“What if Facebook allowed exporting of all content you added and allowed you to take it to WordPress or Posterous etc? How would that change your opinion?” Those questions were asked by Chris Smith as part of the conversation on “Facebook Is Not The Internet, Nor Should It Be.” The question was a part of a sub-discussion about owning your content.
This is a fascinating discussion to follow –
One quick point worth mention is that you can download all of your information from Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/download/?h=3e018dfd1d2a04118e18cd3516659c20
It doesn’t change my opinion.
“Jimmy, I knew this was possible, but I’ve never taken the time to download mine and look at the format it arrives in,” I commented. “I am now awaiting the archive ready email and I’m going to give it a look. It doesn’t change anything for me, relative to this discussion, but I’m interested in seeing how it comes packaged. Thanks for the link.”
I immediately went to Facebook and began the download of my archive. I had seen the link before, but had never taken the time to look at it. My personal archive was a 1.5 gigabyte .zip file. It only took about an hour to download, so it wasn’t painful.
To my surprise, the files were very well organized. The .zip file opens to a folder with an index.html file, a readme.txt file and three folders, html, photos and videos.
I’ve uploaded a version of my facebook files for your inspection. They can also be found by clicking on the Facebook link in the menu above. I’ve simply iframed the html pages into a blog page. I used the Pageview WordPress plugin to execute the iframe, since wordpress doesn’t play well with iframes out of the box. It’s not how I would import this content if I really wanted to do something with it. I’d want the content broken up into many more pages than Facebook provides. But for this experiment it serves it’s purpose.
Facebook did not provide an archive of ALL of my conversations.
As you will see if you click on “Wall” below and scroll down a bit, Facebook only offered the last couple of weeks of status updates and posts to my wall in this archive, from February 4, 2012 to January 17, 2012. All photos, videos, and notes were downloaded, as well as all private messages. It should be noted that the messages were a single, large html file, as were wall posts and videos. Photos albums are all presented on one page, and each album gets it’s own page .
First, I’d like a complete archive. Only giving me access to the last two weeks of my status updates is not a real archive. The great deal of Facebook activity in a personal stream takes place on the wall. Chris’ post that sparked the conversation will be unavailable in his archive two weeks from now, for example. For that reason alone, this is not a true archive.
Second, the while the html files are nice, they aren’t what I’d like to see. I’d like to see a greater breakdown of the html at a minimum. The best of all worlds would be for Facebook to allow us to choose how we’d like the archive, giving us a choice of exporting to popular formats for easy importing into the CMS of our choice.
You can go roam around mine to see what comes in your archive. I’m going to have Steve Zehngut take a look at the archive to determine how long it would take build a plugin for easy import into WordPress, with photos, posts, and videos separated into individual pages for easy navigation, more effective searching and additional comment. I think it’s something that people would appreciate.
Take a look for yourself. What do you think?