Backing up your social media

I’m active across several social media sites and was interested in backing up my content.  Although I was primarily interested in the photographs (especially the ones sent from a phone or work where I might not have access to the originals) I was also interested to see just what I could back up.It’s worth mentioning that I use Carbonite backup so anything that I backup to my hard disk will later be copied onto their backup servers – so I always have an offsite backup.  If you want to sign up to Carbonite fill in the contact me form and I’ll refer you – you get an extra free month of service.Whilst the methods listed below are not the only ones available, I chose them because they were the cheapest/best for me.FacebookI chose to use SocialSafe which is an Adobe Air program that you run on your own PC.  It cost me £1.99 (or $2.99 if you are in the US) and backs up your friends, profile, photos and wall.  You also use the software to navigate your backups (the actual files of which are hidden from the user).  The interface is slick and many of the windows are transparent (you actually see my NASA wallpaper through them on the screenshots).  You can choose to navigate your whole backup or just the changes since you backed up last time.

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Remember Facebook downsize your photographs so the ones you download from the site won’t be of the same quality as the ones you uploaded.TwitterTwitter is text based (and 140 characters per tweet at that) so backups won’t take up much space.  I chose to use a free account on Backupify which gives you 2Gb of storage and lets you backup one account.  Because it uses Amazon S3 storage their prices are a little steep for paid accounts (10Gb for $40!) but given the ease of use and extensive feature set, some users may opt to pay for a premium account and use it for other services too.Connecting to Twitter was quick and easy, and my PDF archive had two years worth of Tweets in! (which I downloaded and kept a local copy of).

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FlickrDownloading my images from Flickr (all 1517 of them) was a simple process which I left running overnight.  I used a free piece of software called Downloadr which I linked to my Flickr account so it could access my private albums.  Backing up my entire photostream was simple, although there are fewer options for incremental backups.  Downloaded images are thrown together in a single folder, and some of the Flickr metadata associated with each photo is lost including geodata (on the test sample I checked some included geodata but the coordinates were wrong).  The comments and tags are preserved but hidden in the metadata of the jpg files you download.

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PicasaWebPerhaps the easiest of all – Google provides the tools (most likely the software you used to upload them) in the form of Google Picasa.  You can also use this for incremental backup (for example if you are sending pictures from your mobile) because Picasa doesn’t download photos already on your PC.

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There you have it – social media backup in minutes!  Leave me a comment if you give it a try

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