This isn't a post about real estate - at least not physical real estate - and the financial benefits of a house. It's about why now is the time to claim your digital land, especially if you're looking to lead well for years to come.
The announcement last week that Google is shutting down its Reader was disappointing, but I've come to expect such change from the tech titans we all trust these days. Facebook modifies its layouts regularly; Twitter changes how promoted tweets or RTs work from time to time; Netflix, Apple, and Hulu can all switch up what they do, how they do it, and why they do it as they see fit.
And while there can be consumer outcry, the stark truth is that we don't own these tools; the companies do. They are not our toys to manipulate as we see fit. We use them only after fitting into their framework.
Don't believe me? Tweet something longer than 140 characters. Try to understand Facebook's privacy settings. Keep all your RSS subscriptions in Reader come July.
The time has never been better to set up your own website and start sharing ideas with the world. Invite people over to your house once in a while; don't just meet them at the mall.
Only sharing ideas on Facebook or Twitter is like always meeting your friends for drinks at that one restaurant you like. But, even if you love it, one day it closes (business wasn't that good; shady tax deals were going on; the place went up in smoke). Then you're scrambling for a new spot, but it's too far away from some people and someone else doesn't like the salad there, and let's face it - it'll never be the same.
Until you open your front door and invite people over.
I'm committing now (maybe again) to letting this site - SamDavidson.net - be my home base and the first line of introduction of me to the world. Sure, I'll still tweet and post on Facebook as long as those platforms let me share ideas in a way that is most beneficial to people looking for the kinds of ideas I share (about leadership and service). But best of all to me and this audience is to share as many ideas as possible here, where I control the content and the context, the media and the message.
You're better poised to shape something if you can control the process. It's one thing to tell a sculptor how you want the vase to come out of the kiln; it's another (better) thing to get your fingers in the clay, put your foot on that pedal, and then shove the pot in the fire and see what you made when you were at the wheel from start to finish.
The future will definitely belong to those big social networks. But if you want, it can belong to you, too.