I see waaaaaaaaaaaay too many people who have become pretty much 100% dependent on social media. Businesses built around a YouTube channel. Or a Facebook page. Or Twitter, whatever. These individuals found something that works and don’t care about anything else. Maybe they’re talented at making videos and their YouTube channel is doing well. Perhaps their witty comments got them a Facebook or Twitter following.
You know what scares me? That many of them don’t even think about the importance of creating and growing their OWN website. On their own domain. Yes… how old school of me!
But here’s the thing.
If you’re a one trick pony, the thing that makes you can end up just as easily breaking you.
For example, maybe you’re a fan of Political Party X and built a Facebook page around your views. It has hundreds of thousands of likes, everything’s going great. Until, one of these days, you become the center of a campaign against you by Political Party Y supporters (who don’t exactly like you). They join forces, mass report your page and before you know it, Facebook bans you.
I’ve personally seen this happen, two times just this year!
One of the people I’m thinking of eventually got back on Facebook. The other person didn’t. These are two examples from my own country, not popular international FB pages.
Do you really want to risk it?
Another recent example that I believe Rick was thinking of last month is the (in)famous Alex Jones. Personally, I’ve never watched any of his videos, so I don’t exactly care about the person. However, I think it’s an eloquent case study. He was active on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and also on his website (again, haven’t researched this all that much but I think the information is accurate enough). What happened? Well, he recently got banned by YouTube, Facebook and also Twitter… so essentially, all he has left as a platform is his own website, built on his own domain.
I know the guy is as controversial as it gets but that’s not the point.
Replace his name with any other name and the fact remains that while a case can be made that you PROPERLY own your domain (yes, even that can be taken a way but it’s EXTREMELY difficult), the same is not true about social media accounts. They can be taken away just like that and there will be almost nothing you can do about it.
The lesson to be learned, in my opinion at least, is this:
Yes, social media is awesome.
Yes, it can generate tons of traffic.
BUT always remember that the name of the game is building YOUR BRAND. Not your FB page, not your Twitter page or whatever. Your brand. And to do that, your domain+website had better be an important tool because when push comes to shove, it’s a lot easier to lose a social media account than it is to lose a domain.
Even if only for the reasons outlined today, I think end users need to have a bit of an “AHA!” moment… before it’s too late.
Do social media sites have the right to remove your account? Sure.
But you also have not just the right but I believe also the (at least moral) obligation to protect yourself against such scenarios by making it a goal to nurture your domain+website and depend as little as possible on just one entity for your online presence.