If you’ve joined a lot of Google+ communities looking for opportunities for discussion and to meet new people, you’re likely a member of at least a few communities that either aren’t active, or are not providing you with the valuable discussion you were looking for. These excess communities add to the total number of communities listed on your community page, complicating your ability to find and participate in the communities you’re interested in. And posts to these extra communities show up in your Home stream and drown out the more interesting posts.
Just like when we cleaned up and reorganized our Circles, we need to do the same thing with Communities regularly if we’re going to continue to gain value from the Communities and Google+.
First, go to your Communities page and review the Communities that you’re currently a member of. Go through each and determine whether or not you still want to be a member. If you aren’t getting any value out of a Community, or if it’s just not active, click on the Actions button in the left sidebar and select Leave Community. Once you leave a Community, you’ll automatically return to your Community page and can select a different Community. Repeat as needed.
UPDATE: As part of the Google+ Refresh on 05/15, there is no longer an Actions button. Instead, we have the same basic gear icon to access community settings as with other areas of our Google+ account. The gear icon is located near where the old Actions button was.
Note the red notification number on top of the thumbnail icon for each community. This indicates how many new topics have been posted to the community since the last time you were in that community. This is an easy way for you tell whether or not a community is active.
For all your remaining Communities, it’s time to decide just how active you want to be. How many Community posts do you want to see in your Home stream? You have the same options as with your Circles: More, Standard or Fewer, as well as the option to completely remove them from the Home stream. You also have the option to receive notifications for each and every post.
What settings you choose will depend on how you like to use Google+, and the Communities that you choose to join. I’m in Communities that are focused around Business and Marketing topics, as well as personal interests. I prefer to keep my Home stream as clear as possible of personal interests as I check it often throughout the work day. And instead, I can hop into a specific Community if I feel like catching up on the latest Sci/Fi developments or Android vs. iOS debates.
I will be writing in more detail another time about Google+ Community Strategy, which may help you further refine which communities you’re a part of and active in, but hopefully this will help you get started. If you have other questions about Google+ Communities, feel free to post them into the comments below, or contact me if you’d like help understanding how to incorporate Google+ into your business strategy.