ChrisMaverick dotcom

On Reclaiming My Digital Life


12-5-08 (Photo credit: chrismaverick)

So people (and by people, I mean geeks… not real people) talk a lot about the dangers of Facebook storing all of your content. There’s the obvious privacy issue. But that never meant much to me. I’ve been blogging in some form or another for a decade now. And prior to that I posted my every waking thought to Usenet (often while drunk, because I was young and stupid… drunk). I never really worry about who’s reading what I write, because once I post it, I assume it’s just out there. If I didn’t want people to know something, I wouldn’t write about it. That’s why none of you know all the details of how I managed to shoot Kennedy eleven years before I was born (you can’t prove a thing!).

My bigger problem with Facebook is that it’s kind of a pain in the ass as a blogging site. You say stuff and then it just goes away. Even though everything I’ve ever said is there on my wall if I feel like scrolling long enough, there’s no search so it’s impossible to find anything. I guess maybe this is good for some people since it sort of almost gives you that “it’s out there and now it’s gone” feeling, but as per what I just said, it doesn’t really “go away.” Facebook has it, and you’ll never get it back… it’s kinda like Bangkok.

I’d been posting more and more ranty and commentaryish things lately and having discussions with people over the last year or so and that sort of got me back into the mindset of why I started blogging on Livejournal and later doing the 365days thing on Flickr in the first place. Somewhere along the way, keeping up with all the different platforms just became a bitch and I sort of settled into “blogging” on Facebook. You know, because everyone else was doing it, and if everyone jumped off a bridge, I totally would jump off the bridge. (Hell, I’d second or third in line to jump off the bridge. I mean, someone else would start and then I’d be like “Whoa? we can jump off this bridge?!?! Fuck yeah!”)

Anyway, I decided that even though I wasn’t really expecting Facebook to “go away” and I didn’t give a damn about their privacy issues (not really anyway), I did want to have ready access to all my shit, and I found myself missing Livejournal. And then I realized “you know what, I own my own website that I never really use for anything, why don’t I just start using it?” And if I was going to do that, I thought it’d be nice if I got all my content from all my blogs ever integrated, and I decided to make that my summer project (because back when I was a website designer, my hobby was doing academic research, so now that I’ve retired to become an academic, why not design websites on the side). That’s where my post from yesterday came from where I was re-reading old LJ entires came from.

Now the geeky details. Getting my old Elseworld blog was easy. Because that was MovableType and set up by me in the first place, so minor conversion and boom. Of course, I never used it for much, so it wasn’t all that useful to import. Getting my Livejournal was also quite painless. So as per Meron Langsner‘s content on my FB post where I talked about LJ yesterday, that’s one thing it has over Facebook.

Getting all my Facebook stuff has been a bitch and a half!

GEEKY DETAILS, SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T CARE: If browsing your FB wall is painful, you should trying working your way through a dump of the data. Facebook gives you a tool that promises to let you download all your data. It’s crap. Half the stuff they say is there, isn’t. Notably, all your comments on anything but photos are missing. And the data dump is a poorly formatted mess of HTML, that they clearly made bad on purpose which makes it pretty much useless for importing anywhere else. So, instead I used Chris Finke’s Keyring Social Importer for Facebook, to essentially import my entire FB history into my WP database. This is a little better, except this is literally everything. FB does not distinguish between a post and anything else when you download from them. So not only is every wall post and photo in my data, every comment I have ever made on anyone else’s wall is in that data as well. So is every auto post from any stupid game I’ve ever played. And every time someone else tagged me in a photo. So my WP posts database was packed with crap that I had to manually remove. I still don’t know if I got all of it. What isn’t there are the comments people made on your data. So I guess that’s just lost. *sigh* Meron was right, Livejournal IS better than Facebook.

NON GEEKS CAN START READING AGAIN: So I just spent the last 48 hour manually cleaning up the database. I added titles and fixed images on anything from the last couple months (basically since May, when I decided I was going to do this. I might go back and do more later, but for now I’m tired). So now most of my blogging life ever is integrated into one place. I’m still missing all my 365days entries (a solid 4 years of my life) and that’s my next project to import. I also haven’t imported anything from Google+, because really… who’s paying attention there anyway?

Oh, and everything I post to my blog from this point on, should IN THEORY autopost to FB, and (again IN THEORY) comments on FB, should even propagate back to the blog. That ought to be neat.

So as for all the comments and stuff that I’ve missed over the last seven years of Facebooking… If everyone could please kindly go through and re-comment on everything you’ve ever said, in order so I can recreate it. That’d be great.

I’d also like a pony.


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