Intro to Google+
Photography is meant to be shared. We photographers need a supportive community to inspire our work and our best images deserve an appreciative audience. When we connect with peers and mentors, we can learn new photographic techniques and surround ourselves with new sources for inspiration.
For a few years, I have been searching for the right social media platform to share my images, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom articles, and video tutorials. I have been seeking a place where I can get feedback on my images from a global audience. I have been searching for a social network where I can start up conversations with other photographers, discover inspiring new work, and share new Photoshop Lightroom image processing techniques. I have been on a quest to find the right place where I can publicly share what I create and absorb lessons from my peers.
As I have pursued this search, I have dabbled with Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and many more. Each of these social sharing sites caught my attention but none of these platforms offered exactly what I needed. Flickr has been my favorite photo-sharing outlet for many years, but this platform only allows its users to post photos. It’s great for photography but useless for sharing my articles and Lightroom video tutorials. Flickr, and similar sites, are great places to go looking at other people’s work but useless if you want to read, or watch, and learn.
Fortunately, my search has come to end now that Google+ is on the rise. Google+ is now the second most popular social sharing tool in the world and its impact on mass communication is just beginning. I don’t really care about the site’s global popularity. What matters to me is the way that it creates engaging conversations and opens avenues for learning amongst photographers.
In my opinion, Google+ is now the best place on the web for photographers to share their work, to form connections with other artists, and to learn inspiring new techniques. Google+ is new, but it is a mature platform created by web designers with a real interest in helping visual artists like us.
Let’s be clear: Google+ is not Facebook. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with old friends and family members. Facebook is a good platform for connecting with people that you already know. Facebook is a good way to see snapshots of your distant nieces and nephews, and to occasionally watch someone’s funny cat video, but the platform itself is not designed to reward photographers.
The way that Facebook displays photographs is simply awful, in my opinion. There is no way for Facebook to completely hide the interface so that you can just enjoy an amazing image without any advertising or additional distractions. But the biggest problem is that Facebook is not designed to encourage public conversation.
Facebook is not designed to help you find and connect with a global audience of artists that you have never met. If I don’t know you then I should not be able to see your photos on Facebook nor should you be able to see any of mine. If I don’t know you then you should not be able to read my articles or watch my videos on Facebook.
This is the “closed social loop” idea. It’s great for staying in touch with friends and family, but it guarantees that this is the wrong platform if you are searching for inspiring work from other photographers. Facebook does me absolutely no good if I want to search for new artists and to see images from photographers that I have never met.
Google+, on the other hand, is an “open loop network” built around the concept of search. Google = Search! This is a platform for sharing ideas, and inspiring images, in a public forum. Unlike Facebook, Google+ is a great way to meet and discover new photographers, artists and thinkers without the expectation that they are your “friends.”
Most of all, I love Google+’s clean interface. I love the way that Google+ can display photo albums and slideshows without any advertising or sidebar distractions. Google+ is designed to display high resolution photos without user interface distractions. This is a platform that wants you to share big high-quality photos, instructional videos and concise articles. This is a platform that wants you to see great images, to learn, and to get inspired.
I believe that this is now the best place on the web for photographers to see each others work and to start sharing ideas. Google+ is the platform that you need to connect with an ever expanding pool of others who share your passions and to join in the conversation – and all that you need is a Gmail address!
If you found this article useful then please add me to one of your Circles so that you can see the images, articles, videos, and photography advice that I share online everyday. We would love to connect with you so please add the Rocky Mountain School of Photography into one of your circles too!
Knowledge is power. Google+ is a powerful tool. If you want to use this platform, well then I strongly recommend reading both of these short books. A little guidance goes a long way.
David Marx will be teaching several sessions of our Lightroom for Photographers workshop in 2013. Consider joining him in one of these locations:
Lightroom for Photographers – San Antonio, Texas (5/9—5/12)
Lightroom for Photographers – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (5/30—6/2)
Lightroom for Photographers – Chicago, Illinois (6/6—6/9)
Lightroom for Photographers – Cedar Rapids, Iowa (7/25—7/28)
Lightroom for Photographers – Nashville, Tennessee (8/1—8/4)
Lightroom for Photographers – Wichita, Kansas (8/8—8/11)
Lightroom for Photographers – Duluth, Minnesota (9/5—9/8)