Google + is getting a lot of attention lately. The people that are really enjoying it are now considering quitting Facebook and Twitter for it. It's hard to say where and when is the right time to quit anything (unless it's an unhealthy habit. For unhealthy habits the answer is always, "right now!"). The history of civilization (and business) is littered with messes because people misjudged when to quit something. We've seen people quit too early. We've seen people quit too late. We've seen people who never quit. We've seen people who always quit. One of the best books that Seth Godin has written to date is called, The Dip, and subtitle is, "A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit And When To Stick." It's a book about quitting (and it's powerful).
Knowing when to quit is key.
Today, Hugh MacLeod, decided to quit Twitter and Facebook. In his Gapingvoid Blog post, "Reclaim Blogging": Why I'm giving up Twitter and Facebook, he says: "Keeping up a decent blog that people actually want to take the time to read, that's much harder. And it's the hard stuff that pays off in the end. Besides, even if they're very good at hiding the fact, over on Twitter and Facebook, it's not your content, it's their content. The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important. And as I've said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else's resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly."
Don't quit... yet.
I often tell brands that are trying to figure out if Digital Marketing is going to replace their traditional marketing endeavors that, "everything is 'with', not 'instead of'." There is no doubt that focus - and knowing what you are focusing on - is critical too, but Blogging should never replace Twitter and Facebook. In fact, I would argue that Twitter and Facebook - if used in a certain way - can augment the Blog experience. It helps people share your content and creates another platform for discourse.
Social Media will not bend to your will.
Telling people where and how you would like them to engage with your brand can be tricky. If many people are on Facebook and Twitter and those people are the exact same kinds of folks that you're trying to reach to grow your audience, abandoning ship can be a risk. People know and like Hugh, so this may be the perfect moment for him to quit and focus solely on his Blog, but I'll miss him on Twitter and Facebook. My guess is that I'm not alone. I look forward to his tweets, the links he shares and meeting/following the people he responds to. His little nibbles of content make me hungry to check out his more robust Blog posts and his art. Twitter and Facebook act as an alert that keeps me reminded of how relevant and important Hugh and his content are (and it's not just Hugh - it's many other individuals and brands). Odds are that people don't love your brand half as much as they like someone like Hugh, so your job isn't to remove all of the ideal ways that they can connect to you. Your job is to make everything that you create as shareable and as findable as possible. I believe that to be the core truth of Social Media: how a brand makes itself as shareable and findable as possible.
My advice to Hugh - and others who are on the fence - is: please don't quit... not yet.