My new piece on Dialect is my second discussion of G+ and Facebook.
Google’s circles, I’m constantly told, allow you to share content with different groups. You can skip the updates who bore you! You can make an unread circle of people you’d feel guilty unfriending, and they’ll never know that they’re in the Guilt Circle!
But… Facebook’s already offered filters with the same functionality for posting and reading. Facebook users can already take people off their feed and still maintain Facebook friendship with them. And, just like in the Google+ Guilt Circle, they’ll never know about it, so your uncle’s political links can go totally unread without any unfriending awkwardness at Thanksgiving dinner. Facebook users can already lock what you post to select groups of friends, allowing you to post your snarky work-hating updates on a colleague-free list, or protect your epic bar photos from your mom. So that’s hardly innovative for G+.
I simply don’t see any functionality praised in a Google circle that isn’t already offered by other social networks. Lest I come off like a Facebook fangirl, I’ll point out that proto-blogsite LiveJournal offered filtered lists 10 years ago.