I absolutely love Google+
As far as social media goes, I’d much rather post there than anywhere, and I hear that same sentiment all the time from other photographers on G+. In fact, I find myself posting there more than anywhere, and in just a few short weeks the number of people of follow me on Google+ blew right past the number of people who follow me on Facebook (and I’ve been posting regularly there for almost two years).

Although Google+ (which had been in a semi-private beta testing period) is only about three months old, the day before yesterday Google+ (G+ for short) opened their doors to the public and now anybody can have a G+ account (it’s free), so today I thought I’d share what I love about Google+, and why I think it’s such an amazing community for photographers. Plus, I’ll give you some great folks to follow on Google+, too!

G+ knows how important photos are to….well….everybody
That’s why when you post an image, it appears much larger—right on your page—- that it does on Facebook or Twitter, and if you click on it, it opens to an even larger view with a black background, and you can easily see the EXIF data on the photo by clicking on the Actions button. It’s a beautiful way to show your images, and once you see it, you immediately understand why photographers like it so much.

It’s easy to find other photographers
When you first join Google+, it recommends people to follow in lots of different categories and that includes a category for photographers. Plus, there are already lots of lists out there leading you to active photographers on G+, so finding people to add to your circles is easy.

How it looks matters to us
I think another one of the things that attracted photographers to G+ is the overall look. The interface looks great, and how things look really matters to creative people. The visual nature of the way you put people in “circles” (kind of like Facebook’s group, only much more visual and easier to use), really attracted me right off the bat, and the whole thing feels very well thought out–very visual—very easy to use.

It’s very much like having your own blog, without the hassle of having your own blog
You can make posts like you would on a blog, and people can comment just like they do. You’re not limited to a certain number of words (like Facebook or Twitter), and if you write a post, and you make a mistake, or want to edit, delete or add something, you can actually do it (without having to start from scratch).

Google+’s Terms of Service don’t punish photographers
They clearly tell you in their Terms of Service—you retain your copyright: “11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.” Besides, do you really think Google put this elaborate master plan together just to “steal” your photos? (wink).

Their photo stream is awesome
I’m one click away from seeing lots of amazing photos, presented in a way that make it really conducive to browsing great photography (I feel it does this much more so than Flickr by a long shot).

From a “content creator’s” standpoint, I feel it’s much easier and more flexible than either Twitter or Facebook
It gives you options and features that neither one has, and it’s too much to go into here, but once you start posting there…you’ll see what I mean.

It’s not going to replace Facebook
My friends are on Facebook. My family is on Facebook. Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But I’d be worried if I were Twitter. I used to really enjoy Twitter, until I started using G+. I know a lot of folks out there still love Twitter, but G+ gives you lots of freedom whereas Twitter imposes lots of rules. It’s very text-oriented, and text-based. It’s like a Web site of text messages, and sometimes it feels very….well…DOS-based. G+ gives you the freedom everybody says they’re clamoring for. I find myself using Twitter less and less. I’m not alone.

Google+ adds improvements and enhancements almost daily
It’s been around only 90 days, and I just recently read where they have already released more than 100 user-driven improvements and tweaks. What other company is doing that anywhere? Flickr feels like someone has poured a gallon of molasses over it so it never moves. Ever.

I feel like G+ people are more engaged
If I post something to G+, the response is immediate, the numbers are big; it’s engaging, the people are very civil and friendly, and it definitely has a really great vibe.

Great photographers are already there, and they’re posting great stuff
Photographers like Trey Ratcliff, John Paul Caponegro, Frank Doorhof, Catherine Hall, Colby Brown, Robert Scoble, Moose Peterson, Jeremy Cowart, Terry White, Thomas Hawk, Joe McNally, Brian Matiash, and of course all my crew: RC, Brad, Pete, Dave Cross, and Matt Kloskowski. I also follow people like Guy Kawasaki and Leo Laporte who cover everything tech but also have interesting posts on everything!

If you’re new to Google+, make sure you read this:
Colby Brown wrote an essentials guide for photographers new to G+. I read it as soon as I started posting there, and I really found it invaluable. Colby just updated it big time, with all the latest stuff. Once you sign up, read this next (you’ll be glad you did). Here’s the link.

There’s more to G+ than just photography
It’s a new social media platform, so they have everybody from Hollywood Celebrities to scientists to athletes, so it’s attracting everybody (and they are breaking records with the number of people who’ve joined G+ in such a short time), and people who are in those circles may not even realize that photographers are even on there. G+ is big (with 43 million+ users already), and getting bigger every single day. Don’t be the last one to get on board and think, “Man, I should have done this a long time ago.”

I hope you’ll follow me there, too!
Although I still post to my Facebook page and to Twitter, I have to be honest—Google+ has won my heart, and I find myself posting more there, and wanting to post more there, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Here’s where you can follow me on this great community for creative folks…like you:  http://kel.by/onGplus