Google’s new social network, Google Plus, has been growing rapidly in recent months. Though it was initially thought that only techies would use it to discuss Google Plus, the reality is quite the opposite. Famous photographer Trey Ratcliff has already embraced Google Plus most important social media site despite the fact that they already have a sizable following on both social media platforms Trey, an authority on the high dynamic range (HDR) photography technique, publishes the widely read travel photography blog StuckInCustoms.com.
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I recently talked to Trey about his experiences with Google Plus and why he is shifting his attention there from Facebook and Twitter. Details about Trey’s online presence, as well as his replies, are provided below.
As this is being written, Trey has accumulated a total of 41,516 Google Plus followers. There are 20,513 people who are fans of his Facebook page, and 23,788 people who follow him on Twitter. That helps explain why Trey spends so much time on Google Plus; he has twice as many followers there as he does on Facebook or Twitter, and that’s only after three weeks. But as you’ll see in the following paragraphs, the reason he has so many followers on Google Plus is because he finds it more useful for his goals. Particularly, by encouraging increased participation in his local community.
RWW: On average, how often do you update Google each day?
I update my feed anywhere from three to five times daily with both fresh content and highlights from my archive. Unfortunately, a “Trey Ratcliff Virus” is spreading as a result of a coding error in Google . As a result of the way my portfolio works, I get accused of spamming whenever anyone leaves a comment on one of my more than 300 portfolio images because it generates a new post.
How often do you read the G posts of others?
Creating a carefully curated list of people to follow is critically important to me. For my own mental health, I keep company only with those who are a constant source of inspiration and new perspectives. I really think this ought to become common practice.
“On Google , I have one hundred times as much interaction as I do on Twitter.”
If you want to be constantly inspired on Google , it’s all about the people you follow. I’m crossing my fingers that this time around people will be more selective about who they follow. Too much nonsense leads to “noise,” and when faced with too much noise, most people simply give up looking. Of course, it’s impossible to feel a surge of inspiration.
Have you found less time to spend on Twitter since you started using G ?
Twitter seems to have taken the biggest hit. Google has a hundred times the interaction rate of Twitter for me.
RWW: I mean, there’s your blog, where you post all your photos and other useful information like how-tos.
My original and primary online home is my blog, StuckInCustoms. Having a website is still important because I think it’s in every artist’s best interest to find a way to digitally extend their authentic selves. If you accept the super-organism and communication analogy, I think of Google and these tools as leaving scent trails to a larger food source.
The question “How did you make this photo?” appears frequently on Google . So, I take this opportunity to direct them to a widely read and simple tutorial in the HDR Tutorials section of the blog. With this, I can go off on tangents and elaborate far more than I could in a standard Google post.
The Google platform isn’t the best fit for all types of content, and while many users may be mildly interested in learning more, others will quickly lose interest if they have to wade through too much text.
What effect, if any, has Google Plus had on your Facebook usage?
I am both a person and a brand, and this has created complications on Facebook, although these difficulties are largely anecdotal. I set up a “Fan Page” for Stuck In Customs because so many people try to friend “Trey Ratcliff,” but I already have 5,000 friends. The problem is that many people want it but can’t locate it. Since this is the case, there is now confusion.
When compared to Google , “I don’t get as much engagement.”
Even though I don’t think I get as much interaction on Facebook as I do on Google , the Facebook Page still averages 1.3 million monthly Post Views.
One way I test how well different communities engage with my content is by posting to them exclusively.
I posted an exclusive photo of Paris less than 12 hours ago, and it has already received more likes and comments than any other post on Facebook combined. As a result, I anticipate devoting a great deal more of my time to Google , as that is where the majority of the community’s questions and discussions occur. It’s a wonderful threaded conversation where I can help people out, give something back, spark their imaginations, and encourage them to pursue their own creative endeavors and post them online.
Photographed by Trey Ratcliff and published on www.stuckincustoms.com, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
In the coming days, I will be sharing an exclusive “Making-of Video” for the Paris picture. Google is where people congregate to get the latest news, ask questions, and learn more. The comments and suggestions I’ve been receiving have been extremely helpful, and the dialogue has given me a renewed sense of purpose. To me, it’s important to pay it forward and keep the cycle of kindness going.
In addition to the interaction you mentioned above, what else about G makes it stand out to you?
That ineffable quality of “fun” is present. I don’t know what it is, but this seems like a natural way to exchange stimulating experiences with another person.
The “inevitable element of fun” is present in Google Plus.
On top of all that, it has a lot of human qualities. Because of the friendly, human-like interface of the streams and hangouts, I am able to meet and connect with new people easily and quickly. When I think of Twitter, I picture a matrix, with symbols and bit.ly codes zipping past my eyes in a constant stream. This environment provides the types of retinal stimulation that I, as a human, would expect to see, such as images, ideas, and moving pictures.
RWW: Since you are an early adopter and frequent user of G , we are interested in hearing your suggestions for new and improved features.
There has been a lot of interest in the video chats. Thousands of people are trying to log in at once, but only nine can do so at any given time. Despite the fact that I am unfamiliar with bandwidth technology, I think it would be fantastic if a group of 11 or more people could simply watch and listen.
You’ve been very helpful, Trey. If you’re interested in learning more about Google Plus, our launch post contains some helpful introductory information. Naturally, you can find me and the rest of the RWW staff on Google Plus, where you can strike up a conversation. The following are just a few of us to get you started: Dan Rowinski, Audrey Watters, Dan McManus, Richard MacManus, and Sarah Perez.