If you’ve been anywhere near the internet or Facebook over the last few days, you will most likely have seen or read the story about Mark Zuckerberg closing down Facebook on March 15 of this year. He is reported as saying “the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness”. Hmm, really? It’s ruined his life to the tune of an estimated personal worth upwards of $7bn… What a hardship. My heart bleeds. Of course money can’t buy you happiness, but it can certainly make life a lot easier for you.
So forgetting the fact that poor old Mr Zuckerberg’s life has been ruined by the enormous wealth he has accrued due to the online endeavours of people like you and me, what does this mean for the world we have created for ourselves over the last six years? Since everything we put on Facebook is hosted and maintained by another party, we essentially don’t have any control over where it will eventually end up. If Facebook – or any other social network such as Twitter or MySpace for that matter - were to just suddenly close down, we’d no longer have access to our photos, wall postings, friend lists, comments and so on. This is the danger when you place all of your content in the hands of one person or organisation – if they drop the ball, it is essentially your ball that they are dropping, and there is nothing you can really do to stop them.
What you can do however, is take measures on your part to ensure that even if Facebook disappears as a format, you can still have access to the content on your own computer. There are several different programmes available that give you a means of doing this, and with SocialSafe, you can easily and quickly back up your profile, photos (both uploaded by yourself and friends’ photos that you have been tagged in), wall posts, comments and your friend list. All of this is then viewable in the SocialSafe programme itself, where you can leaf through your content whilst being offline, and also view your activity through an easy to navigate diary.
But it must be said that the reports that Facebook will be shutting down on March 15th 2011 have been debunked as a hoax, with official confirmation from Facebook Director of Corporate Communications Larry Yu that the rumor is false. So this is an instance of someone in cyberspace crying wolf. It is bound to happen again. And again. But if Facebook were to ever be closing down, there would be countless people who didn’t believe it until it was too late. So best to be on the safe side, and back up your content while you still can.