Larry BraunerLast week, in Whether Hackers from Anonymous Bring Down Facebook on November 5 as Threatened or Not, I suggested that you find ways to reduce your risk of loss should Facebook go away.

I asked you, “How can you protect your interests by diverting or diversifying your networking and marketing efforts starting right now?”

Some readers recommended that we back up our data, but I pointed out that we can not back up our relationships like pictures or profiles.

Sal made a couple of very good points:
Facebook

  1. “I think there is no real way to mitigate completely against the damage that losing Facebook would mean, any more than you could mitigate against losing Google.”
  2.  ”On the Internet, you always have to see it coming and mitigate against it by having as many, diverse, independent sources of prospective customers as possible.”

While I agree completely with Sal’s remarks, I ask, how can we at least partially mitigate against the damage? What practical measures we can take?

Just as an example, we might start groups on LinkedIn and invite fellow Facebook group members to join these groups. Unfortunately, LinkedIn groups don’t have the same functionality as Facebook groups, and not all of our fellow Facebook group members will join us on LinkedIn, but this is nevertheless a practical partial solution.

We might instead choose a Ning social network or a Ning group within a particular Ning social network, etc. You get the idea.

Now it’s your turn again. What are your ideas? I would like to hear them, and I’ll share mine.

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9 Responses to “Can You Back Up Facebook Relationships?”

  1. Alice Coaxum on August 21st, 2011 11:17 pm

    While I agree that there is no way to insure we keep in touch with all of our Facebook contacts in the event the site is taken down by hacker, but I do think trying some options like inviting to others to ning is a good partial solution.

  2. Morgan Mandel on August 21st, 2011 11:42 pm

    Maybe collect as many of their emails as possible and invite them on Google Plus, or egroups.

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Michelle Shaeffer on August 22nd, 2011 1:01 am

    Hi Larry, I agree that planning and taking practical steps towards staying connected outside of Facebook (or any one social network) is important. Reminds me of a post I came across at CopyBlogger recently: http://www.copyblogger.com/digital-sharecropping/

    Some of the things I do:
    * regularly invite my Facebook fans and group connections to connect with me on Twitter/LinkedIn/etc
    * regularly post on my fan pages with offers for things that get my fans onto my own mailing lists and rss feeds so I can stay in touch

    Some things I don’t do:
    * rely solely on the popular Facebook comment system for my blog (if Facebook goes down or changes it’s system, I risk losing all those comments)
    * put important content only on Facebook and trust it to stay there (for example, instead of planning an event and using the Facebook invite system exclusively I’d share the event there but build a list of attendees in my own system as well and make sure any promo copy I put on Facebook I’ve also got saved somewhere else)

    I also use Backupify for Facebook data (https://www.backupify.com/tour/details/facebook)

  4. The Social Web Analyst on August 22nd, 2011 6:08 am

    Yahoo! allows you to import Facebook contacts to your Yahoo Address Book. From there, you can send an email to them, asking them to join you on an alternative social network, or ask your contacts what other social networks they are already a member of, so that you may join them there.

  5. Dave Lucas on August 22nd, 2011 1:04 pm

    Hi Larry! I was on Google+ the other day (I confess I’m still getting my feet wet) and couldn’t help but notice a simple similarity to the way Facebook is laid out. I wished to myself that I could somehow “replant” my facebook contacts, followers and friends into the G+ client.

    I’ve been online since 1993 and one thing I’ve learned is the value not only of back-ups, but of using a variety of services. I always try something once, and if I like it, search for a similar service and sign up for or join that one too, so that in case one goes dark I have the other.

    I’m on LinkedIn but at this time I’m not using it as effectively as I might in the future — keep in mind I was on twitter so long (signed up when it first began) that I forgot I had an account until I went to sign up for what I thought was the first time, only to get pleasantly surprised!

    Your advice is always good, Larry! Blog On!

  6. Amelia @ International Business on August 24th, 2011 11:21 am

    Well, there’s Meetup.com, which I think has handy and very functional tools for niche or dedicated groups.

    Perhaps it’s also time to be a little more persuasive and convince followers to sign up to your mailing list, if they haven’t done it yet.

    But seriously, I believe it’s an empty threat. Otherwise, they–whoever they are–should have kept it a secret.

  7. Otakore Literantadodist on August 25th, 2011 7:58 pm

    The original video about the hacking threat was gone. And there’s no found announcement from the Anonymous Group’s Twitter and blog site. They say it’s fake but I can’t think it’s fake because they are anonymous. I can’t say who they really are.

    Anyway, going to your topic - traditionally, we can just have each others’ email addresses so we can keep in touch. ^_^

  8. Larry Brauner on August 28th, 2011 7:33 pm

    I thank you all for your comments.

    I’d like to pick up on the remark of @The Social Web Analyst:

    “Yahoo! allows you to import Facebook contacts to your Yahoo Address Book. From there, you can send an email to them, asking them to join you on an alternative social network, or ask your contacts what other social networks they are already a member of, so that you may join them there.”

    Not wanting to wait for Facebook to go down and for it to be too late, I decided to try importing my Facebook friends into Yahoo right away. 2,200 out of 3,400 successfully imported. I’m guessing that the other 1,200 had Facebook privacy settings that blocked their emails, even from their friends.

    I imported them into a new Yahoo account and have been required to wait 14 days before exporting them.

    Next, at the end of the 14 days, I’m going to export them from Yahoo and import them into my contact manager. I use an email service called Green Wave Email Marketing to manage and email to my contacts. The service is run by my old high school buddy, David Alexander. It lets me add contacts without them having to opt in.

    I will then use Green Wave as a supplementary means of communicating with my Facebook friends.

    If you have connections on LinkedIn, Viadeo and many other business networking sites, you can download their contact information directly and add them into your contact manager.

    It’s prudent to download your connections frequently from social websites that permit doing so as a minimal form of backup.

    @Michelle Shaeffer I’ll have to see if Backupify can help me access the emails of my Facebook page fans.

  9. darren on October 9th, 2011 7:43 am

    Just thinking about the possibiity of this happening is getting me so stressed. Anyway, I think The Social Web Analyst’s suggestion is the way to go. If ever some contacts get lost during the transfer (or those whose settings don’t allow so), then perhaps I should maybe just let it go. Will check out Green Wave Email Marketing.

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