Is it better to have a single device or application that performs many functions well, or multiple devices or applications that do a particular function best? In other words, you can have an IPhone OR a cell phone, digital camera, calculator, MP3 player, and GPS device. I got to contemplating how a similar phenomenon plays out on a personal website and more broadly with your personal branding efforts. Is a personal website enough? How do you decide which social media profiles to participate in? When should content overlap?
With a personal website, there are some clear advantages in using already established web services. Here are two examples. YouTube does an exceptional job handling video. It verifies copyright privilege, distinguishes content for a mature audience, and manages a variety of different video file types. In fact, w3schools.com (the best HTML reference) suggests using their video tags in HTML5. (Also worth considering, if you get enough traffic, you get paid for the number of hits to your video.) Google analytics is a powerful tool to understand website traffic. It is a simple, yet robust platform.
The benefits in using specialized applications are twofold: they are the best thing out there and will be continually updated to remain the best thing out there (by incorporating the latest technologies and adding new functionality). As a developer, it is refreshing to not worry about continually updating something that is not the focal point of the service. For example, it is possible to feed a script to Google Maps and rely on Google to provide the best possible mapping interface.
It becomes tricky as you decide what platforms to use and how you choose to use them. No matter how efficient you are collectively, there will be overlaps. Referring to the example above, say a personal website acts like the IPhone – a single platform with your multi-dimensional resume, photo galleries, a blog, etc. This substitutes the need for Instagram or Flickr and WordPress or Tumblr accounts and supplements a LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook profile. There are benefits in having your content and functionality ‘all under one hood’.
- Content is altogether. It is easier for viewers to find.
- Content is integrated. This adds dimensions/layers and makes it searchable.
- Content is managed and administered in one central console.
- A single service might cost less than multiple services.
The way I use a personal website with my social media profiles is to take advantage of what the social media application does best and wherever possible, link back to my personal website. For LinkedIn, I publish a barebone resume, mission statement, and list of skills. There is a link to my personal website, which I really want a recruiter, colleague, or client to click on when viewing the profile. I also publish my skill set in Facebook and Google+. Why? Because skills are highly searchable, I want to provide the right keywords for effective searches on each of the networks; skill sets are one of your most valuable commodities. Regarding the use of many applications, I prefer having everything in one place, though, see the attractiveness of mobile applications – they are quick and direct (surprisingly, managing applications that perform particular tasks seems to save time). Going forward, mobile applications should integrate with your personal website.