I’ve been tweaking my online presence over the past several weeks. As I’ve gotten more involved with Facebook, I’ve started pulling in RSS feeds from Twitter, Friendfeed, Flickr, and most recently RandomConnections so that all of these automatically update on my Facebook profile. For me it’s a simple matter of laziness. I’d prefer to type something once, rather than put entries here, re-type them on Facebook, etc., etc.
With all of this automatic cross-posting, the boundaries between traditional websites have really become blurred. All of the posts that I publish here automatically show up as notes on my Facebook profile. I’ve gotten several comments on those Facebook notes – more, even than I’ve gotten here lately. I wonder how many of those commentors are even aware that there is an analogous website, or if Facebook is their only way to view this content.
And this isn’t limited to Facebook. A long time ago I set up a Tumblr site, and pulled in the feeds from RandomConnections. I’ve neglected it, but it’s still an exact duplicate of RandomConnections, including the latest content. The same goes for my account on Virb.com, which also automatically pulls in both the RandomConnections content and my Flickr photos.
I think about my own reading habits. I use Bloglines to keep track of multiple websites and RSS feeds. Many of those sites I rarely visit unless I want to leave a comment. I just read the content on the feed reader. I’m absolutely sure there are others that do the same for RandomConnections.
This almost almost begs the question of why we need websites at all anymore. If you’ve got some way to create posts and feed them up through RSS, you’re pretty much set for a multitude of social networks. Yet there is still some panache to having a cool, easy to remember domain name. Getting a good one anymore is like buying waterfront property. I feel fortunate to have gotten the RandomConnections.com domain, and plan to hang onto it as long as I can.
However, more important than having a good domain name is the concept of web branding. My friends Lauren Cobb, Patrick Greer, Geno Church, and my nephew Chip could tell you more about that. I personally try to keep a consistent presence across all of the social networking sites I use, with the same icon and RandomConnections username. The result has been fairly good search engine optimization. If you do a Google search for a topic with which I’m involved, one of my social network sites will be fairly high in the results. (I know I could improve this by trying to keep my blog focused, but that’s for a different discussion.)
So, the upshot of this is that I do have a website. It’s found at www.randomconnections.com (which is blindingly obvious if you happen to be on the site right now), but you don’t necessarily have to go there to read it. Perhaps Lee Lefever puts it best…