5. Optional: Setup a Facebook Fan page

ALL of those things could potential take place in Google’s suite of services.

  • Domain -> Blogger
  • Obvious
  • Obvious
  • Twitter -> G+
  • Facebook -> G+

Now all Google has to do is let me link all of these personas into one account making the management of the accounts a BREEZE. Then I won’t need Facebook, Seesmic, Hootsuite AND the official Twitter app on my phone. I would honestly drop updating all of those services and point people to my main Google Profile (which would in turn have my sub profiles/personas).

Then people could sign up to follow all of my updates from everything (personal, professional, video gaming, martial arts, etc.) or just pick and choose. And I, as a “hyperactive” content creator, would love the freedom of being able to clearly label where certain content should go.

Don’t like that idea and want to keep things the way they are? GREAT! Just don’t enable “labeling” (or whatever the feature might be called) and people will have to take you all or none.

Variations

What I described above would be perfect for me, but not for everyone. Here are a couple more versions to get you thinking.

Instead of various personas there could be the obvious “tags.” So when you added someone to your circle who had tagging enabled a prompt would come up:
“This person categorizes their updates so you can pick and choose what you would like and not like to see.” Then you’d see a list:

  • Video Games
  • Martial Arts
  • Tech
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Milwaukee
  • Personal
  • Cat Videos
  • Check-Ins
  • δΈ­ζ–‡ – Chinese

Or.

It could be as easy as having a personal and professional category (how many of you have 2 Facebook accounts for personal and professional?) Then between circles (you choosing who sees what) and people being able to choose what they want to see you’d only need the one profile.

Or.

I know I listed my personas like categories of me (which they kind of are), but how nice would it be to be able to manage your business accounts and your personal accounts from one service (Facebook has done a pretty good job with this). So, for example, my Black Horse Tai Chi Google Business Page (or whatever it will be called) could list me as the owner. Then you could just follow the business specific updates, or you could also follow me and see how much of a nutter I am (and decide tai chi definitely isn’t for you. πŸ˜‰ ). And vice-versa, the tai chi page would be listed as a business I owned on my personal page.

Conclusion

What’s funny is when I originally saw people complaining about this I thought to myself “What’s the big deal! If you don’t like their updates stop following them.” Then I thought about it for a little while. Then I realized that I’ve gotten so used to how bad of an experience I’ve had as a content creator on various content creation sites that I’ve just taken it as the norm. Then I realized it needs to change! Then I thought about how it could change. Then I wrote this blog post (after a vision in a dream from a Googling Daoist Immortal).

More noise should be made by more people about this subject so do what you can to get this idea to the right set of eyes. I’d also love to hear what you think or if you’ve read something really thoughtful about this share the link.

Google+ has a chance to do something that no one has successfully done yet. Done right I could easily drop off the face of the digital earth for all of the other services for a lot of what I do online (I understand that Facebook is currently the 800 pound gorilla that you need to invite if you want a big party.)

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10 Responses to A Solution For Categorized Updates On Google Plus

  1. miltownmom says:

    I check facebook so seldom that it isn’t effective for me. When I first got an account, I friended all these people I’m not really interested in seeing when I check facebook, and I haven’t invested enough time in playing on facebook to figure out how to tactfully remove them. I like the whole ideas of circles. Then I could just put those people in a circle that I check in when/if I want to.

    • miltownkid says:

      Woah mom! That’s a pretty savvy response and I’m glad the use of circles is so apparent. I’m sure you’re not alone in feeling that way. The circles takes care of one half of the problem. The other half is me being able to categorize my updates so people could pick and choose what they want from me.

  2. Chris says:

    I learned about you via your xbox rrod and youtube. Now you are internet royalty (to compare my steak tartare video only has 40k views compared to mr. bean who has 380k). You really need a TV show or something.

    Hi Mom!

  3. Faust says:

    Nice post. You bring up some very good issues. I am so glad I am no where near as big as you are. hahaha! Or else I would feel overwhelmed with all those networking options.

    I think a lot has to do with the mentality of the audience that has to change as well. We’re conditioned to expect things from our previous relationship with traditional media. One doesn’t turn on “Seinfeld” to watch Jerry talk about Semiconductors in a serious documentary. The most shows like that ever did was have something “serious” happen to one of the characters – usually completely forgotten about in the next show (Edith getting raped on “All in the Family”).

    I think strict channel content is limiting. And harder work, as you don’t have a team of writers that can come up with content on one topic. Just because you play videogames does that mean you should not talk about Daoism?

    I think if Raw William Johnson or SxEPhil started doing your broken-rhythm style they wouldn’t be doing as well as they normally do. Furthermore, they’d get no where near your channel’s popularity.

    “Hello Forum, I want to be serious [no transitions or quick cuts]. I want to talk to you about Daoism.” hahaha! That would go over great with the pedestrian YouTube crowd.

    I think so many people out there are used to seeing rehearsed material. That’s what they are comfortable with. Stale jokes and stale content.

    “It’s hard to have a rehearsed routine when dealing with broken rhythm.”
    – Bruce Lee The Game of Death

    • miltownkid says:

      Excellent Bruce Lee quote! Here’s another quote. What RWJ and SxEPhil do is akin to Karate in my quote…

      Take 3 people of equal strength and ability on study’s karate, one aikido and one tai chi. After 7 years the karate student will beat the aikido and tai chi student. After another 7 years the aikido student will beat both the karate and tai chi student. After another 7 years the tai chi student will beat both the karate and aikido student and it will stay that way.

      Not a direct quote, but it’s something Huang Xingxian said.

      It’s easy(er) to create a popular YouTube channel with tricks and gimmicks (after you’ve studied them). “Mastering” broken rhythm on the other hand. πŸ˜‰

      To put it another way… QUICK! Give me the name of a celebrity from the 1920s (might be easy for you if you know the 1920s better). First one that came to mind for me was Al Capone. πŸ™‚ He’s probably one of the most universally recognized names from that people (in the US). He didn’t get it from cheap parlor tricks.

      Or give me a name of someone famous from 1640? Or just the 1600s? Point is… I’m not sure. πŸ˜€ All I know is the famous come and go and LEGENDS… come and go too, they just seem to linger a little (or lot) longer. I’m trying to figure out this LEGEND thing and there doesn’t seem to be shortcuts for it (cause dammit, I’d use them! πŸ˜‰ )

  4. Pingback: Reflections On The YouTube Contest « miltownkid.com

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