When Google+ started last year, I joined the fast growing G+ community as soon as I could. And discovered almost immediately how nice Google+ deals with the photos - to view them, to share, to comment, etc. No wonder it has become a vibrant ecosystem full of passionate professional and amateur photographers. With so many people publishing amazing photography stuff and the ease of shaping the message stream it was very easy to create a "Photographers" circle and get inspired every day by their amazing pictures.
But it was just the beginning. After adding people to my circles I discovered that they are part of others, created specially for exploring different aspects of photography. One of such circles is associated with the 10000 Photographers around the world G+ page, curated by +Robert Skreiner. Robert does a nice thing: he manages a list of photographers (hobbyists and professionals) and allows everyone join his list under some conditions that can be summarized as: be active photographer and participant of the G+ photographers community.
I asked Robert for a membership of the group. I am not on his list yet, maybe will not ever be. But it doesn't actually matter. By applying to become part of the community I have made a commitment: to publish my photos regularly. And to watch and communicate with others about their work. Commitment to publish the photos helps me a lot in the moments when my enthusiasm for photography fades a bit and I need some extra push to grab my camera and take some shots. Another aspect is the quality of the photos I publish. Since I am part of a group that produces fantastic pictures, I need to improve my photos, trying new things, exploring new techniques or, simply put, produce good photos.
Every now and then I get the feedback about my photos. This helps as well of course.
And by commenting on the pictures I get to know new people and can share my thoughts on their photos which helps me to understand the photography better.
Does it all make Google+ unique? I think, yes and no. No, because the at the end there are people that create the community. And there are great people everywhere in the world and on Internet. And yes, because Google+ delivers tools to shape the communities easier than other platforms. And it attracts great photographers from all over the world.