A G+ Primer

So you’ve been thinking about setting up a G+ account, but the platform is confusing. As a veteran of the platform I’m here to try to demystify it for you. Why? Because G+ is a powerful social media platform that deserves a second look.

In the past G+ was organized around Circles which were confusing to say the least. More than a year ago the team behind G+ started organizing the platform around Collections and more recently Communities.  Let me try to break down these two major components of G+ and how to use them.

Collections

More than a year ago the team behind G+ rolled out Collections and encouraged everyone to organize their posts around topics of interest. A Collection can contain photographs, writings, articles you want to share, re-shares from elsewhere on G+ or other platforms – pretty much anything you can think of that might be relevant to the topic of your collection. You want to create themes that are easy to understand with a title that will help people immediately know what they’re getting if they follow your collection. (Warning: when you first set up a collection do not set it to private, this can’t be undone).

The beauty of collections (which are similar to albums on Flickr) is that you can follow a person’s toy photography collection and not their collection filled with personal images, memes or politics. You can also search for collections by interest which makes it easy to find other toy photographers. If you’re a photographer with varied interest this is a great way to reach different audiences with a different collection for each of your photography styles. You can separate your night time photographs from your toy photographs; your funny memes from your politics; your selfies from your pet photos, your architecture photos from your street photography, etc. Get the idea?

If you’ve already been posting to G+ but haven’t been using collections, have no fear! You can move posts in and out of individual collections at any time. There is a drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of every post that you will want to be familiar with. If you want your work to be noticed, you will want to use collections; publishing to Public will not help the G+ team to find you.

Communities

Communities have always been around on G+ but they’ve been getting some attention lately in terms of promotion and new tools for moderators to help keep these groups from being a dumping ground for spam. Communities are large groups of individuals who are drawn together by a common theme. We host a StuckinPlastic Community on G+. You can also find communities around topics as diverse as US Southwest Travelers, Food Bloggers, Tech and CoffeeStreet Photography, Black and White Minimalism and Figure Photography.

Each community has its own rules about who and what can be posted but generally they’re there to encourage discussion and connection, not simply +1‘s. (The equivalent of a ❤️) As I’ve mentioned in the past social media means more to me than simply posting my latest toy acquisition and getting a few likes. I enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds, different interests and photography styles – all around the theme of toys. G+ has allowed me to continue on that journey of connections. I would love to build our Stuck inPlastic G+ community into a place that helps people connect and discus toy photography. I think there is plenty of room for growth in that area that exists between posting a 800 word blog post and a single image to IG or G+.

G+ Can Be Quirky

When you post an image, article or general witticism to G+ you have to decide where you’re going to place your post. You can move it later, but one post can only be in one place. So if you want to post an image to your own collection and to the StuckinPlastic community, you have to post it twice. If people are following both you and SiP they will see the image twice and this can be off-putting to some people. But I’ve found that if you post to our Stuck in Plastic community with images that encourage discussion rather than likes, it can make for a dynamic experience.

What I Like About G+
  • Once you comment on a post you will be notified of all future comments. This is a great way to follow a conversation or you can “mute” the post to no longer be notified of comments.
  • You can translate comments on your post, delete comments or simply +1 them rather than commenting if the comment simply needs to be acknowledged.
  • You can use bold, italicized and strike through in the body of your text.
  • You can disable comments on a particular post or your entire feed.
  • You can disable shares on individual posts.
  • You can arrange your setting so your images can’t be downloaded.
  • I’m introducing the concept of toy photography to a brand new audience that didn’t even know it existed. This has been a fun and the reception enthusiastic.
  • Interacting with some amazing non-toy photographers and learning and being inspired.
  • Opportunities like the G+ Mentorship Program. These are guided exploration opportunities around a photographic technique or idea.
  • The creation of the Create Community which is a place to connect with other content creators and find opportunities to collaborate, learn and share.
  • Being a part of a larger photography community, not only a toy photography community.
What I don’t Like About G+
  • There is not a large toy photography community.
  • The spam can be off the chart on some days. This is because G+ is pushing posts out to people to engage stagnant accounts. This is causing confusion and lots of weird comments. When this happens I disable comments on that post.

