Moving my Phoenix Historical Images page from Google+ to a Facebook group
I've always been enthusiastic for new stuff, and consider myself an "early adopter". I was the first generation of Graphic Designers to work with what was then called "Desktop Publishing" with software programs like Photoshop, etc. I was always the first to try out new stuff, to volunteer. I like living on the leading edge, which some people call the "bleeding edge". When something new comes along, I want to try it. When the internet was invented, I was there right away. I'm kinda like someone who needs to be invited to every party that he hears about.
So when I found out about Google+, in 2011, I was very excited. Back then it was by invitation only, so I got an invitation, and was among the first people on it. I created a page for myself, of course, which is still a very important part of doing business on the internet, with a Google Profile, and I also created a couple of business pages, one for my cartoons and one just to experiment with, which wasn't really a business page, it was what would later be known as a Community page, or on Facebook, a Group page. That was my Phoenix Arizona Historical Images page, and there I learned how to post things, how to write captions, how to respond to spam, how to respond to trolls and haters (they're everywhere) and mostly how wonderful it is to interact with people who have a genuine affection for a shared interest. And I got hooked.
What had just started out as a way to learn something new on the internet turned into a passion for me, which was collecting and sharing photos of Historic Phoenix. I'm a freelance Graphic Designer and illustrator, and I've taught in both in analog and digital, so I try to keep up with all of the latest stuff. Sometimes I think that I'm getting tired of all of this, and then I see something new, and I gotta try it! Google+ was new and shiny and wonderful. It displayed images beautifully (and still does!) and the whole tone of it was a whole lot less "Facebook" if you know what I mean (and I think you do!). It was great.
But Google+ never really caught on. It was supposed to be a Facebook killer, and it failed. Then Google+ introduced Communities, and then realigned itself to be less of competition for Facebook and more as a gathering place for people with common interests. And it's great. But it was too little, too late. Towards the end of 2016 I could tell that Google+ had been mostly abandoned, and I sent out some sad messages to the group asking for suggestions. That I could do a Facebook group was something that I immediately rejected, and then I thought again.
I've been a member of a Facebook cycad group for a long time, and it's not a "Facebook comments" kind of page. People post photos of cycads from all over the world, and their comments are just wonderful. I'm a cycad collector, and I started checking Facebook every day to look at the beautiful cycads, and sometimes get answers, and sometimes just encourage other collectors. It felt a lot like Google+.
So I created a group on Facebook, but I did something that I didn't think was possible - I made it so that only the administrator (that's me) can post. Anyone can comment, but only I can post. It's not exactly the kind of community that most communities are all about, but it's what I wanted to be as close to the feel of my old Google+ page as possible. As of this writing, it's only been a few days, but it's encouraging. There are a LOT more people on Facebook than Google+ and my worries about "Facebook comments" are dwindling.
I love learned about new stuff, and I'm learning about managing a group on Facebook. This is a lot of fun, and it looks like it's gonna be so for a long time!
Posted by Brad Hall