When social networking is not working, Google+ users can turn to a new tool to silence unsolicited sharing.
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In a tacit admission that participation in Google+ can lead to unwanted interaction, Google has expanded the options for ignoring people on its social network.
Google+ launched with a Block option. Content posted by blocked Google+ users will not show up in your stream or in the Incoming channel, through which anyone who chooses to follow you can share with you, like it or not. Blocking someone removes that person from any Google+ circles and extended circles, if you have mutual connections.
Blocked people cannot view content you've shared, unless posted publicly, comment on your content, or reference it (or you) using a "+mention" in their posts or comments.
Acknowledging that Google+ users may want to avoid some people, Google engineer Olga Wichrowska, in a Google+ post, explained that the Ignore option helps users define relationships in a manner more consistent with the way they work in the real world. "Ignoring someone is basically saying you're just not interested," she said. "Maybe you don't know them or maybe you don't want to see what they're sharing."
When you ignore someone on Google+, you won't see any of their posts in the Incoming channel, won't see notifications about their activities, and won't see them on your Circles page.
As is the case with Block, when you choose to Ignore someone, that person is not notified. And it's here that Google+ norms diverge from social norms beyond the computer screen. When you ignore people in the real world, you do so at your peril.
Wichrowska says that Google will be continuing to improve Ignore and Block in the future. If neither works, there's always the nuclear option: Ignore Google+ entirely.
But think of the crazy cat videos and snapshots of people's meals you'd miss.
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