One of my facebook friends, Elizabeth, said she created a hard-copy journal full of status updates she’d posted about her kids. One by one, she copied status updates to a word processor, and printed them.
It probably took quite a bit of time to create the journal. She also said that it had gone un-touched for more than a year. A lot can happen in a year. And if she doesn’t update her journal, her kids may not be able to find that missing info down the road.
Having kids of my own, her hard-copy journal comments made me realize that good old-fashioned “baby books” are dead. Sometime between 2004 and 2008, they were completely taken over by social media.
I vividly remember being a little kid, sitting with my mother, looking through my baby book. My first words. The date I got my first tooth. Comments about the Easter Bunny, and so on.
These days, the comments about our kids that would have traditionally gone into a baby book or journal are now being posted online… mostly on facebook.
Over the years, facebook has attempted to save our special stories through Timelines and Life Events. But at the end of the day, that just doesn’t suffice. Especially when you’re 40 years old, family is sitting around the table, and you want to flip through old memories.
Elizabeth asked, “What if one day I decide to cancel my facebook account?” Good question! Or what if they go out of business. Or they are taken over by terrorists. Whatever. Either way, you’ll lose the status updates and pics of your kids. Gone. All gone. Forever.
Luckily, facebook offers a solution. You can download your entire account. Depending on your level of usage, it could be a big file, including your posts, photos, videos, messages, chats, profile, etc.
Once you’ve got the file, a good idea would be to back it up on an external thumb drive, or in the cloud via Dropbox, Google Drive, Carbonite, etc…
With the contents in-hand, you can now search (CNTL-F) for your kids’ names. Easily find the best posts, and use them in your hard-copy journal or modern-day baby book!
UPDATE: My download file was just shy of 600MB. I became a facebook member in fall 2008 and I use it moderately. The zip file opens to show an easy set of folders and a basic INDEX.HTML file opens with your default browser.
The INDEX file works like any other web page and has an easy-to-use navigation. To see your status updates, and all other items on your Wall, click on Wall. Then simply click CNTRL-F on a PC or Command-F on a Mac to perform a keyword search.