Who do YOU follow? #DecemberDozen
I saw a post over the weekend which included this hashtag, and it got me thinking about WHY we recommend people to others. Despite hearing some people call this place a ghost town, there are in fact a number of very engaging people here in the G+ community.
Those of you who've known me since the beta
days on here know that I've never been a huge fan of Shared Circles, because too often it seems people globally add the contents without ever reviewing all the individuals contained within. And I think that's perhaps the most important part of the process. Spending time getting to know each person helps in evaluating potential for future interactions. Do we have anything in common? Are we passionate about similar topics?
I can't deny that in terms of followers, I've definitely benefited from being included in various Circles shared among my peers, colleagues and friends. However, if you've been following me for any length of time, you already know I'm not popular, nor am I considered one of the "cool kids". But the beauty of this platform is that there's something here for everyone, and if you commit yourself to experiencing it organically, I truly believe you'll enjoy your time here.My December Dozen
The people featured below are in no particular order, but grouped by me into categories I feel best describe WHY you may wish to add them to your stream. Some have millions of followers, others have far fewer, but ALL share some common elements: they embrace the good and the bad about the platform, they educate and entertain, and their leadership makes this place interesting for everyone with whom they interact.Photography: Education & Inspiration
► +Robin Griggs Wood
has been active on G+ since the beginning, and demonstrates daily that she gets
what this place is all about. But in addition to being an incredible painter and photographer, she is also an amazing mentor. Working with the +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers
she challenges everyone to discover their inner Artist, and in the process many learn just as much about themselves as they do about their trade. When she's not teaching or playing (or judging) in +Chrysta Rae's Photography Scavenger Hunt
she can sometimes be found stalking seagulls. Despite having millions of followers to keep up with, Robin regularly makes time to interact both on her own page as well as on the profiles of those she follows. I can't imagine she isn't already in your Circles, but if not I promise you'll be glad you added her!
► +Sandra Parlow
is another lovely lady I first met through the Scavenger Hunt. She has a great sense of humor, and is always there if you need a helping hand, or simply a (virtual) hug. I could describe how wonderful her images are, but that alone wouldn't provide a full picture of everything she does on G+. In addition to being one of the moderators of the +Behind the Lens: Photo Critique Group
she is also a co-curator of the wildly popular +Macro Monday
. But I didn't even get to the best part yet... Sandra is a champion of the undiscovered goobies
. She's got some sort of indescribable talent radar, finding unknown artists (many of whom barely have a couple hundred followers) and sharing them with her Circles and Communities. Add her to your stream, and just watch the waves of activity draw you in! (PS. Ask her if there's a particular member of the Northern wildlife she's fond of...)
► +Mark Rodriguez
Otherwise known as "Godriguez", this man is not only a Photoshop guru, but an incredibly talented photographer, cartoon creator, and master of the mashup. Although I first met Mark via the Scavenger Hunt (yep, another one!), he is perhaps best known for the +Movie Mashup Tuesday
theme. While his innovative designs will draw you in, it's the behind the scenes
(BTS) posts that will keep you mesmerized over and over again. For even the most complicated composites, he takes the time to explain his process in bite-sized chunks that even non-photographers can digest and absorb. I'd be here all day if I continued listing his numerous achievements, so just head on over to his page and observe the magic for yourself!Music
► I could list half a dozen musicians I follow in my own personal Circles, but for the purposes of this post I chose +HEATHER FAY
because she's the embodiment of humble celebrity. Just like Robin she has over a million followers, but that doesn't stop her from reaching out to interact with her G+ family on a regular basis. I'm sure she'd be successful with or without this platform, but the fact that she takes us all on the adventure with her is such a blessing for the community. Thanks to her constant sharing, we all get a front row seat as her career continues to blossom. Grab your headphones, and head on over to her post to enjoy the vids and tunes!Comedy & Entertainment
► If it's fun and/or funny, and is happening anywhere in the G+ universe, you can be sure +matthew rappaport
has his finger on the pulse of trending topics. He enlightened me about how to accomplish getting my first +G+ Achievement Unlocked
and also regularly coordinates +HIRL
activities for NYC and beyond. I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon in person during +The Google + Two Year Anniversary Photowalk
and witness his chaotic bursts of endless energy. If you've seen him on Hangouts then you know he has a magnetic personality, always willing to chat about even the most seemingly mundane topics. He's an expert on the Google ecosystem, and when I heard he'd jumped on board +The Huffington Post
I knew immediately they definitely picked a winner! I encourage you to browse through his voluminous photo albums, as his unique documentary style will leave you feeling like you actually attended the same event!
