The question of where to share photos online has become increasingly complex. Right now I don’t have a definitive answer. Let me explain.
I guess like most of us I began by sharing photos via email. With 2 megapixel digital cameras this was workable, but very basic. In the late ’90s I progressed to hand crafting web sites with embedded photos, typically as you’d use a blog today. More “open”, and with better control of photo presentation and context, but very labour intensive.
Then along came websites specifically designed for sharing. The first of these to get widespread takeup were Flickr, Picasa and a couple of others. I found that Flickr offered the best venue for sharing photos and information about photography. For example, the Flickr Canberra Photographers group was the #1 hangout for people with this specific interest, and groups like Strobist were a buzz of constant activity, questions, examples etc. Well before Google+ was thought of it provided (and continues to provide) a photographer-friendly environment with superior tools for image classification and presentation so I settled into a pattern of uploading almost all images to Flickr.
However Flickr was never going to attract my mum or some other family and friends. By way of contrast, coming from a “family and friends” heritage, Facebook arrived. It was never going to replace Flickr but in my particular case it became the #1 hangout for our family and friends, so I moved to a strategy of publishing (out of LR) almost everything to Flickr at high res and stuff for family and friends sharing at low res to FB. Some things ended up on both but it is painless out of LR anyway.
Then in the last few years Google+ arrived, and as someone who has several Android devices it was worth exploring. Capabilities such as circles, Blogger integration, pages and now communities make it attractive for many community-of-interest things. Can I move my entire extended family and friends there from FB? No. Does it replace Flickr? No, because it still does not provide the rich environment for image classification and presentation that Flickr has. Maybe it will never achieve this, as the design centre for Flickr is much more specialist than Google+.
There is another category of images, the “instant online” ones that come from my Android devices and from my Eye-Fi cards. Right now I send these direct to G+. The Eye-Fi ones are later imported into LR and if there is something worth keeping that I captured on my phone then I import it to LR also.
So right now when I sit in LightRoom I am copying images to up to three publishing services… FB, Flickr and G+. Not really a big imposition but a sense of tidiness makes me wish for a simpler solution. If I could elect for one of these to go away it would be FB, but there are a lot of people who would need to be convinced.