Dec 11

Archiving your social media output

My end of the year personal project is to gather as much of my social output from 2011 as possible into one format. My goal is to try to get facebook status updates, tweets, personal photos, and blog entries in some semblance of chronological order and printed in a book. It sounds like a lot of work but I am kind of excited to make it happen.


As I find ways to integrate this info, I’ll keep this post updated.



Go to Account Settings and choose “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” It took an hour or so for FB to email me a link, but then I received an archive with all of my photos, videos, friends, and an HTML page with my wall posts (including friends’ comments!).

Now I need to figure out how to convert the HTML page of my wall into a useful table or database and remove repetitive or unnecessary information (my full name, timestamps, etc).


If all I wanted for this project was facebook status updates, I’d probably opt to have this person make a book for 2010 and 2011. Like This book

There’s also a paid service (<$10) to get all of your twitter and facebook updates in a calendar format called social safe. It looks interesting.



I’m having a problem with this one since Twitter’s API limits what outside applications can do with tweets, especially from protected accounts. I am still in research mode for a way to download all of my tweets into a database or spreadsheet. Since my account is set to private, most of the free applications for backing up your tweets do not work for locked accounts.


Side note: I am trying to delete all of the tweets from an old account so I can make it a publicly accessible business account. (Deleting the account would be an easy way to delete the info, but then I would lose all of the contacts I have built up through the years.) I’ve been trying to use twitwipe but receiving consistent error messages and timeouts.


PROBABLY SOLUTION: tweetake is a free on-demand app that will let me backup tweets, direct messages, favorites, etc. into an excel-compatible spreadsheet. Exactly what I was seeking! Right now I keep receiving an error message “Oh no! Twitter is busy and won’t talk to me (error 502). But you may be able to retrieve a partial backup by setting the ‘ignore errors’ option and trying again.”


I can “slurp” all content from a website using Blurb.com booksmart, but this won’t apply for self-hosted wordpress sites. To use that application, I would have to export all of my blog entries into a temporary blogspot blog and then slurp the content. I don’t want to take that many steps.

Here’s an option I started exploring in my blog to book journey, but it costs money and doesn’t seem like it’s editable: Feedfabrik wordpress printing plugin



I do a pretty good job of keeping all of my personal and family photos separate from my business image cache, but I rarely have time to go through and really choose which ones I want to print or display. Starting mid-year I have been trying to upload regularly to facebook to share with friends and family, and in the past month I have gone through to further organize the folders and choose out photos for printing consideration.

After editing this mix of imagery (everything from phone snaps to actual photo shoots) down a couple more times I will make a final organization by renaming everything with the date the photo was taken as the prefix to the filename.  Example: ali003.jpg will become 20111227-ali003.jpg



I’m still deciding which vendor to use to print this book, but always lean toward blurb.com. The right promotion could bias me toward snapfish or shutterfly, but their print quality is SO TERRIBLE I think I will stick with blurb, trusted by photography professionals around the world. Next step is to decide which size book to format, and which date format would be best to use for all of the different social media pieces listed above.

I’m not sure if I will then use indesign or word or excel as a starting place for the bones of the book…




Here’s a site run by a woman who was trying to do this back in 2009. Her philosophy is the same as mine for the project but the means to getting there have changed a lot.  Social Archivist.


Backupify is a free to paid service that backs up your online presence on a regular basis. Looks solid.

FastPencil is a site to self-publish ebooks and find design templates.

Blog2Print looks a little spammy for me, and expensive. And doesn’t seem to offer services for self-hosted blogs.
Feedfabrik / Bookfabrik looks the most promising.

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