I’ve been coming repeatedly to a simple conclusion regarding content creation and the use of social services:
If something is worth creating, it’s worth keeping within your own control.
This includes quick little comments on the world, or sharing interesting links (Twitter), to posting and sharing content through something like Google+. I’ve been blogging since 1999, so I have over 5,000 posts saved within
mysql, but what about Twitter? Where did those 3,000 posts go? Was any of it worth saving? Why did I put it there and not on my site?
To me it’s quite simple: if it’s worth sharing then it’s good enough for me to feel bad about not having permanently as part of my digital avatar. And if it’s not good enough for that, then maybe I shouldn’t be creating/sharing it in the first place.
The concept of some content being on Twitter, some content being on Facebook, and some content being in Google+ is basically the approach of someone who is not taking what they produce seriously. After five years of doing this, what will you have? And after 20? What history will there be of your experiences and/or contributions?
In 20 years, your Foursquare check-ins, your silly jokes, your poignant observations, your best-find articles, your own deeper thoughts — they will matter to you. Some of it will matter because it will be a history of who you were and what you were doing, but some will matter because the content itself was good.
If the answer is, “I’m not trying to make “contributions”, you uppity fool, I’m just having fun…”, then you now know why I don’t read anything you write, and why nobody else does either. If you don’t take what you produce seriously, why should anyone else? And please don’t confuse seriousness with a lack of silliness or humor — most of the funniest and silliest people you’ll find online take their output very seriously.
Quite simply, if you care about what you put on Twitter, Google+, or other disparate services, consider the possibility that you should be capturing and centralizing that content somewhere that you control, e.g. your own site, or a single trustworthy service that you can reliably export from.
All this content represents who you were and what you did. You’ll want it later. Start now. ::