I was reading this post from Seth Godin today. it got me thinking about the channels we use to publish our thoughts and to control our personal brands. On the one hand it makes total sense to choose a popular digital channel or two so that ‘we’ can leverage their audience. But their is a flip side risk that it might be time to consider as enter the back end of the social web decade.
What if these channels just disappear? Or more specifically, what if a channel we have chosen to invest in just disappears?
It is not as if it isn’t possible. The digital graveyard is full of potential and one time behemoths that got it wrong and evaporated. While some may not have died completely, it is certainly true that when they die (the host) then we (the parasite) are very likely to die with it.
The answer is in the question. We must have a channel or repository where we retain an element of control or ownership. Maybe it’s our own .com address. Maybe it’s our own forum. The point is we must reduce our personal brand risk in the same way reduce our investment mix through diversification. Have assets we control, assets where we share control and assets which others control. Sometimes I worry about the investment I have made in twitter while they still struggle to turn a profit.
Given our digital footprint and personal brand are now as important as formal qualifications and career experience these days, our portfolio of personal digital channels should replicate any good investment strategy, where we have a mix of control and leverage. While it’s never a good idea to invest in too many areas, it’s also good to invest in some assets that we have total ownership over them, rather than something we just have a share in or make a contribution too.