Why Google+ is Better Than Facebook for Photographers
I’m proud to say that I got on Google+ the very first day it was available for public beta (thank you again +Brian Rose). Since that day I’ve been an active user and have used it daily to publish my photography out to the the world. My Google+ workflow is pretty simple. I publish about 5 photos a day spread out over the course of the hours in a day that I’m awake. I’ve got a large archive of about 80,000 finished photos at this point so I’m posting what I feel is my stronger work there. Much of what I’m publishing on Google+ are first time photographs that I’ve never shared anywhere else. I don’t want to overwhelm people with my work, but 5 photos a day spread out over the course of a day feels about right to me. The reception has been amazing and I’m lucky to have quickly built an audience for my work.
In a little over a month I have over 38,000 people who have put me in their various circles — thank you. By contrast I have about 3,300 people who are my friends on Facebook. Despite the fact that I’ve been active on Facebook for almost 5 years, I have an audience over 10x bigger on Google+ than Facebook in a little over a month.
I believe that much of the reason why I and other photographers are having so much success on Google+ is because it is fundamentally a *better* platform than Facebook for photographs and in this blog post I’ll detail some of the key differences.
1. Google+’s photo thumbnails are MUCH bigger than the stingy microscopic photo thumbnails that Facebook gives you. I can’t overemphasize this point enough. Bigger is better when it comes to photography on the web. It boggles my mind why Facebook has insisted on holding on to their minuscule microscopic thumbnails as long as they have. They are tiny. You can’t see anything at all. Photos on Facebook are easily skipped and ignored. In contrast, Google+ gives us nice large thumbnails that invite you to interact. The photo thumbnails look sooooo better and as such they get much more attention. Super smart Google!
2. Google+ has the *best* lightbox on the web right now — by comparison Facebook’s looks cheap and dated. With Google+ when you see a bold new thumbnail by a photographer, you *want* to click through to see the large sized version — and when you do this you are rewarded by the best lightbox on the web. The photo is huge. It takes up just about the entire page except for some comments over on the right side. It’s loaded instantly — so fast. It never locks up or hangs like flickr.
Facebook by contrast, even with their revamped lightbox, only gives you a medium sized photo. The focus is not the image. Instead you see a bunch of gibberish in white under the image and even worse an advert.
3. With Google+ I can easily circle the photographers whose work I want to follow vs. Facebook’s clunky lists. Once I tried to play with Facebook’s lists to try to filter in some of my favorite photographers. It was a huge failure. I couldn’t figure it out. It was clunky. So I’m stuck with my main Facebook feed being full of non-photography related stuff. Sometimes I just want to see big bold photos instead of having to read about Aunt Edna’s latest recipe for avocado soufflé or 2nd cousin Gary’s passion for bashing the hell out of Sarah Palin 28 times a day, even after the election’s been over for 2 years now. With Google+ I can create great circles of people devoted to photography, with Facebook I can’t.
4. The Facebook/Flickr integration thing has been a huge disaster. When I first heard that you could import your Flickr photos into Facebook, I was sort of excited — but this has been one of the most poorly integrated features I’ve ever seen. Sometimes Facebook will import a thumbnail representing my Flickr photos *8* times in a row. Sometimes they won’t come in at all. When they do come in they use the worst photo for the thumbnail instead of the best (hint, last uploaded in a batch to Flickr, not first uploaded to Flickr in a batch).
And I’m not alone here: Just go to the Flickr Help forum and search “Facebook” and you’ll find post after post after post of people on Flickr complaining about how broken this process has been. Good God, there are over 1,700 posts in the Flickr Help Forum, almost all of them complaining about how broken the Facebook integration is. This has left a bad taste in my mouth re: photography on Facebook.
5. All the best photographers are showing up on Google+ and an exciting now community of photographers is blossoming. Photographers on Google+ are engaged. Every day people are sharing new lists of photographers and resharing content by their favorites. There are long discussions about techniques and methods. Photowalks are being set up. The photo community is alive and active on Google+ while it feels stale and non-existent on Facebook.
Photography is such an important part of any social network and Google+ has been optimized for photography and photographers right out of the gate. It feels central in how they’ve designed service. Google+ realizes how visual we all are and has built a far better platform for us to be visual with. Everybody loves photography right? It’s no surprise that photographers are doing so well on this exciting new platform.
If you haven’t signed up for Google+ yet and need an invitation you can get one from me here. (I’ve only got 129 left to hand out on this link).
You can read comments on this post over at Google+ here: https://plus.google.com/104987932455782713675/posts/8czBNGPWqEk