Google+ is a social media platform allowing users to interact and connect with people around the world. Much like Facebook, users can publish and share digital content. Unlike Facebook, the focus of Google+ isn’t about creating a network made of family, co-workers and friends. Google+ has designed a solution for individuals that want to find the like-minded. It’s a site about sharing interests, passions and hobbies.
One can only imagine how beneficial this arena would be to a photographer. While there are plenty of online opportunities where images are shared, Google+ has become a major meeting place for exposure and expansion of one’s craft. While there are sufficient sites for showcasing a photographer’s work, most are static and not moving with the advancements of the web. Tumblr and Pinterest are two solid examples of platforms that have utilized the web to stay current and innovative.
Google+, while not aiming at any specific target audience, has managed to revitalize the online photography community with its open platform, the simplicity of displaying images and its “Hangout” niche. To prove how Google+ has energized the online photography community, it only took a mere three months to generate a picture book with 200 pages of visuals from 53 countries and four different continents. The electronic version of the book contains 521 pages. It includes works from some of the most well known photographers in the business.
What distinguishes Google+ from a popular social media outlet like Facebook is that users can index content, making it searchable on the Internet. Facebook itself is actually a closed network. Any content and information are kept inside Facebook, making the maximum reach for your content purely on Facebook. This means that while Facebook is certainly a great place to showcase your work, Google+ is the greater opportunity for exposure of your work.
Hangouts are truly the gem in the Google+ repertoire. This consists of letting up to 10 people engage in a video conference. The participants can be anywhere in the world. Hangouts can be for such diverse activities as discussing and collaborating on a project or watching videos as a group, all while sharing the same screen. And for free.
Google has actually enhanced this great feature’s potential by adding “On Air.” The user can broadcast a live Hangout on Google+ while recording the Hangout. After completion, the recording is promptly uploaded to your YouTube channel. It can now be edited and republished anywhere on the Internet. It’s like having a mini-production company. Photographers have taken advantage of this with their Google+ photography shows.
On Facebook, the equivalent of Circles might be Friends. But there is a very important distinction. On Facebook, the two parties must agree to follow each other. Google+ Circles consists of the people that are following you or vice versa without the obligation of reciprocating. A user can also break groups into Circles. There can be Circles for family, friends, colleagues, fans and any combination thereof. This is an excellent opportunity for filtering. A photographer could send a batch of images to a group of customers or holiday photos to family only. This is a great feature, being able to use a single profile for multiple purposes by utilizing filters.
Events on Google+ have all the services and products that Google offers its users. An event can be created in a few mouse clicks. The Google Calendar is integrated so any event that’s planned and any invitees that accept will see it automatically pop up in their calendar. They will even receive reminders.
Google+ Events also has “Party Mode.” If enabled on a mobile device, images taken during the Event are automatically uploaded to the Event page. It’s an excellent tool for endeavors like a photography workshop or marketing one’s film work.
Utilizing Google+ Photography Community
From novice to professional, Google+ has intrigued photographers with its clean interface and the fact that uploaded images look great on the site. Offering many and often better ways to engage, interact and connect with fellow photographers, this specific Google+ community has grown significantly in the last two years. Aspiring photographers and anyone trying to start up a business definitely need to give Google+ a serious look.
Considering how quickly the Google+ photography community was able to put together an entire book (which may be the first in a series), it’s obvious Google+ has become far more than a place to hangout. It’s becoming a stable environment for photogs to network and promote their work.
The best part of utilizing Google+ is taking advantage of Google itself. Remember, it owns one of the biggest and most popular search engines in the world. Google indexes the majority of information making a tremendous amount of it searchable based on any keywords a user may include. If “New York” and “Photographer” appear in your bio, your page will show up with other New York based photographers. And don’t forget, Google searches can be location specific. Information about where you live or where you are working will help others connect with your posts.
Google+ has too much potential to not at least be explored. With Circles, a user has extreme control over who sees their published content as well as what content thet see. Events offer the opportunity to demonstrate and share skill and passion. There is room for personal interaction, inspiration and education for everyone ready to share their zeal for photography.