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twitter_128If you’ve been following the news on Twitter overnight, you’ll know that human error led to a mass suspension of 1000s of accounts. This meant that those affected could not send updates, connect with their followers, or do anything on the site until their access was restored.

While my account wasn’t impacted, I think there are some important lessons to think about from this event:

1) Never rely on just one social media site for your marketing efforts. We all have favorite social media sites, and we tend to frequent the same places over and over again. We like what we like, and we are creatures of habit. The problem with relying too heavily on one site is that if it goes down (or your account gets taken down), you have built your business on a shaky foundation. Never rely on an external site as a mainstay to run your business.

2) Technology is only as good as the humans running it. Twitter reports that it was human error which led to the mass banning. This is a good reminder that technology has its limits- and we shouldn’t overvalue what technology can do for us. If you’re only using social media as a push marketing method, you are putting yourself at the mercy of technology. If your “other controlled” distribution channels go away, you have no way to get your message out.

3) You need to have a central hub for your business building efforts. Ideally, this would be your own self-hosted blog. The goal of all social media is to create conversations, and try and lead people back to your central hub. If you overbuild on sites you don’t control, your effort can be lost or wasted. Companies lose funding, sites are abandoned, databases become corrupted.

My friend and colleague Denise Wakeman offers a great article on Why Blog When You’ve Got Facebook (read this!), and she makes some really great points about how you need to create a multi-focused social media platform in order to get the most from your social media marketing efforts.

The final lesson, I think, is that social media is an evolving space, and if you’re following the rules of engagement, you should be able to get your account put back in good standing, simply by pointing out that you weren’t doing anything wrong in the first place.