So like many of you, I finally got a Google+ invite, and plan on kicking the tires a bit over the next few days. But as I was quickly scanning the features, and reading great previews like this one, I was looking for a specific feature.
I want the ability to follow content in addition to following people.
Let me give you an example (because I can already tell I’m not doing a good job of explaining myself). We all have our networks on Facebook and Twitter. And we are probably following the people that aren’t family for a specific reason. Maybe it’s for their social media knowledge, or because they are industry sources, whatever. But come next year, a big portion of your network (at least those in the United States) will probably engage in discussing the same topic: Politics. And if you are following a few dozen ‘A-listers’ for advice and wisdom on social media, it can be a jolt to see them suddenly on Facebook and Twitter every day saying that they think your favorite Presidential candidate is a blithering idiot.
So then comes the question: How do you handle this? You are following a person because you want to hear their opinions on social media, not politics. Do you unfollow them? Do you grit your teeth and bear it? Do you argue with them? I do the same thing: Last fall, on Saturdays I started tweeting score updates from the 1 or 2 college football games I was watching. Then I had friends tweeting me asking for the score to a particular game, and the next thing you know, I am all but live-tweeting about 5 different games at the same time. Some of my followers absolutely loved it, and some of them unfollowed me because they weren’t following me for college football updates, they were likely following me for social media discussions.
The shortcoming I see from existing social media tools is that there’s no efficient way to filter based on content created. Sure, you can create groups or lists of like minded individuals, but even that doesn’t guarantee that ‘unwanted’ content won’t be discussed. And if you could filter someone based on content, would you even want to? Is this a viable concern, or is it maybe an unintentional byproduct of following a lot of people that we really don’t know?
What do you think the solution is? Do you unfriend/follow people that discuss topics that don’t interest you? If you had the ability to filter their content based on type, would you?