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Sandra Nesbit
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My tip of the hat to Google+
Years ago, I heard some rumblings that Google had created a social network and it was invite only. Fancy beta. It didn't mean anything to me, Gmail was weird like that for years, and I never saw the allure of it. Some people swore by it. But I had looked at it once and went, "Merp." Merp, a word I had learned from a skater girl in high school, it was her version of meh. She usually accompanied it with an exaggerated shrugging of the shoulders.

I digress.

A news story hit the tech sites that a Google employee had accidentally shared an internal post publicly. It was a long post about how Google had to take Google+ seriously and how they weren't. It wasn't a complaining post, more of an impassioned post. I clicked on a link that took me out to the full post. I didn't realize I was reading a Google+ post at the time. But I scrolled that post, it was super long, and in-depth. And there was a lot of passion in that post. When I got to the bottom of it, there were comments. And I read through a lot of the comments too. At some point I scrolled back up to the top and saw the header.

Google+.

This was Google+. I had accidentally fallen into it. And what I had found was an insanely tl;dr post with a lot of tl;dr comments. So much discussion. So much passion. So much information. So much. And I was blown away at how the design had really facilitated it. This was Google+.

I had no idea. I had no idea that this was what Google+ was all about. That this was what it looked like. How it worked. How much more engaging and civilized it was compared to Facebook. Or any social network at the time.

I needed it.

I went to a coworker who had a Google+ account, but wasn't using it. I asked for an invite, he sent it.

Before I created my profile, I made myself commit to a purpose. A purpose for this account. Why was I creating an account for this network? I thought about it. And I realized that with a platform so well-suited for long posts, so well-suited for discussion, it was the perfect place for a writer like me. I told myself that Google+ was going to be my Author Platform. Google+ would be where I went first, and foremost, and sometimes only when I was doing authorly things. This was my home on the internet, as an author. I wouldn't circle real life friends or family members, in less they were interested in my writing. If they weren't, I wouldn't do it. This was not about them. This was about me, as an author, having a space.

I found and met so many amazing people here. I read so many amazing posts, and discussions. So many amazing things have happened on Google+. My home. My author platform.

It has changed a lot since then, but it has always remained my home. No other place on the internet has ever felt like a place for my writing like Google+.

No other place.

As the news came, rather suddenly, that Google+ was going to be departing in August 2019, I was met with a lot of feelings. It's been emotional, I'm not gonna lie. There has been no other place that I really felt like fit exactly that purpose I decided on so long ago. Not for lack of trying. I've tried it on Twitter, I've tried it on Ello, I've tried it on so many other networks. More than I care to admit.

None. Zero.

Google+ has always fit that purpose beautifully. And so, as I start to pack my boxes. As I start to look for a new home in another neighborhood, I'm met with so much disheartening feelings. Will I ever find that space again? Will there ever be another place that fills it? I don't know. But I'll keep looking. I'll keep trying. I'll keep keeping on.

Years ago, I was voted in as a vice chair and chair of the staff council at Missouri University of Science and Technology. I took my work as a chair very seriously, despite being a very humorous person most the time. There were times I'd show up to campus early and walk around, with my earbuds in, listening to a song on repeat. It was the song Better Together by Jack Johnson. That was my theme song during my stay as chair of the staff council. It helped put my mind in the proper place for the work that needed to be done, and before difficult discussions needed to happen. We were a team, and that was important. And we did our best work together. There was no point in competition or petty arguments. And meeting in the middle was super important.

Never underestimate meeting in the middle.

As I sat here, trying to conjure up the inspiration I needed to start writing this post. A post I'd been putting off for so long. Thoughts I'd been needing to say since the announcement. A song came over the radio in the Panera Bread I'm sitting in, it was my old theme as chair. Better Together. And that was it. I knew it. I put my headphones on and put that song on repeat again.

Google+ was better as a social network, because we are better together. And it felt like we were together. Like there was a team of us, a town, that really cared about what happened here. And we worked hard to make it the best place it could be. So much energy and effort has been poured into Google+ not just by the people of Google, but also by us--the users.

Ever since the announcement I've been watching as people from all corners, and communities of Google+ have really come together. Everyone is trying to find a place that we can all migrate to--together. So we can keep on talking together, sharing together, and creating together. Because we all know it, deep down, we're all better together.

The emotions have been high since the announcement. I think a lot of us are grieving in our own way. A lot of us were passionate, like that Googler so many years ago who had the oopsie. I can sense that in a lot of folks.

So much passion.

But I'm not here to judge, or get mad, I'm not a very reactionary person. Haven't been that way since I was a kid. I've had some insightful accusations/insights from people through the years. I've been told I'm overprotective of people, like a parent. I've also been told I'm too logical. So, I'm like if Spock had a kid and was like super worried about them all the time. I guess.

No, I'm here to say... it's rough. It's been daunting to think about.

