Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

If you’ve ever read the Toy Photographers blog, you know that we’re big fans of Google+.

We leave a little invite to our community at the end of each blog post, and Shelly herself has written several posts about the thriving platform, the big opportunities available there, and how our community was even featured in Mashable earlier this year.

I won’t rehash too much of what Shelly has already said here, but because of the disappointing and frustrating goings on over at Instagram at the moment, I thought I’d take this opportunity to offer my two cents on why Google+ has quickly become my go-to platform for toy photography.

Like many, I always viewed Google+ as the redheaded stepchild of the social media space. With giants like Facebook, Instagram (which is now owned by Facebook), and Twitter dominating the internet, do we really need Google+? As it turns out, we do! Because of all off the social media channels out there, Google+ seems to be the most receptive to creativity, to connecting with others with common interests, and with supporting its users.

Twitter has come under fire in recent months for how badly it fails to stop abusive bullying. Facebook has felt corporate for years, and Instagram is slowly “shadow-banning” users for arbitrary or confusing reasons, adding algorithms that make it harder for posts to be seen, and ultimately turning its back on the communities that helped make it popular in the first place.

Google+, however, feels like a new frontier.

Or, at least, feels like the kind of unsullied and limitless playground that places like Instagram used to be.

Stormtrooper punk google+
Google+ is the new punk rock!

I began actively using Google+ last November, and quickly fell in love with it. It’s now my primary place for sharing my work and communicating with my friends and fellow photographers.

I want to take a moment here to thank Shelly for all that she has personally done to foster the toy photographer community on Google+. And when I say “community,” I don’t just mean the official Toy Photographers community that you can become a member of. I mean the global community of toy photography that is not only growing, but booming and expanding every single day. And the best part is, the folks at Google+ are working with her to continue fostering that growth, and are even helping sponsor the upcoming San Francisco Toy Safari! How cool is that??

So, when I say that Google+ is the best place for toy photographers, I mean that because Google+ is actively making sure that it is.

I also want to thank Tony Tulloch, AliceinCleveland, Jason Nvmore, and Brett for acting as the moderators in the G+ community. Their tireless efforts have created a safe and exciting place to share your work, grow your audience, participate in monthly challenges, share behind-the-scenes shots and stories, and so much more. We’re always looking to put the social back in social media, and there’s no better place for that than G+!

Jason is also the first one to suggest that you “Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies” in relation to the Google+ community. And while G+ more closely resembles the establishment-toppling Rebel Alliance than the more Facebook-like Empire, it’s a fun designation for the community nonetheless and was the inspiration for my Darth Vader wheelbarrow photo you see here.

So, yes, come to the Dark Side! We have the most delicious, accepting, fun, and exciting cookies around.


Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when we have a new post ready for you!


  1. If there’s cookies then count me in 🙂 I’m enjoying the community on Google+. I haven’t posted on IG since my last post was “Shadow Banned”. I’m grateful for the communities where I can get to know people better, like Flickr and Google+ 🙂 See you on the Dark Side, James!


    • It’s been great seeing you over on G+, Lynn! I know Flickr is more your speed, so it’s cool to see you tapping into the community. I like Flickr a lot as a place to host my photos in high quality, but have yet to really tap into the community beyond just adding my pictures to groups.

  2. No one has more cookies than Facebook, if you’ve ever checked out tracking software you’d realise just how much Facebook has burrowed into your life!

    Google+ lost me for the longest time at the start because they couldn’t figure out what they wanted to do, they changed it frequently and dramatically, even sometimes changing the nomenclature of some elements, that didn’t help with trying to get people on board.

    For a while I tried out and found them to be pretty good, they are still growing their feature set, and their manifesto to always be there for the user before any advertising (which they don’t have) or tracking (which they don’t do) was a breath of fresh air. But getting people to go over there was impossible. Facebook has people so twisted up in itself there is little room for them to move. “Fear of missing out” plays a big part in that I reckon. All the while, Facebook is conducting clandestine research on its users, it has been caught out a few times now, but people still stay there. :-/

    But yes, Google+ is a good place to gather and the Toy Photographers folk have done awesome work in coordinating the community. I’m also grateful they have never abandoned the concept of blogging. This blog is my favourite part of the Toy Photographers community.

    Here’s to a bright future for photographers everywhere, toy or otherwise!

    • Thanks for offering your thoughts, James! You’re right about Facebook, I work in social media marketing and have been pretty spooked by the kind of stuff you can do with ad targeting… I’m sure that’s true everywhere, but at least on G+ it feels a little less invasive?

      I haven’t used myself, but am always intrigued by the networks on the fringes. You never know what will pick up steam and what won’t!

      I 100% agree about your frustrations with early G+. Luckily they’ve gotten through their growing pains and have found their own voice in the social media world. You can tell things are still growing and changing, but that only makes it more exciting for me personally.

      And yes, cheers to Shelly and the rest of the Toy Photographers team for keeping the blog running, and for fostering such an amazing community! I count myself lucky to be part of it.

  3. brett_wilson

    Great post James!
    G+ really does feel like the “salad days” of IG doesn’t it? I have an ever growing “shitlist” of grievances with IG, that with every update gets added to?! Algorithms, Shadowbanning, Stories, the list goes on…
    There’s a fresh, fun, community vibe on G+, that IG sadly lost quite some time ago. And yes, the fact that G+ supports, endorses and encourages toy photography is a massive feather in its cap!!

    • Thanks Brett! Yeah the fresh vibe of G+ is a big draw for me. It feels great to be at the relative beginning of a burgeoning platform (even if it’s run by one of the biggest corporations in the world.)

      My IG shit list continues to grow as well. Eventually I could see myself parting from there completely. We’ll see how things go.

  4. Wonderful article on G+ and the plight of our community. I have been trying to get better at keeping up with blog posts- as you can see I am way late to this party! Thanks for the kudos… err… cookies… You are correct though… Rebel Alliance is more fitting… The Empire is just so much better at slogans! Isn’t that always the way it is? ha.

    Join the Rebel Alliance, here is your cookie rations and a warm hug. 😀

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