Domain names and websites remain the most direct connection to an audience.
Last week was an eventful week. Donald Trump loyalists physically took over the capitol building and social media platforms finally decided they’d seen enough. Twitter and Facebook permanently suspended Trump’s accounts. He no longer has his favored direct connection to the public.
I’m sure many readers disagree with the bans while others think they are way past due.
Regardless, it’s another reminder of both the value and the downside of using companies’ platforms for spreading your message.
It’s something I’ve talked about for years in a slightly different context. Companies paid lots of money to build their presence on Facebook, only for Facebook to change how its platform works and to charge organizations to reach their followers.
When you build a following on a platform, you are at the mercy of that platform.
When you build a website on your own domain name, you have a direct connection that is less likely to be severed.
True, your domain name registrar can decide that the content on your site violates its terms and conditions and kick you off. So can your host. Most will draw the line at inciting or glorifying violence, or spreading hate speech that could lead to that.
In fact, AWS has told right-wing-friendly social network Parler to find another home.
But there’s usually a domain name registrar and hosting company that will welcome you, either because of a libertarian mindset or greed.
The value of platforms like Facebook and Twitter is, of course, that they have a built-in audience. Twitter became a way for Trump to spread his message with much more ease than holding press conferences, updating a website, or sending email.
But what these platforms give, they can also take away.