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Should You Be Archiving Your Social Media Data?




Imagine throwing all of your company’s hard copy files off the roof of twenty-story building in Manhattan. Tax returns, meeting notes, personnel files, all of it, gone with the wind.

That’s the brick and mortar version of the business data that’s currently speeding along the social media super highway. From public Twitter Tweets to private Facebook messages more and more of our daily exchanges are happening over the Internet and it means we’re losing track.

Sure, you probably don’t set out to send formal communications through Facebook but you’re on the site and Susan’s on the site, so why not just ping her chat box and let her know that deadline was moved up to Tuesday? And remember that customer complaint on Twitter? The one where you promised the guy a replacement part overnight? Forgot about him, didn’t you?

Web 2.0 makes it easy for us to pass information along quickly any time of the day or night. There’s no more 9 to 5, not when the Internet is always on. But this ease of communication can come with a high price tag. We live in a litigious world and if you get sued because of something posted on Facebook, you’ll need those posts to defend yourself in court.

The New York Times recently posted an article called Tools to Help Companies Manage Their Social Media.” In it, they talk with experts about social media record keeping, the reasons for doing it and the means behind it. Everyone agrees that it’s not a simple task but it’s got to be done. For some companies, archiving communication is a legal requirement. For others, it’s just good business.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, it’s time to put your virtual paperwork in order along with the stuff made from trees. Worst case scenario, if you see trouble brewing on one of your social media channels or a great idea simmering below the surface, take a screen shot. Those few extra seconds could save you a lot of time and aggravation down the line.

What do you think? Do you archive your social media communications?

  • http://www.beautybusinessblueprint.com/ Robert Samuel

    Great article Cynthia. I archive my social media data to a certain point. I don’t go back any further than 6 months. I archive it through Delicious. :-)

  • http://www.clearseo.co.uk Gareth Rees

    Hi Cynthia. You’re right that your social media activities should be taken as seriously as your tax returns and alike. Social media needs a huge investment of time, so when you don’t plan, or recognise the reasons for your using it, you may be wasting your time.

  • http://www.arkovi.com Blane Warrene

    Social media archiving is certainly a new term to the lexicon in 2010 as business began to grasp that they needed not only, as noted in this piece, to capture content for regulatory or legal purposes, but also to curate their history.

    An archive is so much more than a CYA tool. It enables a single view into the content footprint you are spreading across social networks and web properties. Not too mention the majority of those content destinations do not guarantee the life of your content.

    Additionally – stepping back and seeing your content in this fresh view allows for you to find ways to repurpose content or generate trends and metrics for new development.

    Finally – it allows for a monitoring view – who has furthered your content and how are they using it.

    • Cynthia

      Blane,

      Good points all around. I don’t think the majority of social media marketers are taking the effort seriously enough to put in the extra time to review what they’ve done. It feels so transient, Tweet today, gone tomorrow, but going back and looking at all of your Facebook posts laid out end to end would definitely give you a different outlook.

      If you have multiple people working on the same social media accounts, then reviewing past data is even more vital.

  • http://www.whitevector.com/ Mikko Rummukainen

    Thanks for throwing the idea at us, Cynthia! This is one of those things that can be so obvious that it actually ends up getting overlooked. It indeed is a bit treacherous for the mind to assume that ‘all of those FB posts and random tweets will always be there’. They will, but with a lot of content and feedback, it can get really confusing really quickly.

    The way I see it, as long as we are talking about social media and how to archive that part of marketing communication, I would suggest looking into social media monitoring solutions. The suppliers themselves do hold on to archives (e.g. ours is 8 months), and can start tracking almost any source available openly. Having a well-built social media monitoring account can really help to organise your social media content in one place.