Social Media is all about this minute, hour or day and all the tools we usually use, whether to post messages or review what others are saying, our tools are focussed on the real time feed. But what happens when today becomes yesterday, last week, last month, last year? Is there value in our social history and if so what should we do about it?
From a business perspective, there is one overriding issue why the past matters – compliance. There are various industry specific rules, and wider Government rules wherever you work, that require businesses to have a record of any public pronouncements. Social Media is just that – a public pronouncement – so we should all keep records of everything we say. But is there more to our history than just a compliance issue?
I believe there is. I use a tool called SocialSafe (www.socialsafe.net) to provide me with a complete backup of my Facebook, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts (it also supports Instagram, but that’s not a social network I use). There are other service providers such as Backupify but none have the scope of coverage of Socialsafe, nor the comprehensive user interface to review your data.
With SocialSafe I can search for any subject that I may have talked about or that was mentioned in any conversations I was part of. This has been invaluable on many occasions when someone I know asks me a question I’ve answered before, or raises a point that I recall had relevance to something else. Being able to search back years and find that specific reference to a blog post, web page or something else with the right answer or helpful material is a huge help. In this way of Socialsafe providing me my social history, is just like Outlook providing my email history. WIth Outlook I can search all my old emails, across multiple accounts – I can’t do this for social media using services such as Twitter and Facebook directly, but I can if I have my complete history at hand.
However, history also gives me context. I can see how things vary over time, when people followed me or unfollowed me, who I have influenced and when and so much more. Again using Socialsafe I can export any of my social history from way back when to now to a common CSV format which I can analyse in Excel or other tools. For example I like to look at my follower counts over time and see when I get sudden increases or dwells (hopefully not dips) and think about what triggered these so I can learn moving forward. Here is an example for one of my accounts – each data point is when SocialSafe creates a backup:
These thoughts only scratch the surface of what having your complete social history available allows you to do. What do you consider important and why? – please let us know in the comments below.