What to do When Your Favorite Blogging or Social Site Closes its Doors

Aug 30, 2010 by     Comments Off on What to do When Your Favorite Blogging or Social Site Closes its Doors    Posted under: Blog

Ning’s recent announcement that it will be doing away with the free portion of its social networking service was one of the hot topics at last weekend’s WordCamp in San Francisco.

Ning, for those who haven’t messed with it, is a social networking platform that’s ranked in the top 150 by Alexa and has millions of users who use the service to “explore and express their interests, discover new passions, and meet new people around shared pursuits.”

The Ning move, whether you agree with it or not, brought up a good question: What do you do when your favorite blogging or social networking service shuts the doors?

Let’s face it, as more and more of these social services pop up, more and more of them are going to flop, unless they can figure out a viable revenue stream.

It’s the same dilemma users of tri.im were faced with last year when the URL shortener closed up shop.

Or what Yahoo! 360° (now localized for Vietnam), Yahoo! Briefcase, Jubii, Windows Live Events and SplashCast were faced with before shutting their doors last year.

The answer? Stick with a site or a platform you trust isn’t going away any time soon, or at least gives you control of your content.

There are also dozens of open-source publishing platforms such as WordPress or BuddyPress that allow you to install that social platform on your own server, giving you full control of the content … and the platform behind it for that matter.

BuddyPress is one of those open-source platforms that Ning users will surely turn to in coming weeks.

As WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg put it at Saturday’s blogging conference in San Francisco, BuddyPress “inherits all of the big enterprise stuff, and is WordPress under the hood. You can build something small or really huge on it.”

In fact, Mullenweg said there’s a well-known hip-hop artist who plans to announce they’re making the move from Ning to BuddyPress in the next couple months.

While not all of us have hip-hop dough to throw at a website, there are ways to exist in the blogosphere or social space without getting your content trashed.

If you choose to rely on a startup to host your work, be sure your content is portable – either in a downloadable format or an RSS/Atom feed that you can import into your own blog if the VC money runs dry and your favorite site goes under.

In the meantime, start backing up your content. Ning users, you’ve got 10 weeks to save your content or pay the price.

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