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I am! Be sure to add me to one of your circles (add Darren too here)! I started a thread to gather up all the readers from DPS and put them into one big circle so I can share stuff here and there just with you guys. Just leave a comment on that thread so I can see your name and add it to my DPS Readers circle. In the future I’ll use this circle to bounce ideas off of, share images and links, hold exclusive hangouts and this sort of thing.
Well, I’ve officially run out of the 150 invites that Google+ gives each person. So I have an idea, and but it will only work if existing G+ users participate in the comment section: Each person on Google+ has a link they can share that starts out with 150 invites to G+. If you are willing to share that link with DPS readers to get them into G+ then copy the link and leave it in the comment section below. If you decide to use someones link for an invite then be sure to add that person to one of your main circles so the inviter is getting something back for sharing their invites.
Google+ is here to stay. I said that with about 90% certainty in my last article on the topic (Why Photographers Should Love Google+) and now I’m saying it with 99.999% certainty (I’ll go ahead and leave a margin of .001% just so I have some sort of leg to stand on in case the world falls apart in some catastrophic mess, hehe).
I thought it might be a good idea to write an article here at DPS to help those out who are somewhat new to the G+ community and/or just want some tips for making the most out of the time you spend there. So let’s get started!
The ability to divide the people you follow up into circles is one of the key advantages to using G+. How well you organize your circles (or how poorly) will greatly affect your experience with using this new social media platform. If you have everyone in one big circle then you might as well be on Facebook. So spend some dedicated time dividing people into unique circles that mean sometimes to you.
I don’t have hundreds and hundres of circles, but the circles I do have are there for very specific reasons. I have circles for family, close friends, people I do hangouts with on a regular basis, DPS readers, DPS writers, Google+ Celebrities (people with large followings who put out a LOT of information) and so on and so forth. I created the circle for G+ Celebs because of the amount of posts they create. If I didn’t have them in their own circle, my feed would constantly be overrun with posts by these people and I would have to wade through them in order to find stuff I’m interested in at the moment. Circles are you friend, so get to know each other!
Consuming information on G+ or any media platform is great. I do it here on DPS and on G+ all the time. But if you want others to follow you then you need to become interesting to them. They need to have a reason to follow you. I strongly suggest that you step out and start producing original content for others to consume. This can be as simple as sharing photos from your portfolio or as complicated as paving the way for Google+ users by coming up with new ideas from a fresh perspective. One thing I like to do is provide daily tips that go along with the images I share. If you just sit back and take take take, then don’t be surprised if your following doesn’t start to build. It’s those who are constantly giving that everyone wants in their circles.
Google+ is great on it’s own but my goodness do I love the extensions that are available out there! G+ extensions are mostly available through the Chrome Web Store so (correct me if I’m wrong) I believe these extensions are only available to those using Chrome for their web browser. If you aren’t using Chrome, then you are missing out. I used to use Safari on my Mac, then switched to Firefox but now I only use Chrome (and no I don’t get paid by Google to stay nice things about their products, I just love pretty much everything they put out there and am happy to promote it). Some of my favorite extensions for Google+ include…
+Photo Zoom: This is probably my absolute favorite extension. It’s pretty simple, but incredibly handy. Just hover over an image in your feed and the full size image (now only constrained by the size of your browser) will pop out until you stop hovering over it. This allows you to really hone in and focus on the details of an image without actually having to click on it and leave your main feed. This extension is one of the reasons I started uploaded much larger images to my G+ profile. I want people with this extension to really be able to appreciate the images I put out there.
Google+ Ultimate : This extension effects the interface of Google+ in a bunch of cool ways. You can create floating panels which means that your top bar will stay at the top while you scroll down so you always have access to it. You can also add backgrounds to your feed to help break things up a bit. There’s even an option to make the menu bar more compact to allow more room for content.
Replies and more for Google+: This one adds a bunch of keyboard shortcuts to use for leaving comments but also adds some new buttons to your feed for ease of use. Definitely worth checking out.
Usability Boost: Another interface extensions that just makes everything prettier and easier to get to. Direct access to the mute post button in case you’re tired of seeing a certain post, darker background option, starred posts and more.
Plus Minus: I am on Google Chat quite often, but I prefer using iChat on my Mac for this. For a while, it was very annoying that if I was speaking to someone on iChat then the conversation would appear in Google+ as well. Then I was turned on to Plus Minus. This extension will completely get rid of certain features that you don’t like in G+ like the chat feature.
Oh man, I can’t stress this one enough. Google+ Hangouts are so great! It has been my single favorite feature on G+ for quite some time now. I think it’s very smart that Google called these things ‘Hangouts’ because that’s exactly what they are. Hangouts are just very laid back video chats with people all around the world. You can have up to 10 people in any given hangout and it’s up to everyone in the room how the conversation goes. Some people however are quite intimidated by this feature because it’s so new and unique. Don’t be! Just go do your hair, make sure your room is somewhat presentable if it’s in the background and go for it!
My big word of advice for those hosting a hangout is this: Have a plan. I’ve seen a few hangouts here and there become somewhat awkward because the host didn’t really have a good direction for the talk to go in. It’s important that if you’re going to host one of these hangouts to have some sort of direction for the conversation to go. Have a list of topics to bring up on the fly in case the conversation stops and everything gets quiet for a bit.
My buddy Jacob Lucas and I started doing Photo Critique hangouts and they have been very beneficial to us and the participants. The basic premise of these has been that whoever joins the hangout will provide at least one image for the entire group to critique. Either Jacob or myself will start things off and give a full critique of the photo in a civil and helpful way. The we open it up to the group and let everyone chime in as they’d like. This type of forum is helpful to photographers because it’s not that often that we get a chance to really get some honest feedback on our work.
I’ve also started sharing images on my feed and opening them up for full critiquing. I’ve found that you have to mention in the post for the image that you want critique because otherwise everyone is just too nice, which is great most of the time!
As I mentioned in an earlier post about G+, my time on Facebook and even Twitter continues to dwindle. I realized today that I haven’t spend more than 5 minutes on Facebook in the last couple of weeks. I still use Twitter to share links and promote stuff that I think is interesting but even Twitter is starting to bug me at times. I used to think the character limit was a great idea, but now it drives me nuts. I was trying to send a DM the other day and it took me nearly 10 minutes to shorten the message down to fit in a DM.
G+ is seriously where it’s at for photographers right now. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I would guess that the majority of people there right now (during BETA) are photographers. Everything that G+ has to offer just works in our favor. With as little time as I have to spend online, I have to choose my social networks wisely and for now…I choose G+. Hope to see you there too!
DPS Writers on G+
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