What I don’t quite understand is why so many people, who really should know better, use them. These media sharing tools provide free hosting of your media, which is great, but with blogging platforms such as WordPress that let you store and share all your photos, music etc. on your own site, and let you benefit from all the things controlling your own site lets you benefit from…why use them?
One reason might be that actually setting up a WordPress.org (or other self-hosted publishing platform) blog isn’t all that straight forward for complete newbies. But then there’s obviously WordPress.com, and plenty of other hosted blogging platforms, that will have you up and running in no time. If you ever want to move off any of them, they should all provide a quick and easy way to export your all your posts and files.
The other reason might be that actually posting content to your WordPress blog can be a pain in the ass. With Twitpic and alike, you can use various Twitter clients and can even just email photos in to share them on Twitter. But thanks to a service which I’m frankly sick of promoting, called Posterous, you can email photos/audio/video/documents to your WordPress blog and then thanks to plugins from the likes of Ping.fm and others, tweet, post to facebook, friendfeed (and many many others) as soon as the post is published.
Using this method. You’ll have complete control of the media, it’s on your site forever – no matter what startup gets acquired. It’s easily searchable. You have more ways and places to share the media. You’ll have all your own personal branding on the site because it’s all your design. You can add whatever you want around the media your sharing (your other social site links, announcements, I guess even ads). Of course, thanks to the mass of plugins available, you’ll also be able to choose what URL shorteners you want to use (which does matter), analytics tools, and I could go on.
My point being is. Whether you’ve come to accept it or not, this really is the age of personal branding. Every time you share a photo, video, song you enjoy, whatever – you’re adding to people’s perceptions of what you are like as a person. Why use another service when with hardly any extra effort, you can control where, when and how your media – and in turn, you – is shared and portrayed.