In May, I participated in a webinar hosted by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies that focused on creative technology strategies for state arts agencies. One of the issues that came up during the Q & A was backing up communications from social media platforms. As entities within state government, many state arts agencies are required by law to retain copies of their communications. But how do you archive communications that take place on social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook? Over the past two months, I have been using a potential solution. Backupify provides daily online backup for your social media and software-as-a-service data. They are the only online backup and storage provider to seamlessly back user data to the Amazon S3 cloud with its strong security and data duplication policy.
So here are the pros and cons of my experience with Backupify...
- Backupify provides a centralized backup location for a number of online services, including: Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, WordPress, Basecamp, Gmail, and many more.
- Businesses utilizing Google Apps can back up all of their data at relatively low cost.
- Quick and easy setup.
- With the free account, you are able to backup one account per online service. The premium account level backs up an unlimited number of accounts per service for just under $60/year.
- Users are able to choose whether their accounts are backed up daily or weekly.
- Users are also able to opt for a daily email notification of backups, weekly email notification, or no email notification.
- The system maintains a backup history identifying when accounts were backed up, whether or not the backups were successful, and how many files were backed up per online service account.
- There is no standardized format for backups because the backup file type is determined by the service providers. For example:
- Facebook photos are backed up on the site as photo files, but other Facebook elements (friends, statuses, links, notes, and events) are stored as an XML (Extensible Markup Language) file - which I view using Microsoft Excel.
- For Twitter accounts, users can download a PDF workbook containing the following data: profile, updates, received direct messages, sent direct messages, favorites, and mentions. Users may also download XML files for each of those individual data pieces as well as an XML file containing information about the user's Twitter followers.
- WordPress blogs and websites are backed up as a MySQL database in the sql.gz format.
- Currently, users may backup their personal Facebook profiles but not fan pages. I asked Backupify CEO Rob May if there are plans to add backing up Facebook fan pages to the service's offerings. He informed me that they are working with Facebook on this functionality over the next two weeks, so this option should be available in the very near future.
My personal experience with Backupify over the past two months has been a very positive one. Once the service adds the capacity to backup Facebook fan pages, it will be even more useful for arts organizations and governmental agencies using social media.