Are you on Google+? If so, how often do you get a notification saying that some complete stranger has added you to their Circle? Then what do you do? Block that person or let him/her be?
Continue on if you are not sure about what to do, or unsure what the implications are when that happens.
What if you are not already on Google+, but want an invite? Feel free to post your Gmail address in the comments and I will send you an invite (I won’t be making comments with emails public, and will be deleting them afterwards, so you won’t get spammed).
First of all, unlike in Facebook, Google+ profiles are always public. That means anyone can see your Google Profile; for example, anyone can search for me on Google and see my public Google+ profile. Consequently, anyone can add you to one of their Circles if they also happen to be on Google+.
The rest of the article assumes that you didn’t take any further actions (i.e. didn’t add them to one of your Circles).
What does it mean to you?
- They can see ONLY your public posts. The rationale of public posts is to let anyone interested on your posts to read and comment on them. You can always disable comments if you don’t want anyone commenting on them. There is no harm in this!
- Their posts will only appear in your ‘Incoming’ stream and won’t fill up your main Stream. The main Stream only displays posts from people in your Circles. So, unless you added that person to one of your Circles, they won’t be able to spam or influence what you see. If you are curious about what they are posting, you can always go to the ‘Incoming’ stream and view their posts.
- They will only be able to see the fields you’ve marked as ‘Viewable to Public/Web’ in your Google+ profile page.
What does it mean to the person who added you?
- They will continue to see your public posts appear in their Stream (since you are already in one of their Circles).
- They can comment on your public posts (where you have not explicitly disabled comments)
- Their ‘People in my Circles‘ count will be increased by 1 (and your profile will be linked there).
Why would someone add you?
There could be many reasons behind why someone would want to add you to their Circles. Most of the time it boils down to the fact that they are just interested in reading (and perhaps commenting on) your public posts. Occasionally it might just be a (friendly) online stalker! Even then there won’t be any harm because (a) you won’t be publishing any private details as public posts (simply counter-intuitive), and (b) you should not be on Google+ (or have a Google Profile) in the first place if you desire complete online anonymity!!
I assume majority of the people who have added me (those that I don’t know personally) have done so because they are interested in the content of my blog! In turn, I follow few complete strangers on Google+ just because their posts resonates well with my personal interests.
What should you do?
Should you block them or just let them follow you? Are you obliged to follow them back (i.e. add them to a Circle)?
My suggestion is just let them be. Why bother? There is no harm in letting them add you, and does not impact your privacy much. The only exception being, there is no way (at the moment) to stop you from being displayed as part of their Circles (in their profile).
The only reason I would block someone would be if they spam my public posts with unnecessary/rude comments. Some people might be conscious about whose circles their appear on (for whatever reason!), and might block random people just to disassociate themselves.
I hope that you now have a better idea about the implications of “circling” someone! Personally, I like this ability because as a blogger I get to see a glimpse of what my followers are interested in, and help me to network with other like-minded people who I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to!
If you enjoy reading my posts, feel free to add me to your Google+ : https://plus.google.com/106475599767147024915/posts.