The hub-centric approach

Which services are you using right now in terms of social media? Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, LastFM, Flickr, YouTube, etc. The list goes on forever with more and more services popping out of the web every day. They all have their specific benefit for you as a user as well as for your followers or subscribers.

But with an uncountable number of services available at your finger tips the task of managing and keeping them all up-to-date gets harder and more complicated. You want your blog posts to be shown on your Facebook profile, your Twitter updates should flood your blog, your YouTube favourites may also be mirrored to your FriendFeed account and … well, you get the message.

We may identify to major challenges in digital DNA building:

  • Ubiquity of content: Your content is precious and you want your content to be consistent and fresh on every single one of the platforms and channels you are using. But the afford to manage separate, un-connected profiles and accounts is unbearable. Hence a method of centralizing the management and updating affords is required.
  • Ease of connection: You may use service X while your target group is divided by service Y and service Z. You cannot guarantee that everyone uses Twitter but you want everyone to know about your tweets. Thus you should provide as many interfaces for your visitors or subscribers as possible while not compromising on low-afford administration.

Service classification

Of course you don’t want to limit your possibilities to publish content of all kinds of media (Video, Text, Images). But what is your primary content consisting of? If you are a blogger your main content may be text oriented. As a photographer you would naturally publish images with some textual descriptions or essays now and then to accompany your photos. A video artist would heavily rely on moving images platforms (like YouTube or Vimeo) to get his content out. Defining your primary source of content is the first step in building a hub. It is the central part of your digital DNA. The one platform that delivers what is most important to you – your own user-generated content. This could also be your Facebook profile or your Twitter account. It all depends on what you have to say/share.

Social media lives from interaction, discussion and exchange. Exchange and discussion can take place on your blog, your Flickr account or your Facebook profile(s). Again – the possibilities are endless. But you should decide on which networks and platforms you want to focus. Which of them are you on your own using regularly and with passion? Where are your best-equipped profile pages located and where are your friends? Take your social networks and platforms and make them your social substrate. You may use some criteria in your decision:

  • Credibility – as a key driver of digital DNA building – results from your ability to communicate with friends in a natural, dialog-oriented way. Real-life contacts (i.e. linked friends that you also know in real life) can be a precious substrate for your communication, as they are more likely to share and re-publish your content.
  • Connectivity results from the interfaces a platform provides. Facebook for example offers a broad variety of interfaces to all kinds of services. XING will open up in that direction with its move towards Open Social. If you can manage to integrate your social network on a technology side, this will immediately reduce your update affords.

With syndication services (e.g. FriendFeed, Ping FM, etc.), RSS integration, Plug-ins for WordPress and other social software offerings you can then build a transportation layer that will take your content even further. This layer also offers users of other platforms the possibility to connect with you or your content. It is also the primary foundation for all sorts of viral activities as it will enable you to seed content in a wide user area. The transportation layer heavily relies on integration on the technology side. Embrace open APIs, industry standards and inter-operability.

Building a hub

After defining your primary source of content you should start to build a hub out of it. Let’s take the example of a multi-purpose blogger. Use your blog to regularly publish articles on selected topics. Integrate features for social sharing. Start a twitter account and tweet your new blog posts with interesting questions around them. Of course you won’t only tweet new blog posts. Embedding your Twitter account in your blog gives you the possibility of updating both services at once. The same goes for Facebook or other social network services. Integrate them. With RSS and syndication services your blog will shortly become the center of your digital DNA. This is what the term »hub« stands for: It integrates your various social services but builds a strong foundation for your readers, followers or subscribers to get the »complete picture«. Your hub is where they can come back to after having read some interesting tweet or Facebook status update. This is where you catch them. This is where only you rule.

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