October 16, 2009

Church of Backup, Revisited

I've written before about the importance of backing up your stuff. It's boring, but vital. (Anyone who has lost their stuff can wave their hands and give me an Amen.)

And if you're still not a member in good standing of the Church of Backup, you might consider that old grade-school standby, the buddy system. It's been working pretty well for my dad and me. (Hi Dad!)

Meanwhile, more and more of my life is lived / played out online, the questions about backup become more urgent.

At about my 2,000th tweet I realized that I was starting to lose track of things that I'd tweeted. I could remember that I'd tweeted out a link, but not who it had come from, or whether I'd also bookmarked it. Which is why I was so happy when Storytlr came along. Dead simple and super helpful; I instantly gained the ability to search through all my tweets with ease. Today a new online friend told me the sad news that Storytlr will be going offline at the end of the year. Phooey!

All of which raises the point... when you entrust your data to someone else, you're at risk. Other people can lose or inadvertently mangle your data, or they can simply go out of business. Services like Twitter that quickly become a staple of our online lives give us the opportunity to develop a whole new set of contacts... but do we have them? Or does Twitter?

One day this summer I was working on a presentation on my Google Docs account, when suddenly I was blacklisted. Two days before I was to present. I couldn't get into Google Docs at all, and had no idea why. My only recourse was to fill out the relevant form and wait while frantically querying my network and discovering a surprising number of folks who said, "Yeah, that happened to me once." A day or so later, just as mysteriously as it had gone black, my account was whitelisted again and I was ready to go. But it was a terrible day.

Is this where Backupify might come in? Backupify is a service that is expressly designed to help us backup our online accounts. Twitter, Wordpress, Facebook, GMail, Google Docs, and a bunch more services are covered... the basic plan includes Twitter backup at no cost. More services and more space will result in a fee that is likely to seem like the best investment you've ever made the first time some of your stuff drops into a black hole.

I've signed up, but I don't think a backup has occurred yet; I am eager to see the service in action! (And by posting about it, I hope that I've just qualified for a premium account.) I never expected to be following hundreds of folks on Twitter (or to have hundreds of them following me), or to Tweet out hundreds of links, but I would be crushed to lose all that information, because so much of it was about serendipity... how would I ever re-create it?

How about you? What could YOU not afford to lose? And what are you doing about it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there #1,
Still using my Wstrn Dgtl Passport + 'silverkeeper' as recommended by you. Works great as I only update the content 1x/mo. Takes 2-3 min! Haven't yet use the Mgmt functions in silverkeeper. Just dumping. Thanks for the help. Dad