But I'm also here to say thank you. I especially wanted to say thank you to the community managers and all the Googlers of Google+ who have made this possible. THANK YOU SO DAMN MUCH.

And that being said, let's all let out a "merp" and shrug in unison.

#googleplus
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FANTASTIC CREATIVITY GROWTH OPPORTUNITY!
Years ago, +Ugo Cei was an immeasurable help as I began my journey into digital art. Now I want to share another chance for community and creative growth provided by Ugo. It's free, so I'm not trying to push a product. I AM trying to push forward a huge THANK YOU to Ugo for all he's been to the G+ photo community by sharing information about his new initiative. You can read about it at this address:

https://www.ucphoto.me/closing-gap-masterclass/

OR
Scroll down. I've copied and pasted the content below.

FROM UGO:
Did you ever find yourself thinking one of those thoughts?

“Photography makes me feel alive. I never get tired of shooting!”
“Oh, this sucks. Didn’t turn out at the way I saw it!”
“Trying to find my style! Aaarrgghhhhh this is so difficult.”
“If I think of my hard drive and all the courses and videos I bought? Embarrassing.”
Let’s face it, f-stops will only take you so far.

After refining technique and learning the magic triangle where most images seem to sink anyway, at the end of the day you’re still unhappy with what you’re doing and there seems to be no reasonable explanation for that. I mean, you’re doing everything right!

You learn some more. Composition! Rule of thirds, golden ratios, leading lines. That leads you nowhere in particular, because your photos are still a long way from where you’d like them to be. Frustrating to the hilt. And utterly boring stuff anyway.

So much so that sometimes you fall into a rut. The fickle muse has abandoned you. Inspiration only happens after exhalation and the lofty goals are as out of reach as a Tibetan monastery. What are you to do? And why does it happen?

We've all been through this phase, me included. The good news is that there are ways to bridge this gap (to borrow a term from Ira Glass) and–in my life as a photographer–I have learned a few of them.

Along my journey, I have also had the pleasure of meeting the awesome Fabrizia Costa. Her story of failure and return from the depths has taught her a few lessons that she is eager to share with the world.

Since me and Fabrizia think alike on so many of the issues mentioned above, we spent countless hours discussing them. At some point, we realized that it would have been selfish to keep our conclusions to ourselves, so we resolved to band together and involve as many people as possible in this conversation.

This is how the idea of the Closing the Gap Masterclass was born.

We would love if you could join the conversation and tell us what you think. For this, we are going to host a series of live video sessions where we will present our best suggestions for bridging the gap.

This is not going to be just the two of us delivering our pearls of wisdom, however. As I was saying, we'd like you to join a conversation, so there will also be a discussion forum and a users' group, where you will be able to meet like-minded photographers and artists.

Did we mention that this is going to be absolutely FREE?

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the sign-up page and join us. There is no money and no risk involved.

See you over there!

Ugo & Fabrizia

P.S. Would you mind spreading the love by sharing our sign-up page with your friends and followers. Send them to http://ucphoto.me/ctg or use one of the social sharing icons below. We would be extremely grateful for this.

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Copyright © 2018 Ugo Cei Photography, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted to receive periodic articles and news about photography and travel.

Our mailing address is:
Ugo Cei Photography
Viale Libertà 20
Pavia, Pv 27100
Italy
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DOUBLE/MULTIPLE EXPOSURES

This is life seen from about forty perspectives at the same time. Lake Michigan.

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ARIZONA - A to Z
Z is for...Zoom

Arizona jack rabbits do zoom around a lot

#ZofAtoZ #atoz #atoz2018 #alphabetsoup #atozphotoproject with +Lucille Galleli and +Stephen Thackeray

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ARIZONA - A to Z
Y is for...Yee-Ha!

Another excuse to share a pic of my boy, Stardust, "dancing" in a field...yee-ha!

#YofAtoZ #atoz #atoz2018 #alphabetsoup #atozphotoproject with +Lucille Galleli and +Stephen Thackeray

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ARIZONA - A to Z
X is for...X-Rated Desert Iguanas

The large Iguana is the female, the little guy (on top), the male. I'd say I didn't mean to pry, but I guess I did. They were right next to the side-walk after all.

#XofAtoZ #atoz #atoz2018 #alphabetsoup #atozphotoproject with +Lucille Galleli and +Stephen Thackeray

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ARIZONA - A to Z
W is for...Web

Welcome to my Web said the spider to the fly! There are more critters on the ranch than horses!

#WofAtoZ #atoz #atoz2018 #alphabetsoup #atozphotoproject with +Lucille Galleli and +Stephen Thackeray

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ARIZONA - A to Z
V is for...Valley Vista

Coming down from Mt. Lemmon, looking out into a valley of greater Tucson.

#VofAtoZ #atoz #atoz2018 #alphabetsoup #atozphotoproject with +Lucille Galleli and +Stephen Thackeray

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