The Absurdity Of Yielding Your Presence To The Stream

You would have to be crazy to completely yield your digital presence to services owned by other people.  There are so many reasons you should maintain an independent presence, and most of those who have been active digitally well before the popularization of privately (vs. independently) owned web services know this.

Yet still, there are tech-savvy people who get caught up in the hype and forget the benefits gained by maintaining an area all their own.  Leo Laporte recently succumbed to this, as noted in a recent post at his blog.  What happened is his content accidentally stopped being  imported into Twitter from Buzz for 16 days (he stopped using Twitter and was just bringing content over from one service to the other).  And not a single person noticed.  Not one email or comment to Leo about it.  Even Leo didn’t notice.

It makes me feel like everything I’ve posted over the past four years on Twitter, Jaiku, Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, and, yes, Google Buzz, has been an immense waste of time. I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves.

Indeed.  While there are many reasons to maintain an independent presence (as linked in graph 1) Leo is experiencing the poor signal to noise ratio within these networks, and the fact that they simply are not places to carve out a voice for yourself.

The best part about this, Leo has a wildly popular digital radio show that is produced and broadcast via its own network.  And he clearly articulates how the benefits of this have increased over time:

Thank God the content I deem most important, my Internet and broadcast radio shows, still stand. I believe in what I’m doing there, and have been very fortunate to have found an audience. I’m pretty sure I would have heard from people if there had been 16 days of dead silence there. Hell, if we miss one show I get hundreds of emails. But I feel like I’ve woken up to a bad social media dream in terms of the content I’ve put in others’ hands. It’s been lost, and apparently no one was even paying attention to it in the first place.

You would think that due to this, Leo would understand the importance of self-publishing all his content and simply using things like Twitter as outposts to grow interest there.  Building up outposts is not nearly as important as maintaining a place where you control the vertical and horizontal (this builds both equity and leverage).  Anyway, let’s wish Leo luck on his journey back into self-publishing and not simply working in a space where even with 200,000 followers he’s not listened to.

Meanwhile, The Next Web reported on this story and missed the point entirely:

Laporte says that from now on he’ll be concentrating on his blog….

It’s hard to believe Leo will stay away from social media for long. As someone who makes a living from discussing the latest developments in the tech sphere, he simply can’t maintain credibility is he isn’t active on at least some social media platforms – how will he know what he’s talking about if he doesn’t take part?

What?  Yet again more writers don’t understand that blogs are social media.  In fact, a majority of links in both independent and public platforms simply work to drive links and traffic to blogs.  Wouldn’t you rather be what the end goal is rather than just someone else pointing to that content?