Posterous, the micro blog and social network acquired by Twitter, will be shutting down on April 30.
The announcement was posted by CEO and Founder Sachin Agarwal on the official Posterous wall. He stated that since being acquired, they had continued to make it easier for people to share their thoughts and images, and that they will now do that 100% via Twitter.
Posterous started in 2008 and currently boasts about 4 million users. When the platform was acquired by Twitter last year, Agarwal stated that they would provide users with plenty of notice if there were going to be any major changes. Turns out those statements were rather prophetic.
Fortunately, long-time Posterous users aren't completely without options. Posterous is providing a mechanism to backup and download all of your content at once, and you have a couple of months to go through old posts if you want to be more selective.
Alternatively, WordPressand Squarespace have built in importers that users can utilize to grab all their old posts and migrate.
Recently, an increasing number of content marketers have recommended using social networks as their website and blogging platform. I am talking about using a FacebookPage instead of a website, or using Google+for all your blog posts. Proponents have argued that these networks are cost-effective and provide so many more built-in features and easy access to readers. And all of those points are true.
However, the most critical point is that as social network users, we do not own our content.
If your account is deactivated or, as with Posterous, the entire network shuts down, you'll lose everything. And it's not as though Posterous is an exception. Maybe you've heard of Google Buzz? Or perhaps you've read about the MySpacerebirth, but indications are that the New MySpace won't be bringing with it any of the posts or content from the Old MySpace.
Businesses should always invest in a comprehensive website, and then use whatever social networks and other services they can find that will help promote the business and engage other people. Do not depend on any single network, and definitely don't leave your unique content on someone else's platform. We've recommended using tools like SocialSafe to make sure all your posts and content are saved, just in case.
If you're a current Posterous user, I'd love to hear from you. Were you shocked by this news or did you see it coming? Will you be switching to a different platform?
"So long, and thanks for all the fish."