During a SXSW panel session on social customer service, Southwest Airlines’ Brooks Thomas made a somewhat passing comment about his company’s digital approach that struck a chord with me.

Brooks characterized the space Southwest has staked out on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as ‘rented’ and said the company focuses the bulk of its efforts on creating content for its corporate blog—a property it fully owns. Brooks and his team then determine where and how to syndicate that content out through third-party networks.  

What Southwest smartly recognizes is that any of the social media tools a nd platforms could go away tomorrow (Don’t think so? See: Friendster, MySpace, Delicious, Google Reader, etc.) or they could decide to dramatically change the rules of engagement for users or brands.

As the digerati endlessly talk up the app or platform of the week, blogs have certainly lost some of their early sizzle. However, with the content marketing movement in full swing and smart brands like Southwest recognizing the value of owning their own content destiny, a blogging renaissance may soon be in the offing.

Watch the video below for more from Brooks on the rented vs. owned approach to digital content.