Will you live longer than Facebook?
That was the interesting question posed by comedian Baratunde Thurston on a radio interview I heard last week.
Barantude is no stranger to social media. He tweets, he Foursquares and he posts to Facebook.
And he also has an email list. As it says on his website - Yes, Email!
Here's the point that Barantude is making with his provocative question:
Social media sites come and go. (Who remembers Friendster?) And when they disappear, they take your contacts with them.
There's no way to export your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and the rest.
That's why Baratunde maintains an email list too. Because you can keep your email list. For ever. It's yours - it doesn't belong to Mark Zuckerberg or some other social media whiz kid.
And - as I've said so many times before - the most important asset you have in your business is your list of contacts. Your list of people who are willing to hear from you.
But there's even more to it than that.
Baratunde says that there's something more intimate about email. Whereas social media expects you to "cough out a thought" in 140 characters (or sneeze a political ideology, as he says), email allows you to be more expansive. And that means you can connect more.
Because when you connect more, you build stronger relationships with people.
Perry Marshall, who is an enormously successful marketer -primarily using email - describes the inbox as a very intimate space.
I think he's right. And it's why I continue to advocate email (and print) newsletters as effective ways to build deep, long-lasting relationships with your clients.
That's not to say that social media doesn't have a place (you can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn too!). Just that it's smart to remember the value of traditional print and email newsletters.
After all, you're going to live longer than Facebook, right?