May 29, 2016Filed under micro#listiclesMarkdown source

I originally posted this as a tweetstorm, but unlike in the past, where I’ve treated those tweets as the canonical form and linked them here, I’m now treating this as the canonical and adding a tweet to the end of that “topic” linking back here. Indie web forever.


  • I was going to pull all my data from my long-since defunct GoodReads account to do something with the data locally.
  • Unfortunately, I didn’t just stop using the account. As near as I can tell/recall, I completely deleted it—without downloading the data.
  • Why I did this, I have no idea. I deleted it because the Amazon acquisition turned me off and I’d been growing bored with it anyway.
  • But failing to download the data? This is just an enormous :facepalm: moment.
  • Who knows, maybe I have it in an archive somewhere. I’m going to go looking. But I’m annoyed at myself anyway.
  • One thing this reminded me: I’m increasingly a fan of “indie web” solutions. This data is mine, not Amazon’s—even if I trade it to them.
  • The trick is: the trade had to be worth it, and (just as importantly) the data still has to be retrievable when I’m ready to move on.
  • In this case, it is retrievable, and it’s my own fault if I don’t have it. But entities like Twitter and Facebook make that anything from “much harder” to “basically or actually impossible”. Let’s say I wanted to pull everything I’ve posted to Facebook to archive it. Could I?
  • And, just as importantly, could someone who doesn’t know how to write a program to access a web API?
  • (The answers there are: maybe I could, but definitely no one who’s isn’t a programmer could. And that’s simply bad for users.)

A friend comments:

FWIW you can download a big fat zip file with all the stuff you’ve ever uploaded to Facebook

and:

it comes in a pretty simple HTML layout. I do it every 6 months or so for backup.