I am strong believer in the social media base camp concept. Social media success needs a base camp – else everything we do is at the mercy of the elements.
Case in point is the shutting down of Vox.
Vox is (soon will be was) a free blogging platform launched by Six Apart, the same folks behind Movable Type and TypePad in 2006. Along the way, it also ate up Pownce, another free social networking and micro-blogging platform.
One of the reasons Vox found some following was it’s ability to bring in social networking features to the blog – similar to what BuddyPress et.al. do today.
I was reading through a hot off the press review of Vox from 2006, just before it was opened to the public:
Vox is a new approach to blogging and social networking, and I think it could potentially bring the two phenomena to a whole new audience. I can see myself using Vox as a largely private blog, with only friends and family able to view the vast majority of posts, taking advantage of the permissions features and photo uploading.
By making blogging central to what is essentially a social networking product, and using a tasteful, highly usable design, Six Apart have made Vox interesting as a way to keep in touch, rather than meet new people as with Myspace, Bebo etc. This is likely to appeal to far more people as a concept. Coupled with attempts to create a great community through This is Good posts promoted across the service, and suggested questions to answer in blog posts, I can see Vox creating a real buzz.
Fast forward 4 years, and you come to this announcement from Six Apart about the fate of Vox:
Vox has been a fun place to explore, create and connect with your friends. But Vox is closing its doors on September 30, 2010.
This doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your blog. We want you to make sure you can keep the great content you’ve shared on Vox, and continue to have a home for your blog. To help you make the transition off of Vox, we’ve added new export features that make it easy to move your blog to a free TypePad account, and your photos & videos to Flickr.
The migrations, exit routes and alternative options are all good. But the folks who were using Vox as their primary blog platforms will soon find that the cheese has moved. One fine morning next month, their *.vox.com blog links will not longer work.
Worse still, for all we know, the same user/blog names might not even be available on the proposed alternatives. Which literally means that some of the users will just fall off the map – their readers not knowing where they have moved to.
And we haven’t even started taking about what the search engines are going to think about the change – and the traffic.
And while the dust from the Vox announcement is still settling down, I am hearing rumors that something else might also be changing on the TypePad side of the world.
In the fast changing world of social media, it’s very easy for today leaders to become obsolete tomorrow. What’s working today might not see the light of the day a few years from now.
Which brings us back to my base camp concept.
Your social media base camps should always be a blog – that you own and run – and (ideally) host too. That’s one definite way to ensure longevity of your own social media – and the ability to build and leave behind a legacy.
Why run the risk of making your own social media efforts and investments obsolete and irrelevant? It’s just not worth it!
You don’t want to be locked out of our own base camp one day – you need to own all the keys to your base camp.
Do you agree? What else are you doing to keep your social media base camps strong and fortified?
(Image Credit: maistora http://www.flickr.com/photos/maistora/)