Scenario #1 - Let's say that you've cultivated a huge following on Facebook. What would happen if Facebook was purchased by Google, who decides that all it wants is the underlying technology of the network, and shuts the rest down? If you didn't capture the email addresses of all your followers, you'd lose them to the nothingness of cyberspace. Don't laugh - it could happen.
Scenario #2 - What would happen if Facebook (I'm picking on them because they're the big dog on the social block) changes its terms of service, and now charges you $.25 for every fan past 100? So now you're lucky enough to have 80,000 fans, but it's going to cost you 20 grand to continue. Or they decided to limit everyone's fan connections to 100? Both unlikely, but something similar could happen, where suddenly you were unable to access that large fan base that you've worked so hard to develop.
That's why it's imperative that you harvest as many email addresses as you can for your own mailing list so you can keep your social communication under your control. If you rely on an external network, sooner or later you're going to get burnt. It's the nature of the Internet to constantly change, and it's too early to get a feel for the life span of even of the largest sites and networks. So play it safe - develop that mailing list.
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