Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
January 12, 200910:05 PM

Owning "You"

One of the major pieces of advice musicians and bands must know is that if they are promoting themselves on all of their marketing and communications materials as, they are really just marketing MySpace and don't "own" or "control" their own destiny. It's a mistake that Marketers are making more and more everyday.

There has been tons of online chatter about how some of the more prominent Bloggers have abandoned their own spaces in lieu of spending time on places like Twitter and FriendFeed. The debate still rages on. Some take the position that they miss the more in-depth thought leadership of these Bloggers, while others simply see these new micro-blogging platforms as a total and complete time suck.

It's actually a little of both and something else...

A Blog, a Podcast is your own. You own it. It's your media channel. It's your publishing platform. Some of the other spaces (like Facebook, MySpace and the aforementioned Twitter and FriendFeed) are not your own. Yes, you can use it. Yes, you can build up your own community, but at the end of the day, you are driving people away from you to some place else where you are hoping they can connect to you. And while that last sentence may seem garbled, it's not. Marketers who think a Facebook Fan Page or a Twitter account is going to help them evolve are missing a stark reality: you can build it up and pull tremendous value out of it, but there is no ownership. Those companies can simply decide to change their terms of service and poof, you're gone. No questions asked. No forwarding address.

Does that mean you should avoid some of these online social networks?

Absolutely not. In recent months, I've found tremendous value in places like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. My usage is definitely on the rise in those three online social networks, but that does not mean that there will be any abandonment of the Blog and the Podcast. As a Marketer, this can't be a game of "either" "or." It must be a game of value add. The reason people still find tremendous value in personal publishing platforms like Blogs and Podcasts is because they are your own space. It is something that you can really own, instead of being a mere hub or spoke in a bigger wheel.

Making them all work together.

It's important to understand all of the tools in your toolkit, and then being able to strategically decide which tool you need for which job. Short thoughts, cool links, little ideas or quick shout-outs are amazing little nuggets of snackable content to share in places like Twitter. Pushing a bigger question to your greater community based on something you Blog or Podcast about is also a very cool use of the channel. Being a part of your communities' network is very workable through a Facebook Fan Page. Creating these other spaces that compliment your own online environment seems to be the more ideal way that marketers are making some strides in this ever-complex world.

Don't just blast everyone everywhere. It becomes annoying. It's not what people want to connect to.

If the end-game is only about marketing your messages to the masses, you will get no value out of this post. If the end-game is to build your business by using the myriad of new channels to publish, share, build and grow a community (who then - through the sheer value of content you are providing - become valuable customers), then you may just have a fighting chance. The big trick is in knowing that is all starts in having a little piece of the online world that is yours. That you can call your own. That no one can take away. Once you have that, you can add on the right channels for the right message you are trying to share, and build it from there.

Maybe someone will come along and do the exact opposite. Maybe a business will be able to build a loyal following with nothing more than a Twitter account and a Facebook Fan Page. What do you think? Is that even possible?

By Mitch Joel