Owning Your Social Network

Twitter seems to be falling apart. What should you do? If you are worried, think about categorizing people into 3 categories.

Owning Your Social Network

With the downfall of Twitter potentially looming, or at least the appearance of it, I've been asked my thoughts on how one should back up their social graph.

I've been thinking about this for a few days now, and this is my advice.

There are actually a few graphs you need to think about, when it comes to any given social network.

I tend to focus on 3 graphs:

  • Friends - These are the people that you interact with on a regular basis. They know you, you know them, and you want to make sure that, no matter what, you maintain connection with them. These are the first people you should indentify, and reach out to them directly to ask for alternate contact info. Establish connections with them that are maintained by you, if possible, or at least a number of connections owned by outside owners. This will reduce the risks of losing that connection.
  • Audience - These are people who know you, but you may or may not know them. They follow you on social media because they are interested in what you have to say. You should focus on getting ownership of that relationship as soon as you can. The typical way is to get them to subscribe to an email list. This is the easiest way to gain control of that relationship and maintain a line of communication that is one to many.
  • Creators - This is the inverse of the Audience graph. These are the people you follow because you enjoy their content. You should try to get on their email lists, join their communities, subscribe directly to their content, etc. This is a good time to focus on the creators that you can't live without. The main issue is that we tend to follow lots of creators on social media because the connections are easy and plentiful, so we tend to follow more than we need to. You can also set up various workflows to help you manage your content intake, sorting emails into labeled groups or creating similar groupings around topic, or any breakdown that fits your goals.

So as you consider how you want to move forward into the future, try to categorize people into these groups. There are a number of ways that you can organize those categories.

What About Communities?

If you notice, I only mentioned joining creator communities if they exist as a way to keep connected with creators that you care about. I didn't mention it as a way to keep contact with friends or your audience. That was quite intentional.

The main reason: it's hard to build and maintain a community. If that's something you want to do specifically, that's totally cool and it will be quite helpful for building out something that you own and manage. But it's hard. It requires a lot of work to get a community to the point where it's valuable enough that people keep coming back. One of the biggest problems is that we are extremely fragmented right now among a myriad of platforms. You might be able to get a Slack group or Discord channel, because people are using those tools already, but they tend to die off quite quickly. And building a community on your own platform somewhere is even more difficult.

I say this as someone who has attempted and failed to get multiple communities off the ground.

You need a higher level of motivation to build a community than just wanting to replicate social media relationships. Just something to keep in mind.

Let me know if you've got any questions about what to do! I'm still hanging out on Twitter and I plan on sticking around until the end.

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