Does Social Media Own You?

Recently I was asked by a school administrator whether Facebook should be used as the platform for communication with another school in another part of the world. Great Idea but I can think of a better one and here’s why.

This morning I was reading an article by David Rogers about whether it was time to shut down your website and go social instead. He measures the benefits of having a social presence versus  just a static web presence. Yet one of the points that he made and its one that I have maintained for a while now is this:

Social might be the cool new alternative to a static web presence but what If Facebook, Twitter and Youtube go away tomorrow? I know it seems farfetched, but the point is, what would you do? To Rogers point he states the following as a benefit to the old school web site. And it’s simple really. Own the data.

Social media platforms are owned by the companies that run them, and, as such, they are the only ones holding all the data on your customers and your interactions with them. On your own website, you own all the data.”

The point I made to the administrator was this. Facebook is cool but why not create a proprietary channel in which you own and control the data? Create a profile that is more indigenous of the classroom, the subject matter and the student instead of relying on a profile that reveals  whether a student is in a relationship or not.

We need to take our lips off of the baby bottle that is the big 3 of Social Media(Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) and own the data and own the channel. We need to quit treating Facebook like a crack pipe that no one seems to be able to put down. Own the data and control the channel and the better you can control the platform.

4 thoughts on “Does Social Media Own You?

  1. Hey Mark, I believe the most important social media platform you can own is a blog. It can do everything a static website can do and provide the platform to create fresh content that relative to the business while providing conversation opportunity for your audience.

    A blog (self-hosted) you own, control lock stock and barrel. While Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are cool platforms, they are best, in my opinion, for outreach to invite other back to your own home.

    For reasons that are obvious – all of your hard work building a community around your business/ brand could be gone tomorrow on platforms you don’t own, don’t rank for and don’t have zero decision power over! They own you and the content you create and it adds value to their business – and yours… For who knows how long????

    One thing I hate about Facebook (having a game built into the platform) is having to fix crap all of the time because of stupid changes that Facebook makes almost weekly!

    Great post Mark.

  2. @Mark Agree, more flexibility with a blog type of platform. Facebook is the worst at making it’s users jump through hoops for the sake of a”better profile” when the reality is, it might be more for the benefit of a marketer interested in segmented user data.

  3. I asked this same question in 2009!

    I think it goes on record as one of my shortest posts with the most comments… And yet, the topic came as quickly as it went. Why is that?

    I totally agree with you. If companies want to be seriously social with customers, employees, stakeholders, shareholders, etc. they need to own the platform and the data. Even if it’s a blog or forum attached to their website.

    We see major companies doing this…and there’s a reason. 😉

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I see a day when Twitter and Facebook aren’t around. They just aren’t sustainable long-term the way they are being managed today. Not only that, but they owe a TON o’stacks to their VCs. Not a good position to be in.

    Have a great weekend,

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