Lessons learned from the Facebook/Navy SEALs censorship brouhaha:
Avoid becoming dependent on any “free” social media or blogging site.
They pay the bills; they call the shots. If your point of view differs too much from that of the owners, they can, and will, shut you down in a heartbeat.
A “free” blogging, social bookmarking, or online community service may close down entirely – taking your content and/or your networking contacts with it. Anybody remember Angelfire? Geocities? Or even Blogrolling.com? An online community (for example, MySpace) can decline into obscurity through poor management, bad service, or simple loss of popularity to the next new fad. Your content may still be on the site, but will anybody still go there?
Keep your content in a space that you control.
You can do what we did at 1389 Blog:
- Rent some server space for your blog by setting up an account with an Internet hosting provider. Good hosting isn’t free, but it isn’t as expensive as you might think, at least not when you’re just starting out. The hosting provider can also register your URL (web address) on your behalf.
- Download the WordPress blogging software (free, open source) and set it up in your server space. A good hosting provider will help you get started.
- Start loading your content into the blog.
How do you build up an audience for your blog?
It’s doable, provided that you have newsworthy content, a unique perspective, and some writing skills. It isn’t rocket science, just consistent work. There’s nothing wrong with using social media to help promote your blog. Just don’t put too many of your eggs into the same basket.
- Start an account on Twitter for your blog. Twitter has no requirement to divulge any personal information. Don’t just promote yourself or your group and/or your own blog posts; instead, make a point of tweeting links to other good, newsworthy stories. It will take a little while to build followers.
- If you have the time and inclination, you can set up accounts on other social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon or Pinterest.
- Continue to post comments and engage in discussion on forums and blogs that welcome commenters, such as Breitbart, PJ Media, and The Blaze, as well as news portals such as Yahoo.com. Just avoid the leftist sinkholes!
- Be sure to develop good relationships with other small blogs and forums. They are not your rivals; they’re your colleagues.
- When commenting on someone else’s site, try to keep most of your comments reasonably brief. If you have something to say that can’t be summed up in a few sentences or paragraphs, upload it to your own blog. Then, in your comments, post an introductory remark with an embedded link to your article. But don’t be heavy-handed. Respect the other blog or forum, stay on topic, and don’t use their site exclusively as a way to promote your own.