Not too long ago, I had a major scare: I went to log into my Twitter account, only to be informed that my page no longer existed. Considering that I rely pretty heavily on Twitter in my work, I had a bit of a panic. After a few minutes, everything was back to working as normal, but it was enough to get me thinking about how important different social-networking sites are to my ability to work online — and how I could back up all the information I have on those sites.
Back in the day, I had a Rolodex packed with information. I made notes that went far beyond a person’s current contact information, like where they had worked in the past. I know I’m not the only one: I know several salesmen who got into major fights when they changed employers over who owned their Rolodex. These days, I rely on LinkedIn for a lot of that kind of information.
Luckily, LinkedIn makes it easy to keep a record of all the contacts you’ve made through the site, as well as back up your own profile. In the event that something happened to my account, I’d be back up and running in no time.
To export your contacts, click on “Contacts.” If you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you’ll see an “Export Connections” link. You can export your contacts as either a .csv file or a .vcf file, which you can easily load into most address book applications. (LinkedIn provides instructions on how to load your contacts for commonly used apps.) You can also save your profile as a PDF by clicking the PDF icon on your Profile page.
Finding a good way to back up your Facebook profile can be something of a problem: Many of the applications that you can use to do so will trigger Facebook’s robot behavior detection systems, marking you as a spammer and losing you your account. So far, SocialSafe seems to be one of the better options. It uses Facebook’s API to access your information safely.
SocialSafe is an inexpensive application, priced at $2.99. It runs on Adobe Air, and will back up your photos (including those not uploaded by you but tagged with your name), your friends and your profile. The main drawback with SocialSafe is that there isn’t an easy way to put that information back into Facebook if something were to happen to your account — you’d have to upload photos and add friends manually.
While there are a few different applications around that will back up your Twitter account, I prefer TweetBackup for a very simple reason: It’s automatic. Once you’ve set up your account, the site runs a daily backup with no action necessary on your part. You also don’t have to download anything or give up your Twitter password, both of which make me feel much better about using an application like this.
TweetBackup doesn’t offer automatic restoration of the data, either, though the site’s developers say that such a feature is in the works. You can only archive 3,200 tweets at a time — but that’s actually a result of Twitter’s policy of maintaining an archive of only 3,200 tweets and removing older tweets.
Do you back up your social media profiles?