So, for those who may not have heard the news, Google will be phasing out Google+ over the next 10 months or so.
There have been stories floating around about the media giants answer to the social media question and how it never stood a chance against Facebook. Google has said that the reason for closing was the slow adoption by the public of it's social media experiment. Google is well known for dumping it's babies when they don't grow according to the expected growth chart!
The biggest reason for this action though, is that there was a security breach in Google at the beginning of the year which went unreported. This breach gave access to personal accounts and private data of hundreds of thousands of users!
I originally went with Google+ because it was said that it was great for photographers. High resolution photos could be uploaded to G+ at no charge and stored under my Google account without any restriction on storage space.
This worked in really well with my Photography Blog as well. If I were to upload photos directly into my Blog story, there was a storage limit for them in my Google account. However, if I uploaded my photos to Google+ where there was no storage limit, I can them import them into my Blog!
This method also gave me the bonus of a free online backup for my photos.
After a few years, photos loaded up to Google+ were taken out and swapped over to the new Google Photos section within my main Google account. I still have the luxury of loading photos to this Google Photos account with unlimited storage and can still import photos from there to my Blog. When that happened however, I did lose all viewing stats for my photos that had been on Google+ (at the last count, within 3 years I'd had over 4.5 million views and climbing on my photos in Google+). A lot of interest in my photography!
At about the same time, Google linked my Google+ profile with my Blog profile. This was when the stats for my Blog started to climb. All of the 1700 followers I had for my Google+ profile were now following my Blog. When I posted on my Blog, it automatically entered as a status update and link onto Google+
Alas, I have no idea anymore how my photography is performing on line.
Once I had heard about the data breach on Google+ and that it would be closed in 10 months anyway, I made the decision to delete my Google+ profile straight up. If there was any question about my personal details being compromised (and covered up!) then I wanted out.
I still have Google Photos and my Blog but, Google+ was the lynchpin and interface with the wider public.
I have considered exporting my Blog from Google to other host sites (Word Press, Tumblr, even Wix now offers free blog hosting!) Problem is that they all seem to have photo upload and storage limits that, in the future, may make things a little difficult. I have considered having my own website (there are many web hosting sites). That, however, would cost me to set up and also incurs a regular upkeep fee. That would be fine if I were advertising and making money from my photography but, as a hobbyist photographer who shoots film, I am already in the red! Ha ha! If I go to another host site, I will also lose any search engine optimisation that I have on my current Blog that has accumulated over the years.
I often wonder where I am going with my photography. At the moment it is a wonderfully distracting hobby that gets me out and about; recording new places and meeting new people. I have always said that making a business out of it would take away the spontaneity of the whole experience.
Unfortunately, being a photographer these days (whether a business or hobby) includes a heavy reliance on social media to get your work out there.