I’ve been using del.icio.us profligately in the last six months or so. It’s a handy way to keep track of things I want to read, and things I want other people to read. But it suddenly occurred to me yesterday that whereas my Firefox bookmarks get backed up along with the rest of my critical data thanks to Karen’s Replicator, I had no backup of my del.icio.us bookmarks.
It turns out that it’s just as easy to export bookmarks from del.icio.us as to import them: just go to “Settings” and check “export/backup” under “Bookmarks.”
Admittedly, the resulting HTML file is just a long list of links, rather than having the formatting provided by del.icio.us tags, but it beats losing the links altogether if you’re still in the middle of using them for research. (Not that I’ve ever experienced a del.icio.us outage, but it’s always possible.)
You can also export your del.icio.us bookmarks to an XML file by pasting the following link into your browser and entering your del.icio.us username and password: http://del.icio.us/api/posts/all. But unless you know what to do with an unformatted XML file, I’d recommend the first method.
Once I had my bookmarks backed up, I started to think about other “social” sites. I’ve been spending a lot of time answering (and occasionally asking) questions on LinkedIn. A few months ago I asked my network about their backup practices and got enough information to fill up a Reminder column. For today’s column, I searched the existing LinkedIn Answers for information about backing up LinkedIn itself.
The easy part is backing up your connections: you can export them to a .csv (that stands for “comma-separated values,” if you wanted to pick up some additional jargon today) file and then import them into Outlook or pretty well any other contact-management program. If you go to your Connections page in LinkedIn and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see an “Export Connections” button. This takes you to a page with instructions for exporting to Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Yahoo! Mail, or Max OS X Address Book.
That’s all well and good, but anyone I’m connected to on LinkedIn is pretty much guaranteed to be in my Outlook contacts already, because I’m scrupulous about not connecting to people I don’t know well enough to recommend in some capacity, and if I know you that well, chances are I have your e-mail and phone number already. (And LinkedIn doesn’t include phone numbers in their contact info anyway.)
I was more interested in whether I could back up my profile, my recommendations, and my answers to questions. It turns out that it’s possible to back up your profile, after a fashion, by saving it as a PDF file. This includes recommendations people have written for you, though not recommendations you have written for others. You can do this with other people’s profiles, as well, which may be more useful than just exporting their contact info, if also more cumbersome.
It’s possible to copy and paste text out of this PDF, so having it would spare you from re-typing everything if something happened and you had to re-create your profile from scratch. And it would save you some typing if you wanted to re-use the information for another social network.
Curiously, this handy convert-to-PDF feature is not available for your recommendations or your answers. My recommendations page at least shows the full text of the recommendations I’ve written, so I can use the “print” function to create a PDF version. But the tab with my answers doesn’t show the full text (perhaps because I’m inclined to give long answers), and if there’s an option to subscribe to your own answers, I haven’t seen it. (Besides, the feeds you get from LinkedIn aren’t full-text feeds, anyway.) And it only shows the 30 most recent answers.
I guess I know what new features I’ll be requesting from LinkedIn!