Google+, Facebook, and the lovefest that needs to end

Published July 7, 2011

Let’s put the brakes on the Google+ lovefest. I don’t mean to say it isn’t a terrific system, but I’m reading far too many things acting like it’s so incredibly incredible that OMG!!! (Complete with the three bangs.)

imageYes, this is better than Facebook for lots of reasons, but please, folks, don’t go off the deep end. Or, rather, stop going off the deep end.

First of all, it’s not going to last. Remember that. CompuServe didn’t,  AOL didn’t, MySpace didn’t, Facebook won’t. Things change. So what? That means don’t rush to make G+ the center of your Web existence. It’s a tool, hopefully a popular one, but it’s just that — one part of a toolbox.

Whether you’re a person or an organization, *your own site should be the center of your Web presence.* Meaning, no matter what social networks come and go, will be where people can find you. There are plenty of tools that will let you share your blog/site with whichever social networks you like. But _something_ needs to be permanent (or at least as permanent as these things can be).

Your site is the hub. Google+ is one of the spokes.

Ah, you say, but I’m neglecting the _social_ aspect. G+ and kin aren’t about replacing soapboxes as much as they’re about making connections. And this is where the people are — not on Here’s where you go to converse; if you’re not an A-list writer, no one is going to visit your site and get into a conversation.

Very true. Well, mostly true.

Remember, G+ is a _tool_. So use it — use it to share your blog posts (or just an excerpt). Use it for conversations until the Next Next Big Thing rolls around. But that’s in _addition_ to your online home — your own site.

*Reason 1: Your site is your archive.* Imagine in the future if you want to look back at what you’ve done. If you’re master of your own domain, that means, well, looking at your site. Easy. But if you’ve spent your years flitting from one Next Big Social Network to the next, good luck finding your past.

They say high school yearbook sales are dropping because everyone’s online. Wow. Do you think in 20 years those kids will be able to flip through AOL/MySpace/Facebook/G+ pages to reminisce? Doubtful. The same goes for ‘living’ on any particular network. Comes the future, how are you going to find yourself?

*Reason 2: On your site, your content has staying power.* When I look at my site’s stats, I see plenty of people finding things I wrote years ago. And I can point friends to things I wrote in 1998. Had those been on [insert name of social network] instead, they never would have found them. Even if I tag things as “Public” here, will they be searchable in 10 years? My site goes back that far.

Can you imagine if some of your best old content was on MySpace? Good luck ever seeing that again — and good luck anyone ever finding it. And that’s…

*Reason 3: Stuff on your site is findable.* Write the greatest treatise ever on the history of widgets. Post it to Facebook or G+. Now, how is anyone gonna find it? Yes, the people who have added/friended you might (if it hasn’t scrolled off the bottom of their streams), but someone searching out of the blue won’t. So how will they know what a genius you are?

I have some Sparks set up for topics I’m interested in. Guess what? _Everything it finds is on someone’s Web site, not on a social network.* That’s where the best content is. Now, I might read something on someone’s site and then choose to follow/friend him, but the fact is search looks at sites, not streams. Not walls.

If you want people who don’t know you to find you, they ain’t gonna find you here. You need your own site for that.

So — enjoy it here. Use it, abuse it, find and follow and friend. But please, folks, don’t make this or any social network sound like the end-all and be-all of content sites. Spoke. Not hub.

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