If your Facebook or Twitter account got suspend or deleted, what impact would it have on your business?
I ask this question, because I’m seeing more and more people invest huge amounts of their valuable time building social networks on 3rd party sites, which they have very little real control over. Conversely, I see remarkably few people invest anywhere like enough time on the development of their own social media platform – namely, a commercial, self-hosted blog (like this one.) I’m sure you’ve seen it too; people who only manage to put new content on their own blogs a couple of times a month, yet they update Twitter or Facebook on and off all day long. Their blogs are being neglected, yet their Facebook stream is packed with interesting posts, great ideas and useful links.
In other words, they are building their primary social networking hub on something they have little real control over – Something that can be suspended or deleted without their consent, at any time.
Twitter account suspensions
I was prompted to write this after receiving an email this morning from a reader, who has just had his Twitter account reinstated AFTER Twitter suspended it, without warning or reason, for 8 days! Although I no longer follow him, I do read his stream occasionally and it is a very typical Twitter account, which doesn’t spam or abuse anyone. By the time his account was restored, 2 new prospective clients had unfollowed him. Apparently, they saw the “account suspended” sign and assumed he was a scammer!
In fact, of the 30 or so people I know of, who have had their Twitter accounts suspended, I can’t think of any that were actually doing anything wrong. By the way, one of those I helped get their account back, via a conversation on Friendfeed, was non-other than Chris Anderson; Editor of Wired Magazine and creator of what we now know as the freemium marketing model. Again, a completely random suspension.
Free blogs get suspended too
Just over a week ago, 70,000 people, (yes seventy thousand) had their Blogs shut down without notice, when the blogetery blogging platform they were using was closed down. Some of these people will have invested months of their time, developing content for that platform, only to see it erased without warning. Had that same time been invested in developing on their own self-hosted blog, it would still be there.
Even WordPress.com, which I consider the best free blogging platform by far, can suspend or remove your blog if, for example, one of their moderators believes you have Search Engine Optimized it, so that it’s too Google friendly and does not read well enough for people. In a list of blogs that are not allowed on WordPress.com, they list their now famous SEO clause:
Blogs that are written for search engines instead of humans. These blogs are dedicated to trying to fool Google and other search engines into ranking them or the sites they link to highly. WordPress.com is not meant for this type of activity.
The challenge here, is that many people would consider that “type of activity” to be nothing more than SEO! It’s a very grey area. What you or I consider a legitimately optimised blog post, one particular moderator at WordPress may consider to be too SEO friendly. If so, and someone reports it, you are at best suspended or at worst, the blog is deleted. I have to say here, that typically, the moderators at WordPress are very good these days and only want to block scammy blogs.
Your marketing on your platform
However, why give someone who knows nothing about you or your business, the power to suspend or delete your business blog, when you can build a self-hosted WordPress blog, like this one, which you control and direct 100%? In my opinion, this alone is a great reason for business bloggers to consider owning their own platform.
My point is that whilst social networking sites are a brilliant idea and a great opportunity for you to reach new people, you should also consider investing in a central Internet space or hub, which YOU control and can develop with total freedom. No 3rd party should have the power over you or your business, to be able to pull the plug on your primary online platform.
- I love Twitter. (You can join me on Twitter here)
- I really enjoy Google Buzz.
- I CAN NOT WAIT for the rumoured Google Me social media site to launch!
But I put at least 95% of my social media time into producing content for this blog and connecting with the reader community here.
Because of this, if any of my social media / social networking accounts were suspended, I would still have a thriving community of readers, commenters and people who regularly email me via this blog. I would still be able to reach new prospective clients every hour of each day.