At present, Twitter is one of the most popular social networking sites in the world.
But will things be the same in 2 years, 5 years or 10 years?
Twitter might remain at the top or it may have been superseded by newer, fresher rivals.
But after the distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) last week, we reckon a few Twitter users will have considered (or worried about) what would happen if Twitter suddenly disappeared.
What would you do if Twitter suddenly disappeared or suffered from a dramatic fall in popularity?
Okay, that might be rather drastic, but nobody knows what will happen in the future and it’s best to be prepared for any unforeseen developments.
- What if spammers swamp the network?
- What if the network shifts emphasis away from the reason that you originally joined?
- What if the network starts charging users?
- What if people get bored with it and just drift away from the network?
The internet moves rapidly. Several generations of the latest, hottest sites have appeared from nowhere, grown rapidly, then peaked and been overtaken just as quickly (Geocities, LiveJournal, MySpace etc).
So here are a few important considerations to help you future-proof the time and effort you spend on Twitter.
1) Use other networks
It’s essential that you don’t tie the long-term success of your social networking to the long-term survival of Twitter. So make sure that you spread your social networking effort over a few different sites.
Ironically, given all the bird references relating to Twitter, the most important piece of advice is summed up by the well-known saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.
2) Don’t confuse the medium with the purpose
Ultimately, the most important part of your time spent on Twitter is the network of contacts that you develop with like-minded people, rather than the fact that you’ve got a well developed Twitter account.
Twitter is just the medium, your network of contacts is the purpose.
Twitter is great for meeting new people, it’s also good for quick communication as you build relationships, but over the long term your email address book or skype contacts list are more secure methods for communicating with and storing your best contacts.
So make sure that you take steps to transfer your network of contacts to at least one other communication platform. For example, you could encourage all your followers to join you on another social networking site, such as Facebook, while your closest group of contacts could be transferred to email, another instant messaging platform or even your Skype account.
Then, if anything happens to one of these platforms (either temporarily or permanently) your network of contacts won’t be destroyed. It also means that you “own” your network of contacts rather than any one networking site.
3) Strengthen your network
When you begin to build a group of contacts, your network consists of a number of relationships that are independent of each other. In a visual sense it represents the wheel of a bicycle with numerous spokes radiating out from your position at the hub.
However, the major weakness of this situation is that all of the relationships that create your network rely upon you.
- What if you lose the contact information of some of your network?
- What if you aren’t able to work for several weeks or months?
In certain cases, there is a major risk that your group of contacts will deteriorate unless you continue to maintain these relationships.
So as you develop your network, take every opportunity to strengthen your network by connecting people within your group of contacts. Bring people together who can help each other.
If these connections are successful, it will increase the goodwill that both parties feel towards you, but more importantly, it will allow your network to exist independently of you. If you lose contact with someone in your network, you’ll be able to reconnect through one of your mutual contacts.
Take action to secure the long-term future of your social network now, so that when Twitter falls off its perch you won’t suffer.
As always, use the comments below to let us know the steps you’ve taken to protect your network of contacts against the unexpected.