Google+, Day 20: Google+ Makes 'Unfriending' More Polite


I like Robert Scoble, or I wouldn't have him in my Circles in the first place. But, I don't agree with everything he posts, and even when I do agree, I don't want his posts hogging my Stream. Rather than remove him from my Circles, though, I can click the drop-down arrow at the upper-right of the offending post and click "Mute this post" to simply remove the post from my Stream.

The "Black Hole" Circle

What if I don't really want to read anything that someone posts, but I don't want to offend them by removing them from my Circles entirely? Perhaps an annoying co-worker, or my Tea Party uncle who likes to spam me with moronic assertions, and fantastic myths about the Obama administration that any 10-second search on or would prove utterly baseless.

Thankfully on Google+ the can see that I have them in a Circle--but they can't see what the Circle is called, or have any insight into how or why or if I ever use that Circle. I can create a "black hole" Circle that gives the illusion that someone is still part of my social network while effectively removing them at the same time. So, I can put my uncle in a Circle called "Tea Party wackos" and just never bother looking at the Stream from the Circle.

The "black hole" Circle concept isn't perfect. If I never share any of my posts with my "Tea Party wackos" Circle, my uncle will experience an awkward silence from me. He may wonder whether I am just not very active on Google+, or he might put two and two together and figure out that I put him in a "black hole" Circle.