Backing up your computer should be old hat. There are many ways to have the information on your computer stored elsewhere, allowing you access to your data if you have a sudden computer failure. But what about the information you have on Facebook?
We post many things on our walls: comments, websites, what we ate for lunch. We put up pictures of ourselves and family members. We post videos as well. Think of Facebook as a modern-day diary of your life. Don’t you want to keep a copy of that diary?
Enter the convenient archive feature on Facebook. You can download the information from your Facebook account. Downloading is easy. Simply click on the gear icon in the upper-right hand corner, and go to Account Settings. In the General Account settings you will see Name, Username, Email, Password, Networks, and Language. But underneath that, in fine print, you will find a link labeled Download a copy of your Facebook data.
Click on that link and you will go to the download page. Enter your password to start the process. As a security measure, an email will be sent to you notifying you that the archive download is being prepared, and to notify Facebook if you haven’t requested the download. Once the archive is ready to download, you will receive a second email. Click the link in that one and the download will happen automatically.
Once you open the zip file, you will see a folder on your desktop called facebook-[yourfacebookname]. Within that you will see some sub-folders and an html filed called “index.html.” Double-clicking the index file will open it up in your browser, and will give you access to all of the material that was downloaded (and stored in the sub-folders). Your profile, contact information, settings and security information will be there. More importantly, you will discover all of the posts you have made to your wall, the photographs and videos you have uploaded, the events you have been invited to, and the messages you have sent.
Unforunately, not everything is downloaded. You won’t find items you’ve shared from other peoples’ walls. And, sadly, you won’t find any of the witty commentary from your friends on your posts.
Even with these drawbacks, it will still be a great way to look back at your activities. When I downloaded my archive I was able to see back in time to the first posts I made back in the summer of 2008 when I first joined Facebook, all the way up through the posts I made this morning.