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10 reasons why you shouldn’t blog on social networking sites 10 reasons why you shouldn’t blog on social networking sites

Social networking sites are everywhere. Facebook and Twitter may dominate, but there are plenty of other sites such as last.fm, Bebo, and MySpace. Facebook, last.fm and MySpace all give you the option to write blog posts or journal entries directly on the site. Here are 10 reasons why you shouldn’t do this, and you should focus your efforts on a standalone blog instead.

1. You may not be able to have your own domain name.

In theory, it’s possible to build traffic to any URL – but I’ve always preferred having my own domain name for each of my blogs. If you’re OK with yourname.somecompany.com then this point may not worry you; otherwise, you may wish to think carefully before you invest too much time into posting directly on a social networking site.

2. You may not be able to use your own design.

Yes, you can post status updates and links on social networks. But it’s hard enough to get a new blog off the ground when you’re using a theme that hundreds of other blogs are using too. So it’s going to be even harder to stand out if your “blog” just uses the corporate look and feel applied by the social networking site you’re using.

3. You limit yourself to the people who use the site.

Almost all of my friends use Facebook, so they’re actually more likely to see my blog posts if I share them there than if I ask them to subscribe to my blog directly (they won’t do it). However, if there’s someone who doesn’t use the site you post on, you’re cutting that person out of your blog.

4. Guests may not be able to comment.

This is a problem I mostly see with Flickr, a photo-sharing site. I don’t use Flickr (see point #3 above), and although I’m currently embarking on a daily photo challenge, I wouldn’t consider myself a good enough photographer to make a Flickr account worthwhile.

However, I see plenty of photos on Flickr that I like, and I often use Flickr photos on my blogs, obviously with a credit back to the source. I’d love to be able to thank the people whose photos I’m using, share a link with them, or even send an automatic trackback via WordPress to the Flickr photo page.

I guess this would open the floodgates to spam, but there’s a reason why most of the biggest blogs use WordPress and allow guest comments. If you’re very well-known, you may get a lot of spam, but a relatively unknown blogger or photographer needs to do everything possible to allow people to comment on their work. Blocking guest comments isn’t the way to do that.

5. Relationship restrictions.

This one’s aimed at Facebook. Do you have to be friends with the person to comment on their updates? There are tweaks you can make to your privacy settings, but I’d imagine that most people don’t allow the general public to view their posts.

Then again, perhaps this is pushing us towards more of a private web, than the public unveiling of absolutely any thought, photo or high score you happen to achieve…

6. Time and frequency of upgrades.

With your own blog, you can choose when to upgrade your blog. With third party providers, you don’t get that choice. For anything other than a security update, this can range from a minor annoyance to a seriously broken site.

Generally speaking, I’ve noticed that Facebook upgrades are smooth. On WordPress.com, I believe they have a core set of plugins that would be tested with a major new version prior to rolling it out to all blogs. But not every site is going to be as careful as this.

7. The site could disappear at any time.

Maybe it’s less likely with a big site like Facebook, but what if you use a small, obscure social network to store your blog posts, and one day the site closes? I haven’t seen this very often, but it can happen. Nothing is forever – especially if it’s a “free” site…

8. You may not be able to run outside advertising or make money from the blog.

This is a biggie, even if you don’t think you will be making money from your blog anytime soon – what if you find that it takes off in a big way? Using a site that severely limits your options in this area could cause a lot of grief down the line.

9. You may not be able to back up your own data.

What happens if there’s a serious loss of data? You could moan about it, but if it’s a free service and you agreed to the Terms of Service when you signed up, I don’t think there’s a lot you can do.

10. You may not be able to move elsewhere.

What happens if you want to take your posts to your own self-hosted blog, but you are unable to do so? There may be third-party export scripts available, but if not, you may very well be stuffed.

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