Facebook or your own Community?

facebook, twitter logosHere is something I have been thinking about for a bit lately: how heavily should an organisation be invested in services like Facebook and Twitter? You can hear it all around: every organisation must have a Facebook page, Twitter account, etcetera. But from a strategic point of view, I am beginning to think they are less important as it may seem. Sites and services like Twitter, Facebook et al. are important now, I agree, but...

will they be so in the future? You only have to look at what happened to MySpace - once the champion of profile sites - to see what can happen.

The internet as an ever present entity in our lives and organisations is only just beginning to take shape. Services and sites will come and go. And yes, they are important for your organisation if only to gain or maintain exposure. But is it a smart move to invest most of your online presence in one or two places? I think not. If people start to leave Facebook, they will go somewhere else. And if you are too heavily invested in Facebook, it will take a lot of time, effort and money to follow your community.

I am getting more and more convinced that it is a better idea to build a community on your own digital premises and use "social sites" as your outposts, directing people to your own community. When (your) people will move from Facebook or Twitter to the next shiny thing, this kind of setup makes it far easier to move along with them since your main community would remain intact.

It would require rethinking your online presence though. A mere "website-plus-forum" will fall short to create a compelling presence for your stakeholders. And how should this community interface with those outposts? I would like to learn your thoughts about this. Should organisations invest heavily in Facebook and the like or in their own community? What do you think the benefits and drawbacks are? What would such an all-encompassing website be like? Please join in the conversation in the comments section - for now.

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