Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Don't Depend On Your Social Network

It's too easy for today's artist who only dabbles in social networking to get complacent and comfortable with the abilities of a single social network, but that can spell disaster for maintaining your fan base if you're not careful. As those artists who formerly depended upon MySpace now know, what's hot today can be ice cold tomorrow. But other negative scenarios also exist that can be far worse than the network falling out of favor.

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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1 comment:

Willem said...

Having read Tim Berners-Lee's article this week on the Scientific American site, i convinced more than ever that Facebook is the wrong way to go for the future. Your social network should be on your own server, not Facebook's. He mentioned an interesting alternative, named Diaspora. Given another name that doesn't refer to a history of sorrow, such an initiative might actually be the future of social networking. People will have their data under their own control, and best of all : it will be possible to make outside links to any other place on the web, which is now not possible.

Thanks, Bobby, for bringing this up. This might actually become one of the most important issues in years to come.


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