Today I got a link from a facebook friend that I thought I should check out. It is called Circle and it is a “hyper local” social network that can allow you to connect with existing friends in your area but also to meet new people in your suburb that might share your interests.
You can think of it as twitter but you don’t need to follow to see what others post and the collection of people using the network is limited to a tight geographical area. It is kind of taking a global concept and shrinking it down to your immediate area.
It is not exactly new as it has been around since April 2012 but Circle seems to be reaching Australia and gaining traction. The concept is not really too different from what Facebook does except for the design in much nicer and the location sharing only goes as far as the suburb. As with all social networks though you have to keep in mind that everything you are sharing is available to the general public (so no personally identifiable or other sensitive information should be shared) as well as pulling in almost all of your facebook data.
In Perth, people seem to be working out what this thing does but in other places where circle seems to have been established a little longer there are stories of people getting help when broken down, finding local events and helping businesses promote local specials on goods and services.
Of course with the hook into facebook, Circle has also annoyed some people that seem to constantly get requests to join circle. This is where setting up your Circle app carefully pays off. My recommendation is to turn off automatic posting to your social media streams for almost all for your posts to circle and only turn it on for when you are absolutely sure that you want to share circle posts with the other social media networks.
As with other social media apps, how it is used comes down to the end users and mostly will determine how successful the service becomes. I for one will be watching this one closely. I like the concept and the design of the app and I think it will be fascinating to see how this network matures.
Good luck Circle.