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Hughes blog post: Back it up – the importance of social media record keeping

23 January 2013    

More than ten years ago, I kept an online journal. It was so long ago, that it wasn’t even called a “blog” in those days! I put a lot of effort into writing about my thoughts, ideas and experiences, over a period of about 18 months.

Then one day, it was gone. I went to login to my account, and I was greeted by a note. “Sorry!” it cheerfully said. The note went onto explain that the owner of the site had somehow managed to lose everything, due to a server issue. All of the content, thousands of people’s blog posts and journal entries, were irrecoverable.

Being a naïve 19 year old, using the Internet for five years and never encountering this problem before, I hadn’t thought to back up my journal entries using Word or a similar offline program. Unthinkable, now.

And yet, users of social networks still trust these networks to keep their precious content safe for years.

There was a case a couple of years ago when Flickr accidentally deleted thousands of a user’s photos - thankfully now restored. While this case was a high profile example, there are many cases of users’ data going missing, such as when smartphone apps shut down.

So, what to do?

Back up your online content. Do it now. Check your Facebook account and back up all your data (go to “Account Settings” and click “Download a copy of your Facebook data”). Don’t forget Instagram, Flickr, WordPress, Blogger, the list goes on. For platforms like Twitter you may need to manually back up all your data – Twitter is rolling out a “download my Twitter history” option but it’s currently only available for selected users. It may be worth checking back sporadically to see if the option is available to you to save manual backing up.

If you manage social networks on behalf of an organisation, make sure you include data back up and record keeping as part of your social media policy – who will be responsible for this task, how will it be done, and how often? Those who manage accounts on behalf of Government agencies may be required to keep this information as part of the State Records Act. To avoid anything untoward happening with your online data, make sure you have a system for backing it up.

What better way to show how far you’ve come with social media?!

Hughes PR can help you manage your social media record keeping, as well as your social media network management, digital media strategies and policies. Contact us for more information or to discuss your requirements.

- Kate Potter