► Do you sometimes feel like the main stream isn't giving you what you need? If the Google algorithm isn't tweaked to your satisfaction, then take matters into your own hands and add +steph wanamaker
to a Circle you check daily. Way before there were hashtags like #GingerThursday
or theme-based communities, she was curating content, sharing highlights from Arts & Entertainment news, to bloopers, birthdays and more. The Ginger Ninja
moderates a number of TV and movie communities, including great programming like Sherlock, The Big Bang Theory, and many more incredible Netflix offerings. If you need your daily dose of comedic relief from Canada, don't let the border stand in your way, pop into her stream and be prepared to stay there a while.Engaging Conversations & G+ Culture
► You can't even begin to have a discussion about G+ engagement without including platform pioneer: +Ayoub Khote
. Active since practically the first day, he is not only a fountain of knowledge about the network, but shares his time and energy educating others about how to enjoy their time here. Whether offering +Google+ Help
to those that need it, or providing the weekly #HumpDayHint
Ayoub is constantly interacting from sunrise to sundown and beyond. Understanding the culture of G+ is about more than just posts and followers; it's also about family dynamics, and the relationships we develop while playing together in the Google sandbox. Topics of conversation vary, but after a couple of days you'll definitely find something you can relate to. Then jump right in and participate with his posse in the Question of the Day
and other intellectual stimulation.
► If you want to know the most popular posts from the past year, or perhaps you just wanna jam out to great tunes all (Friday) night long, +Sean Cowen
is your one-stop shop! Get all your news and information in the same convenient place. If you can't find exactly what you're looking for, he can definitely point you in the right direction. I've never been brave enough to wear my heart on my sleeve, but when people talk about Sean you always hear things like selfless, genuine, compassionate, supportive, inspiring. I encourage you to sift through a few of his posts, and I'm confident you will feel like you've known the guy for years.
► Are you the kind of person that takes one day at a time, and lives every moment to the fullest? Or do you seek external inspiration to keep those creative juices flowing? Regardless of the challenges that come his way, +Levi Moore
is the epitome of positivity, constantly overcoming any obstacle in his path. While many are probably familiar with his work leading the #abcproject
, he also hosts provocative conversations on a variety of interesting topics. The more time you spend in his stream, the more you'll discover what an cool guy he is!
► Although barely anyone is using it anymore, +Marc Jansen
got me an invitation to Schemer, where in my mind he became an instant superstar when I learned "Hangout with +Jeri Ryan
" was a scheme he already
crossed off his list! He is a self-proclaimed introvert, but you'd never know it by interacting on his stream. He shares a variety of content, and occasionally delves into deep philosophical debates. One of the enlightening moments for me came while reading comments in a thread he started about lifestyle priorities and career goals. The perspectives shared by all the commenters were incredibly poignant and profound, leaving me with lots of questions about my own life and the decisions guiding my personal and professional pursuits.
► When someone comes to G+ for the first time, they often seek out #gplustips
to figure out the best method to navigate the complex waterway called the stream. From almost the very first day, +Jaana Nyström
has been a beacon of engagement, leading by example exploring each new social media tool as it became available here on G+, then immediately sharing her extensive analysis with others, helping to improve the system through constant feedback and experimentation. If you have any questions about how this place works, or what you can hope to get out of spending time here, I highly recommend starting on her page, and you'll feel like an expert in no time!
► +Yifat Cohen
is the ever-popular +G+GoTo Gal
, with weekly insights about using Hangouts to improve everything from your health to your business bottom line. I find her posts and other resources so helpful because she can pretty much talk about anything to anyone from any walk of life. She is equally comfortable chatting with a regular Joe or a CEO. I haven't yet had the privilege of being coached by her, but it's on my list of goals for 2014, and after you check out the material she shares you'll probably be seeking her advice also!
► As co-curator of #TipsyTuesday
, +Jason Kowing
is a man of many talents. But in addition to his photography skills, he makes my list for his entertaining banter on Jas' Question of the Day
. When he suggests you interrupt your regularly flowing stream, you just might want to do what he says. The type of questions vary from week to week, but one thing is certain, the responses are guaranteed to either make you laugh or scratch your head or both!If you made it this far, Thank You. I hope these suggestions will keep creativity flowing throughout your stream.
If you did your own #DecemberDozen
post, please share a link to it in the comments below, so everyone can check out your recommendations. If you're not a writer, and would rather just share a few names of folks that would top YOUR list, please feel free to share them in the comments also. Hopefully, we can all take a little time out during this busy Holiday season and get to know someone new...