frederick van johnson

Why Google Plus Haters Are The Best Thing For Google Plus

Grafitti_Tuscon_Arizona_Wasim_Muklashy_Photography So recently, I’ve been seeing a few posts and articles circulating around the web that are basically hating on Google Plus and, well, as a Google+ lover, I think that’s pretty awesome. Huh!?? Yup. You see, it’s not often that something as seemingly trivial as this really rocks my boat, but considering the extremely polar opposite experience that I’ve had on the platform, and the second glass of single-malt I’m working on, I felt compelled to spurt out a late-night response to it all. This ‘rant’ centers around why I think the haters are helping the platform rise above the rest.

First and foremost, let it be known that never have I come across a more thoughtful, engaging, push-it-forward crowd than on this platform. My stream is constantly and endlessly filled with thought-provoking, intelligent, and motivational posts and material of the likes I’ve never seen before. Whenever I need a dose of inspiration, whether it be for a new image or for creative thought or to help spur some ideas, I log on and I’m consistently overwhelmed by all the wonderful madness that flows down my page.

Especially as an aspiring (and hopefully budding) photographer, I've been incredibly inspired on a daily basis by the likes of everyone from Thomas Hawk to Trey Ratcliff to Lotus Carrol, Scott KelbyDerrick Story, Frederick Van Johnson, Ibarionex Perello, Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, G Dan Mitchell and Michael Frye, Doug KayeJay and Varina Patel, Nicole S. Young, Jim Harmer, Gordon Laing, Martin Bailey, and Javier Pantoja, and this list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface (if you don't know them, Google them, you'll quickly realize they're definitely not nobodies, but rather the tastemakers behind a lot of what you see and what's in your pockets and on your phones and pads and whatnots).

And don't even get me started on the science front...the list goes on and on...(but if you're really interested, let me know, I'll share my circle...yeah, you can do that too!)

What I'm getting at is that at its core, this seems to be the only platform that allows you to so effortlessly become your own careful curator for the information that is most appealing to you, in an extremely organized manner. I want science? I click on my science circle. Photos? My photography circle. Tech? My tech circle? Backpacking and Hiking and the Outdoors? My Backpacking/Outdoors circle. Pictures, articles, links, blogs, recommendations, events, videos…it’s wonderfully insane.

And I think that’s is precisely what the haters aren’t quite used to and, quite frankly, don’t really know what to do with. You see, just because you posted a picture of what you had for lunch and no one +1’d it or commented, doesn’t mean Google+ is a ghost town (that, as of June, has more active users than Twitter), it basically means no one gives a crap about what you had for lunch. Now, if you posted what was in the sandwich and what exactly made it so good, perhaps why you chose to shoot it from the angle you did, and then posted that publicly and in some of the applicable communities (everything from the Foodies Community, the largest of which currently has 34,000 members to the Food Photography Community, which currently boasts 60,000 members), you’d get meaningful feedback and so many +1s you’ll be counting them in your sleep simply based on the fact that the post had some…wait for itSUBSTANCE! 


Over the past 2 years, what I have found in my experience is that Google+ caters not to the short attention-spanned ‘look at me look at me’ narcissism that has been the crux of most other social media platforms. Instead, Google+ has done a really good job of weeding out the meaningless and forgettable in favor of the meaningful and unforgettable. And if you really think about it, that should come as no surprise, considering Google remains the main go-to for web and information searching. They didn’t focus on weeding out the crap by mistake. The more I think about it, the more it seems to be a very well-calculated, and so far, pretty successful effort (at least compared to the competition). Sure, there’s going to be some invasive species that make their way into the garden, but compare it to the aphids that shows up by the nanosecond on “the others” and, well, we’ve got a much more fruitful garden.

Through Google+, I have had more engaging and provoking and interactions that have left lasting impressions in the past week than I get in a month on the other platforms. I have made more friends and contacts through this platform that I correspond with on a daily basis than any other social network I’ve been a part of. Additionally, I have been able to drive traffic to my personal blog and website portfolio like never before, and, hot damn, I’ve even been able to get some work out of it. All because, like anything else in this world that’s worth it, you actually have to put some time into it to see the value.

So to all you Google+ haters out there, please, I beg of you, I implore of you, please please please keep on hating, because believe you me, we’re not missing you one bit. And in the inevitable occasional event that we do…we know exactly where we can find you.

For the rest of you, find me on Google+ at

Ok then, sorry, had to get it out of my system. I promise more photography less rant next time...

Photo Sites & Podcasts & Books & Festivals & Stuffs

So this is a bit of an untraditional post for me, but I couldn't help myself...I just finished listening to the latest episode of The Digital Photo Experience podcast hosted by  Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, which I HIGHLY recommend if it's not already in your playlist, and they were interviewing Frederick Van Johnson of the This Week in Photo (TWiP) podcast, another one that is a MUST for you photography peeps...but anyway, Frederick is apparently a modest and humble creature, which is quite refreshing, because until that interview I had NO idea about two incredible things going on in his life that actually affects us all: One, he is the new Vice Chairman of the Board at the Brooks Institute of Photography, so congrats to him.

But two, and even more relevant to us all, is his pet project, This is perfect. The part that's most important to us photographers in this day and age is...where and how do we fit into the maddening pace of the ever-shifting industry? What direction is it all headed?

Just finished Jolie O'Dell's book, Blogging for Photographers, last week and after perusing this site and the information therein, especially regarding web marketing and how to take the best advantage of everything the interwebs have available to us, it all just seems to go hand in hand - takes the future of the profession to another level with the seeming approach of embracing the changes and the landscape rather than shunning it or begrudgingly discounting it. He's got courses and information and all sorts of stuffs. Check it.

And while you're all at it, check out the California Photo Fest next week where Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, among a who's who of additional heavy hitters, will be teaching a few workshops throughout gorgeous Central California. Been trying to get to this thing for years, but, well, paying the rent sorta trumps it at this stage...perhaps in 2014...

Thanks for everything all of you mentioned's been crazy transitioning into this new life path and career and I can honestly it wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for the transparent and generous method of imparting your wisdom and knowledge in the ways that you do to help propel it all forward. I love it! Thank you...

So photogs...go do this thing!!!

And I promise, I'll be back next week with the next installment of the "3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag" posts...