We entrust tons of data to social networking sites. Facebook alone is collecting your data at a clip of 500 terabytes a-day.
There’s little chance of these companies losing your data, but they can shut you down in a heartbeat for a variety of reasons. So how do we safeguard the online diary of our lives? The myriad pictures and contacts? By backing up.
Backing up is quick and easy.
Known for turning a simple process or function into something complicated, Facebook has reversed course on this one feature – making a master backup copy of your profile. When logged into your account, go to facebook.com/settings – and click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” That’s it!
What’s in your archive?
– Photos or videos you’ve shared on Facebook
– Your Wall posts, messages and chat conversations
– Your friends’ names and some of their email addresses
At over 200 million tweets per day, it’s no easy easy task to archive the vast Twitter stream, as the Library of Congress is finding out. But many options exist for backing up your own Twitter account, including
TweetBackup, BackUpMyTweets, and TweetGuard. (UPDATE: These services no longer exist since Twitter released a new “Request Your Archive” feature. Access your Twitter settings, then account and scroll down to get the following message: You can request a file containing your information, starting with your first Tweet. A link will be emailed to you when the file is ready to be downloaded.) Of all the platforms, I’m least interested in backing up my Twitter account. I tweet and move on, Twitter amnesia if you will. But if you’re more of a hoarder, go for it.
Like Facebook, Google makes it easy to backup your Google+ photos, posts, and contacts. Use Google Takeout to download your data for Google+ products to your computer, including Picasa Web albums and photos, your Google profile, Google contacts and your stream.
Backing up your LinkedIn contacts is easy. Choose Contacts from the main navigation bar and at the bottom of the screen, click on “Export Connections”, and choose a download format.
After spending lots of time honing your profile, you’ll want to back that up also. The process is quick and easy but only allows for backup to PDF. Click on Profile in the main navigation bar and under the View pull-down menu, choose “Export to PDF.
There’s an app for that
If you’re very active on social media and stressed about losing your personal data, give Backupify a try. It automates backups of your personal Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Google Drive, Flickr and other social media accounts. You get weekly backups and up to 1 GB of storage for three profiles with a free account. Paid accounts offer nightly backups. That seems like overkill.
Some may argue that social media are like conversations that we engage in and move on from, but we’re increasingly using these platform for much more. Avoid data loss by backing up your social media now.