After writing I’m on Facebook–Now What???, followed by FBML Essentials, one of the most common questions I get from readers is a situation where their account, their Page, or their content has been suspended on Facebook in some form or another. Just today, Robert Scoble talked about another individual on Twitter whose account was recently suspended for no reason whatsoever. I’ve written about other occasions of Twitter suspending accounts in droves with no notice (that time a glitch). This is nothing new. Even the famous Mari Smith, the “Pied Piper of Facebook” according to FastCompany Magazine, had her Twitter account suspended. Robert Scoble had his Facebook account suspended. No one is immune.
It’s your own fault if this happens.
Let me explain. Of course I don’t blame any of the individuals whose account has had this unfortunate circumstance happen to them (assuming it was a mistake). However, I question why more people aren’t trying to bring these services under their own brand and their own hosting facilities to store their Tweets and micro-posts to their friends. There are services that make this easy. I’ve written about these before, and today I’m putting action where my words are.
The best service I’ve seen for this is called Status.net, formerly Identi.ca, and it gives any brand, business, or person the ability to host every single Tweet or post surrounding their identity on their own servers. I’m implementing a version of this so I can control who owns the Tweets I share on Twitter and other sites. Starting right now, you can go to http://community.staynalive.com, register for your own account, and begin hosting your own Tweets right here. Or, go to Status.net, download the source code, and host your own instance on your own servers. Then, follow my posts at http://community.staynalive.com/jesse right from your own instance of Status.net on your own servers!
Still want to post to Twitter? Every account on the Stay N’ Alive Community site can connect their Twitter account and set each Tweet they post from http://community.staynalive.com to also post to Twitter. Look at this Tweet – it was sent to my own servers straight from TweetDeck. I simply added another Twitter account in TweetDeck, and set the Twitter Base URL (under advanced) to be http://community.staynalive.com/api, adding my own credentials for the Stay N’ Alive community. Now, any time I post from TweetDeck I have the option to post to the Stay N’ Alive Community site where I own the data (well, it’s all Creative Commons so each user owns their own data), and I can know that will also go to Twitter. If I want to do all my following from the Stay N’ Alive Community site, I can set it to import my friends’ Twitter streams into Stay N’ Alive and I can follow them right there.
What’s the point? Now I own, 100%, every tweet I post to Twitter, and no one can do anything about that. If you set up your own instance, you can do the same. ESPN can set up an ESPN-branded Twitter. Ford can set up a Ford-branded Twitter. Rackspace can set up its own Rackspace-branded Twitter. Scoble can set up his own Scoble-branded Twitter. Every post from the branded site gets hosted on the Brand’s own servers, anyone on any other OMB-supported service can follow them on their own servers, and no one can ever shut them down.
So, if you’re worried about your account being suspended, this is how you fight back. Go create your own Status.net service, post your URL in the comments (so we can all follow!), and we can all start to take back control of our status under our own terms. Or, feel free to join the Stay N’ Alive Community where the readers of this blog can all get to know each other! This is your responsibility – I can’t wait to see what you do with it!
To those who aren’t hosting your own Tweets, I say “Stop It!”: