Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Circle Game

Originally, it was a song, written by Joni Mitchell in the 1960’s. A cover version by the folksinger Tom Rush amassed much attention to the tune. Rumored to be either about Joni’s painful decision to give up a child born out of wedlock at age twenty or a response song to Neil Young’s “Sugar Mountain”. Or perhaps both. At any rate, it appears to be a song that leads us through being a child and reaching young adulthood.  And maybe getting stuck in a cycle of sorts. Or maybe a circle.

We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

My, has the definition changed! And yes, Joni, indeed your words are true; some of us do look behind but realize we can’t relive it.

But Google+ circles have changed that, at least in the virtual world of social networking. As we all navigate this strange new world that some of us have chosen to enter courtesy of Google, circles guide our time spent there.  The circles change as we “grow older” with Google+; we learn from our past as novices as we blossom into seasoned participants. And how many circles did YOU start out with? I started with THREE, one of which consisted of people I know quite well (your definition of “quite well” may differ from mine, so I won’t bore you with those details).

That circle is still with me. It is small, but now boasts close to 100 people. As time marches on and I’m meeting new folks on Google+, a few of them have inspired me to rethink The Circle Game again and again. I’m now up to ten, with various degrees of segmentation. Recently, I started one for “Market Research”.

A gent found me on Google+ after I threw a question out about Twitter. Turns out he makes a living from one of the industries that puts food on my table too. He led me to a list of market researchers on a site called Google Plus counter ( He had created the list on this site, and upon my asking, added me as well. What a find! I’m now in the process of adding some of those folks to my circle. Already knew of a few of them via Twitter and LinkedIn, however, here’s another contact opportunity to have with them for an intelligent conversation!  And go round and round and round in The Circle Game.

And who knows what’s next? Will Google+ decide to make some changes regarding the way circles work? So far I’m pleased, but who’s to say they couldn’t add in more flexibility? There’s always a better mousetrap to be built. Google+, please let me color code my circles so that it’s easy to spot the most important ones or the ones that are more casual vs. more work related. After all, carousels have lots of colors to them.

Now, I’m not making any complaints! Circles are fantastic compared to those cumbersome things that Facebook calls lists!

Joni wrote “We're captive on the carousel of time” however, as we go round and round, no matter how great already, it should become even greater to do so.

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