In light of the recent outage on my website, I got to thinking about how my social network helped to make sure people could still get to various posts and other information, even though they couldn’t get to my website directly. My online presence was more or less maintained, even though my website was not. At the beginning of the year, I posted about my social network, and how it was organized. But it has changed somewhat in the last 6 months, and I’ve managed to come up with a better diagram to describe how it all works together:
Here is how things work in this revised model and why it helped me maintain my presence during yesterday’s outage:
The innermost circle are the primary tools that I use for communicating my online presence:
- A. WordPress, which I use to write my blog posts and manage my website.
- B. Twitter, which I use for short communications
The outer circle represents various cloud-based data feeds. Another way of looking at this is that the innermost circle is where I initiate my communications. The outer circle amplifies my communications, but I almost never make updates to the services in the outer circle directly. (Ping is the only exception, and I use Ping rarely.)
So, for instance, when I post from WordPress, several things happen:
- WordPress makes the post available in Feedburner via RSS (#1)
- WordPress makes the post available directly on my website (#2)
- LinkedIn pulls in the post via an RSS feed (#3)
- WordPress makes the post available in Tumblr (#4)
- WordPress makes the post available in LiveJournal (#5)
- WordPress announces the post on Twitter (B)
- WordPress announces the post of Facebook (#10)
Now, that seems like an awful lot of redundancy but there are two good reasons for it:
- People in the cloud access the posts in different ways and from different venues. It gives people choices. They don’t have to go directly to the blog. They can read the posts in LiveJournal, or Tumblr. They can see them in Facebook. It gives the audience greater control over how they access the content.
- In a situation when the WordPress site is down, all is not lost. People can still go to LiveJournal, Tumblr, and places other than the website to see older content. If that content were only available on my site, no one would be able to access it.
Also, as you can see from the illustration, I am only ever posting in one place: my WordPress site. All of the relays are done automatically through plugins or RSS feeds. I don’t have to think about it. I just write my post, and off it goes.
The same is true for Twitter. I only make updates in Twitter (in part because it forces me to keep my messages brief). When I post to Twitter, Twitter is set to automatically send the post to a number of places aside from my timeline:
- Bit.ly, if there is a link. That helps me keep track of who clicks on what. (#6)
- Google Buzz (#7)
- Facebook (#10)
- LinkedIn, although it is not clearly illustrated in the diagram (#3)
And just like the blog posts, people can choose how they want to receive these updates, through any of the services listed above.
This organization works well for me, and it proved its worth earlier this week when my website went down for nearly a day.