I realize that G+ isn’t for everyone, but I’m hoping that in time it will appeal to enough people who’re also looking to expand their horizons,  that we can build a vibrant toy photography community. If this sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to check out G+. Start an account, join the Stuck in Plastic Community, comment on one of my posts so I know that you’ve arrived and be sure to give it a fair test drive. If you have any specific questions that I didn’t answer here, please let me know in the comments.

Why do I keep pushing G+ when there are already so many wonderful platforms to publish your toy photographs too? Facebook has several popular toy communities including one run by the folks of “Toy Crew Buddies”, there is a strong community on Flickr where I first connected with Lynn and Luigi, and of course Instagram has the mother of all toy communities. But each of these community encourages simple sharing, a short comment or a simple like. G+ is the only platform that actively encourages a deeper connection, a chance to expand your knowledge. If this is something you’re looking for, I hope you will give G+ a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

So what are you waiting for you?

~ Shelly

Successfully G+ users you might have heard of: HarleQuin (featured collection), The Short News (featured collection),   Krash Override (featured collection and Create Member), AliceinCleveland (featured collection and Create member), Avanaut (featured collection), Joseph Cowlishaw (featured collection) and East_Mountain

If you’re interested in being a recommended collection, simply be a regular participant to the G+ community. Either I, or one of the other Create members will recommend you to the G+ team. Trust me, I’ve talked to these folks and they’re super excited about toy photography and want to support it. Great content is recognized by the G+ team and there are opportunities to have your work promoted on various Google platforms if you so desire. 

Published by

Shelly Corbett

<---- If I keep telling myself this, will it come true?

0 thoughts on “A G+ Primer”

    1. A “recommended collection” is when Google recommends you to other users with similar interests. Under the collections tab you will find them in the “featured” area. As a Create member all of your collections will be here. When you’re on mobile or on your computer, you can receive recommendations of interesting collections that fit your interests. Another way for the G+ algorithm to recommend your collections and help you connect with like minded people. Does that help?

      1. Yeah, that helps, thanks. I didn’t realize that was an automatic benefit. I thought you had to submit your collection to be a featured collection.

  1. Wow, I’m so glad you wrote this Shelly. The last time I went to Google+ I was overwhelmed by all the changes. Maybe now I can figure it out 🙂

    I enjoy all the wonderful people I’ve met on Flickr. It makes me curious about the other communities too 🙂

    1. Lynn I hope you will give G+ try. Like any new platform, it will take time to find your way and an appreciative audience. But I have to say, I’ve received some of the nicest comments ever on this platform. The audience I’ve built in the last 16 months, so many have never seen this type of work before. I know your photos would be even more appreciated than mine! Let me know if you give it a try and I will see what I can do to help you find that appreciative audience. 🙂

  2. Hello 🙂
    Thank you for this post. I am new to G+ and trying to understand it. I have made some colletions and I follow you and have now joined SiP on G+ aswell. This could open up a new world of inspiration to me 🙂

    1. Stefan Welcome to G+! Please comment on one of my personal posts so I can follow you back! I hope you will be an active member of our little plastic community. I think this will be a wonderful place to continue the conversations started on the blog and talk about our imagery beyond likes and +1’s. Im very excited about the possibilities and I’m so glad you will be a part of it!!

  3. This is really an excellent write-up, Shelly. Thanks! You definitely demystified the platform for me. I signed up years ago when it was built around those circle things. Needless to say, I never engaged with the platform. I’m going to go back and check it out… what you wrote sounds amazing.

  4. Thank you so much Shelly! That’s so useful! I have a G+ account, but I must confess, I’ve (almost) never used. But after reading this post of yours I’d love to give it a try! Let’s see what I’ll be able to do… 😉

    1. It would be lovely to see you there Luigi! But G+ isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for likes and accolades, maybe not so much. If you’re looking for strong community, we’re small but growing. If you’re looking to get your work out to a brand new audience that isn’t failure with toy photography – you’ve come to the right place. Also our little SiP community is growing. I have hopes it will be a really nice extension of the blog soon. I hope to see you there! xo

  5. Great post, Shelly! I’ve been trying to work G+ into my normal social media routine, but do admit that it sometimes slips my mind. Part of that has been my minimal understanding of the platform, so posts like this are super helpful!

    See you out there!

    1. James I think G+ would be a great platform for you to play on. It would accommodate all your passions in separate collections: photography, blogging, tv reviews, pop culture news. I hope you will give it some time and a little effort to build an audience. I will help as I can 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *