I’m using the Internet to learn as much as anything, not just to meet up and chat with people, but to see what they know, what has been published, what there is in the world that I haven’t experienced yet. Fine, on that last one, there is a lot, no need to remind me. Perhaps that is why I have tried so many different social media platforms, with varying success, and built up a small circle of good friends.
My big thing for learning at the moment is Google Plus. I’m not going to get into advertising for the service – which would work against me anyway since I have a bet running that Google Plus will not overtake Facebook this year – but I thought I’d just mention why I like it so much, and admit that I have claimed to like other sites at first too, but then found their weak points. There may well be many weak points with G+ too, but that will come with time and, perhaps one day, there will be an even better service which I fall all over.
I told someone recently that I like G+ because it is the intellectual – or better still, the intelligent – side of social media. I’m sure it has the OMG brigade there too, but I am not forced to see them and have not, yet, really been plagued by them. The recommendations I’ve received have been sensible and fit my personal interests which, as far as G+ is concerned, revolve almost exclusively around photography.
Where else, I ask myself, can I find people who take their own photographs, publish them for all to see, allow their methods to be seen by all and gain real, almost live, commentary? The small groups available – the hash groups – concentrate on themes and styles and that is a big bonus point. You’re unlikely to find something too off-topic there simply because those who moderate (curate) the pages are active and interested in what they do. They’re not G+ staff, but individuals like you and me. So you can find, for example:
whole groups interested in photographs of squirrels amongst many other things.
I’ve decided to limit myself, however, to the one or two groups which I can play an active part in and where I know I can get a half way reasonable image out of my camera: architecture, broken down into windows and doors and sacred buildings, and vintage cameras. I hope, sometime in the future, to be able to take part in street photography, but I really need to learn a little bit more about producing good results first, and I am prepared to take the time rather than just dive in.
But what I really enjoy is the sensible and informative conversation. If someone has a question or a comment, it gets a reply. A few days ago I uploaded a photograph of a door, but I had forgotten where the door is. Almost immediately I got a comment back fgrom another photographer with a link to a newspaper article telling me that the door is in Havelberg, Saxony, and all my memories of my visit there came flooding back again. Where else, someone asked, can you upload a photograph of a door and have another person tell you where the door is?
And I am learning, slowly but surely. Seeing the work and reading the descriptions of their work by photographers who have been taking their pictures for years – some for decades – and some of whom are professional is a big bonus too. Thus, as you may have noticed, the list of photographer’s websites which has appeared on the right hand menu bar.
Life is a learning process, and it is wonderful to know that there are people out there prepared to give of their time, their experiences, and share with a beginner.
Love & Kisses, Viki.