Simple G+ Stream Management
There are lots of good resources for managing circles. This is how I manage my stream.
You can have as many circles as you'd like and you don't need to change the way you manage them. Instead, you want to build 3 meta-circles to manage the stream. These circles are:
Internet: Add everyone to this circle. Seriously, everyone. Every time someone adds you, add them to this circle. All of them. Don't discriminate at this step, there will be time for that later.
Main Stream: Add people to this circle if I don't want to miss any of their posts. This circle is made from people who I have in other circles related to our shared interests, but they are also in this circle because I want to make sure they appear in my stream.
Junk: Add people to this circle that you never want to see on your home stream.
I arranged my circles so that the Main Stream is first and the Internet circle is second, so they'll appear in my circle tabs on the home screen. Then, I set the main stream to full blast, the internet cicle to a drip, and the junk circle to zero, as indicated in the picture below. I have lots of other circles for my special interests, but with only a few exceptions those circles are also set to zero. In other words, my home stream is controlled entirely by the Main Stream and Internet circles.
That's it! I've circled over 3,000 people this way, and I'm able to manage my stream without much effort. I can't keep up with everything, of course, but with this method I have better control over what I'm expected to keep up with.
Try it out, let me know what you think!
Below I discuss the benefits of this method, and the details of how it works with your existing circle system:
The biggest benefit is that I don't spend time thinking about whether to add someone to a circle or what circle to add them to. I don't frontload any research about the people who add me to their circles; everyone goes in the Internet circle and is a part of my networks without giving it a second thought.
Moreover, I don't have to stress out about my general strategy for circle management. If I like your posts you go in the main stream, if I don't like them you go in junk. Everyone else hangs out in internet limbo until I get around to sorting them out and adding them to specific interest circles, which I can do on the fly from the stream when I have the time.
It's good to add other people to your circles. Lots of them, even if they are idiots. For one thing, if you don't follow them they might stop following you, using circle-uncircle or some other method, and that limits the influence you have in the network. Second, remember that Google is filtering your search results on the basis of your G+ network, and that will only become a more substantial part of search as time goes on. The way I see it, I don't want my search results to be too biased in any particular direction; keeping a healthy and diverse network ensures that I am not locking the search results in too small an echo chamber. So don't discriminate who you add to your networks. Radical inclusion is a fundamental value in the digital age!
I keep the internet stream at a drip, which means a fraction of that stream will appear in my home stream. I have about 300 people in my main stream circle, and around 1600 each in my internet and junk circles, and I've very happy with the results. Posts from the internet stream keep my home stream lively with new contributions from unexpected places, without overwhelming me and becoming completely unmanageable. If I feel my stream is moving too slow or my network feels "lonely", I'll crank up the internet stream, or check out that stream directly.
This is important: If I find posts by people I don't recognize in my main stream, but are posting on a topic I already have a circle for, I add them to that interest circle. In other words, adding someone to a specific circle is a sign that the poster doesn't just share an interest, but has demonstrated history of posting on that interest in a way that improves the quality of my stream. I treat it like a badge of honor: getting into an interest specific circle is something you have to earn. I've read people who go over profile details before deciding to add someone to a circle, and that seems like a waste of time. Why should I do the work to research their interests? This method allows everyone to prove themselves through their activity without trying to prejudge.
This method also lets me use interest circles as a check on indiscriminately tossing someone into the junk circle and out of my sight, or worse, banishing them from my network forever. If someone posts things I don't like for whatever reason, I might try to move them into the junk folder. However, if I see that they have some other shared interest, I might give them the benefit of the doubt and let them stay. If the post is particularly obnoxious, I might remove the interest circle so that I don't offer the benefit of the doubt next time, but otherwise this has helped me learn to deal with some stupid posts from some otherwise very clever people.
To sum up, this method of stream management gives me some fairly sophisticated control. Its designed so I can react to things I like or don't like easily. It saves me time and improves the quality of my stream, without trying to devise something that requires too much overhead or work to implement effectively.
The system seems so simple that I didn't think much of it, but I've seen more than a few people in comments struggling with their circles, so I figured this was worth writing up clearly. Hopefully this can be integrated with your existing circle management system without too much fuss or change. It's supposed to be simple, so keep it simple!
The basic framework for this method is derived from's method for circle management. Her helpful guide can be seen here: