How Outposts Improve Your Ecosystem

outpost visualized

I saw this great pic from Oscar Berg, and it showed his primary social media flow. I thought it was interesting, but then, it got me thinking about how I see my social media world (for me, not for clients, but it relates).

In September 2008, I wrote about using outposts in your social media strategy, and I defined the “home base,” “outposts,” and “passports” idea. If you see me speak, there’s a 40% chance, I define it quickly during such presentations. Outposts are those touchpoints away from your main online presence where you connect with others in some way.

In the above drawing, I point out that I see sources for input, and then I have places where I connect with others as an outpost.

You could do the same thing quickly with a piece of paper and a few minutes. The thing is this: I do see my site as the primary point of value. I put all my best work into [], and push attention here, not to my outposts.

I see many using Posterous and other outpost apps as a kind of replacement to their home base, or as a temporary “second base,” I guess. I’m not sure how that tactic is working out for them. To me, spreading the value too thin is a recipe to have no value captured.

Thinking of your primary online presence as your home base (and it doesn’t have to be a blog, but Twitter isn’t necessarily the right medium, I don’t think), and then thinking of the places where you make social connections as your outposts (realized I forgot LinkedIn, but I’m there too, obviously), then you see how you might prioritize your time and/or how you might try keeping the value chain alive.

You might weigh your outpost efforts differently. You might determine where else you spend time (various forums, Flickr, etc) that contribute to your success, but without keeping your home base central and your outposts as a secondary part of the value, I think leads to a bit of frustration.

One last thought: sometimes, “success” in an outpost, like lots of great conversations on Twitter, pushes us to conclude that those areas are of more value to us. Ask yourself whether you see it that way in the larger ecosystem of your online presence.

What’s your take?

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