Are You Archiving Social Media?


The past few years have been revolutionary for PR and communications.  We’ve seen changes in our approach and in new technologies that allow us to share, collaborate and connect directly with our constituents.  For me, 2011 will be a year to dig in, making sure that our organizations have embraced the changes and are better prepared to deal with new ways of sharing communication, with the ability to monitor conversations as they occur.

One critical area, which demands attention, and where we should dig in more, focuses on monitoring and maintaining a record of social media conversations.  Now, many organizations may feel that this is only reserved to those companies that have to adhere to Public Record laws, such as healthcare companies.  However, reading an article called “Tools to Help Companies Manage Their Social Media,” in The New York Times, makes me think otherwise.  The article discusses how, “if three years from now somebody comes and says, ‘I need every Facebook post, every tweet …’”  Are you prepared to accommodate this request?

It wouldn’t surprise me if, in most cases, you said, “no, we don’t have that data archived,” or “well, let me see if my monitoring platform can pull together that information from the past.”  These are not the answers that your legal team wants to hear, should the company be facing a lawsuit regarding specific content posted on one of your social networking sites.  It’s better to be prepared and to understand the access that you have to archiving and/or the limitations before the legal team inquires.

The article is our wake up call and being in communications and a part of the reputation management team, we have to make it our business to have certain technologies in place.  If we are the team that guides strategic communication, curates the content and is responsible for monitoring the results of the social outreach and the sharing of information, then we have to have a better answer in place.

When you are in your strategy and planning phase and you know exactly where the employees of your company will be communicating on social sites, then you need to make sure you select the proper monitoring and tracking platforms; ones that will allow you to archive at certain intervals.  I just recently learned that one of our clients platforms will archive (by PDF) up to 175 posts and 1,000 comments on their Facebook wall, before we have to pay additional fees to upgrade our package.  Ask now to protect the brand later.

Based on this article, I think we will see some sophisticated archiving tools in the future that will help us to manage the communications better and to feel prepared to furnish the “can I have the last three months of posts and comments” request with ease and with speed!


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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Aaron Schaap says:

    We completely agree and it’s a growing issue not only for individuals and companies but also for government bodies. That’s why we developed http://www.TweetStreamapp.com. We’re pushing a rather large update and whole new design later today so make sure to check it out.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Deirdre Breakenridge, Derek DeVries, Laura Pecherski, Jessica Brand, AG Social Media and others. AG Social Media said: Interesting update: Are You Archiving Social Media? | Deirdre Breakenridge: One critical area, which demands att… http://bit.ly/dlhQSt [...]

  3. Deirdre says:

    Hi Aaron! Thanks for sharing the info on TweetStreammapp.com. It likes like a good solution for archiving Twitter and crunching numbers. I think this is a growing issue and we will see many more companies looking for good solutions. Have a great week :)

  4. Hi Deirdre,
    Thanks for your post. Indeed we are seeing more and more companies and government agencies archive their social media correspondence. Our company, BMRW & Associates developed Arkovi to meet this demand in financial services where firms have a compliance requirement. We archive not only their Twitter but also Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs and any RSS feed that a firm may need to retain.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Dan

  5. Deirdre says:

    Hi Dan :) Thanks for sharing the information and I’ll have to check out Arkovi. Good to know that you can archive beyond Twitter and Facebook to include networks such as LinkedIn and blog communities. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

  6. Hi, Deirdre. One of my clients, starting back in ’04, was an early player in the enterprise email and IM archiving business, during a time when a whole new industry known as “e-discovery” was really building steam. So, I have a great appreciation for this topic, and, as an early adopter of social media, have wondered for some time why there isn’t more emphasis on it in this form of communication — which studies are now showing has higher usage, at least in some circles, than email.

    One tool I started using a couple of years ago is Backupify, which actually archives several online services; you just specify which ones when you sign up. And it’s all free! (At least for a time.) I use it to archive my Twitter account, among other of my social media services. Backupify sends me an email every month telling me it has successfully archived my selected services, and gives me the links. (Note: The terms “backup” and “archiving” are really not the same thing in IT circles. The former is more short term (daily, weekly), while the latter is increasingly meaning forever! Also, the key in archiving is being able to search and quickly find exactly what you’re looking for in a given archive — that is, the specific emails, tweets, or whatever that contain certain keywords, or were on specific dates, or that were in response to someone else’s communication, etc. There are many search criteria needed for serious e-discovery purposes.)

    That regular email I get from Backupify includes a link to my “Twitter Book,” which is a PDF of all my tweets and @ messages going back to to when I first signed up for the service. Pretty cool. They do it all in the Amazon cloud. Of course, the service is really only reliable as long as Backupify stays in business. But it looks to be a pretty solid offering. Note it does not have a way to search within the archive, but you can easily scroll back to a certain date.

    cheers,
    Graeme

  7. Deirdre says:

    Hi Graeme! Thank you for sharing your insight. I’m not familiar with Backupify, but it sounds like a great service that’s simple to set up with easy access to the archived information (and it’s free). You really did start early on this front. I’m not sure how organizations were focused on the topic in 2004, but it should be more of a priority now. Really appreciate the information!

  8. Shannon Paul says:

    Hi Deirdre,

    I used to work for a company that was regulated by FINRA. Archiving is a big part of what is required for all communications for FINRA-regulated businesses.

    Something that worked for us was a service called Feed My Inbox (http://www.feedmyinbox.com/). This enabled us to get up and running much faster than shopping for a standalone social media archiving system. Since our email archiving system was already compliant with FINRA standards, this service enabled us to automatically convert the updates from the RSS feeds on each of our social profiles and blogs into individual email messages that were automatically forwarded to a designated inbox — this solved the archiving problem without having to make a big investment in yet another technology solution.

    I hope this helps!

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