Three years ago, I moved my blog from my own web site to Typepad because I liked their features and wanted the stability. I was lazy at the time and didn't bother to brand the URL. I could have left it with my personal soundbag.com branding - but did not.
Now, ourfounder.typepad.com is a known entity. This is an issue for continuity. Technorati, Alexa, Compete and other elements of the web track you by your branded URL. The strength of your google juice is also impacted by the longevity, activity and links to your url.
So changing a long-standing URL is no trivial matter.
Add to this the fact that most web sites are gated communities and won't allow you to own your own information - and you end up diluting your personal brand across the Internet. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites take more than your attention.
A while back, I started to re-create soundbag as my personal brand. Using a variety of widgets to bring content back to my main site.
The problem with this is that the content - the searchable elements of my content - do not end up at the soundbag.com site. So the only reason one would ever go there is because of a morbid curiosity about me as a person and not about the content I had generate.
The Jim Benson Information Portal (or J-Bip) just wouldn't be a massive draw. So the actual content needs to be folded into the site.
Some things allow this gracefully:
Typepad will allow me to incorporate the blog into my domain fairly easily. While it's hosted at Typepad, it would be seamless for the user. It would all loo like soundbag.com/blog.
Platial has a very nice widget to allow me to incorporate maps into my web site. I've toyed with the idea of combining Platial and Wordpress to do a nice spatial blog with the content actually resident on my site.
Slightly less gracefully:
RSS feeds will allow me to incorporate content from Yelp, Twitter, and other sites. Allowing, over time, the creation of a fairly massive reservoir of personally generated or relevant content.
At the moment this involves a massive effort on my part to rebrand, redirect and reorient my social media strategy. I have to consider how this changes how I relate to new web sites.
Laurel Papworth beat Seth Godin's Squidoo with a broken bottle today (well, she did it tomorrow for me because of the international date line) because of not dissimilar issues. Laurel wanted more detail on how her personal information was going to be used. Direct statements were not forthcoming. Then she opted out of further mailings - and got a mailing.
Her social media strategy had some key points:
1. If you expect my participation, let me know where my personal info is going.
2. Don't overload me with additional information, I'm filtering as fast as I can already!
Jay Fienberg and I have had many many long detailed conversations about this. Everyone is looking right now to feel some ownership over their own information. No web sites are stepping right up to provide this. Yes, we have RSS feeds - but the goal of the site is to get you to visit.
From a business context, this is a no brainer. Of course they want you to visit the site. From a user perspective, having your online identity largely trapped by a company like Facebook is not a winning scenario.
When Michael Robertson sold MP3.com to C|Net - he gave everyone plenty of notice. It was like "ABANDON SHIP! C|NET GAVE ME MONEY BUT THEY WILL DESTROY ALL WE HAVE WORKED FOR!" Which, of course, is exactly what happened. But, at least, MP3.com gave everyone time to gather up their music and head for other pastures.
That has always left an impression on me. I don't expect that any Web 2.0 company is out there for my benefit. The objects on MP3.com were recordings of music I personally made - there could be no doubt that I was the rightsholder of those objects. Entries made in Facebook or Yelp are entirely different. They specifically are the property of the service provider.
But they feel personal to me. So, when Laurel comes after Seth for her personal information (birthdate, address, etc), the question becomes ... where does "personal information" stop? It's not just web publication because the web is an open channel where anything can be dumped. Including personal IDs.
There is no international standard for personally identifiable information.
All this has been discussed before, of course. And it will be discussed again.
But where it gets personal is ... what is your social media strategy? How far are you willing to go, for what return, and where? What are your limits?