As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Google Plus being discontinued, I should note that you should be regularly doing backups of all your social media content anyway. Most of them will provide easily accessible backup tools, but probably they have to be accessed via a web browser. Here are the relevant pages for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. (And be wary of sites like Quora that don’t have a direct backup option.)
I’m not saying these services are going to fail and shut down mind you (though that’s a disinct possibility with all the controversy these days). But there’s a variety of other reasons why regularly backing up your data is a good idea:
- these services may decide to ban you or remove some of your content for some reason
- your account might get hacked and you lose control of the account
- maybe those services get some new policy that bans certain types of posts and some of your content gets purged (accidentally or not)
- maybe they botch a server migration and lose all your data. (Also, goddammit Yahoo Messenger!)
- it makes it easier for you to quit these services if you ever decide to
- offline backups are easier to search and parse (for whatever reason)
In addition to the above, my personal reason is that I prefer to have control over all the content I create. (Maybe it’s just my pack rat personality.) I’m not claiming my content is fantastic mind you, but it’s a matter of having self-determination. Having it existing only on another person’s server means all those bits may be lost at the whim of another party. Ideally I’d have a backup of my social media content on a server that I control (in addition to on my own computers). Perhaps in the future I may consider importing all those social media posts and back-importing them into this blog even.
I personally try to backup my social media stuff maybe every three months or so, that seems a reasonable rate. That way, my own history belongs to me.