In 2011, I was voted one of “The Best Google+ Users” by the Google+ community. While as an original member of the forum before it was open to the public, I’ve had an opportunity to develop what many say is one the best streams of content, because I foster conversation on controversial topics and have managed to maintain circles of fellow users who can discuss practically any subject without the discussion breaking down into argument, invective or worse. My stream positively rocks, and the “Block” feature on Google+ is in no small way responsible.
Google+ comes with a number of tools for its users to control the content they see on their individual streams. From posting within private circles, to muting content from specific users, to dropping a hammer on some through the “Block” function. When a fellow “Plusser” is blocked, they are removed from all of your circles, and you can no longer see any of their posted content. It is considered by some to be a punitive measure, a sort of last resort. I disagree.
I believe that on Google+, due to the wide range of opinion and diversity, it is critical to prevent your Google+ experience from becoming like “Deadwood”, an environment free or rules or controls.
The following are reasons why a person might find themselves blocked by their fellow Google+ users, which could indeed turn their Google+ experience into a Ghost-town. It is a simple guide of what types of behaviors you want to avoid.
1. You post nudity on the public stream, rather than in pre-approving circles. Google+ is now open to children under 18. You have a responsibility to keep your content from ending up in the wrong hands, whether you think it is “art” or not.
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2. You make generalizations about Races, calling out entire classes of people over behaviors you don’t like, instead of individuals. Generalizations over race, creed or color, will always get you blocked quickly by most of the community.
3. You believe that my popular threads are the perfect place for your pet issue or your spam, regardless of the thread topic. – A very annoying habit where when someone comes across a popular discussion thread, proceeds to place a link to either an advertisement or to their special interest in that thread, piggybacking on its popularity for their own agenda. This will get you blocked at light-speed.
4. You believe that your religion or lack of religion means that you, and only you, have all the answers to the world’s problems. Preaching your particular gospel to others, and condemning opposing points of view will warm up the block button quickly. There are dozens of religious-specific circles where people of like minds can discuss their faiths privately.
5. You believe that disagreement is tantamount to verbal assault, and go crazy in your desire for the last word. Debate is sometimes a lost art, and when faced with disagreement, anger often ensues, leading to unpleasant back and forth insult or worse. Learn how to agree to disagree.
6. You post opinion articles that have no basis in fact, but only further your personal agenda. Google allows everyone to post links to outside content, but you should at least fact-check prior to posting a link to irrefutable proof that eating Broccoli makes you sexy. (it doesn’t)
7. You believe the women of Google+ are there for your ogling and visual entertainment. They want neither your PMs or suggestive images. “PM’s” are short for Private Messages. What comes through private messages sometimes would make a porn-star blush. Before textually or visually accosting someone on the forum, ask yourself if your mother or sister would appreciate receiving your content?
8. Your sarcasm detector is broken, making you a major pain in the ass, until you get it fixed. Before you run off to report someone for posting a joke you did not consider funny, consider intent, not result. Cool your offended jets, or you will likely find yourself quite lonely in the forum.
9. You complain about Google + and spend your days comparing it to Facebook. We get it. If you don’t like it, go away. Negative nabobs get blocked very quickly. Nobody wants to hear that noise. There are too many options for your Social Media activities. Use them.
10. You give technical advice to other users with no understanding or background in Technology, leading others astray, or in some cases making things worse until they can find a better answer. If you don’t know what you are talking about, it’s fine, but pretend expertise is dangerous to unsuspecting users. Don’t do it.
11. You have circled me, but won’t let me see your profile, or you have not provided a profile. Google+ is for the purpose of discovering like-minds of interest. When a person circles others, while not sharing their own information, is considered bad-form. Someone (not me, of course) lacking patience might block you for it.
12. You consider being blocked a personal affront, rather than a tool that Google has provided to allow us to control the content of our streams. Some blocked users will complain about losing access to another by hopping from thread to thread and slandering their blocker out of earshot. This is considered dick-ish behavior. If someone does not want you on their thread, you might consider growing a pair, and getting on with life? You have no right to the streams of other users, if they don’t want you on them. Put some ice on that and take your blocking like a man.
13. You are a Pundit, Expert, Politician or Celebrity that will not respond to a direct question or comment from us lowly Plussers, lest your followers discover that you are just a poser or stand-in. This needs no further commentary, and any fool knows that dialog is a two-way event. “Fo-Shizzle” yourself, dude.
14. You, in the face of direct evidence, simply cannot, or will not, admit a mistake. You feel you are perfect, and above reproach. When posting on controversial threads, leave your ego at the door, and when proved wrong, just admit it. It is not illegal to be wrong, but you will get blocked if you come off as thinking you cannot make a mistake.
15. You, regardless of your intellect, feel the only way to get noticed and followed on G+ is to display cleavage at every opportunity. If you want to be respected for your mind, show me that, and not your goodies.
16 You, despite all reason, logic and excuses, are essentially just a jerk.
Google+ is a wonderful place to meet others, to learn, to share experiences, and develop your personal brand. Avoid the above behaviors, keep an open mind to other points of view, and do not hide behind your profile, and in no time flat, you will develop a rocking stream of content, and thousands of circles from other users. You might even meet the person of your dreams.
Rock on, Plussers!