I came across an article recently that asked the question whether a website or a Facebook page was the best vehicle for an author to spread the word about his/her books. Here's an interesting comparison:
1998. You're a new writer and you want to establish a permanent residency online. Which would be wiser: Having your own site at your own domain, or putting up a site at GeoCities?
It's 2001, same drill: Which is wiser: Having your own domain, or creating a site on AOL servers?
2003: Your own domain, or a Friendster page?
2007: Your own domain, or a MySpace page?
And now it's 2011 and the choice is one's own domain or a page on Facebook.
The point is that social media are transient and fall in and out of favor whereas a website is for ever.
I only partially agree with this. To my mind many websites become outdated because their owners fail to update them. However websites are also a good place to display information that is relatively static such as the author's name, background etc. So having long intervals between updates is not so much of an issue.
Social media, on the other hand, perform a different purpose - that of keeping followers and fans updated with what is happening right now, like new books coming out, what the author is working on and so on. So it's not a straight comparison.
Normally if you want to know more about a person you would look for their website. It stands to reason that any author worth his salt should have one. So why haven't I got one yet? Em, I'm working on that...