What would you do if your friends all disappeared?

Poof!  Where did everybody go?Have you ever had a dream where you were surrounded by people and then in an instant you were all alone? As if a wizard waved a magic wand and all of your friends disappeared? 

Hopefully in the waking world, there are no powerful wizards to wave a magic wand and make your true friends evaporate, but in today’s wonderful world of technology, it can seem like everything is fine and then… Poof – your Twitter account is gone, or you have lost your email and phone contact list, or worse you have lost EVERYTHING on your computer! 

Suddenly you are looking around saying “Hey – Where did everybody go?!”

It would be great if this too only happened in fairy tales; but, I have heard too many real life stories from friends who have it happen to them.

Perhaps the information was on a work computer and they lost their job.  Or, their Twitter account got taken away for a reason only Twitter knows – and good luck getting someone to tell you why any time soon.  And even if they do the damage is already done.  Oh no,  those little green meanies attacked – a computer virus infects your computer and your phone all at the same time and a lifetime worth of contacts disappear in a puff of smoke.  Now this is the stuff that any business person’s nightmares are made of.

It can happen to anybody and happen it does – frequently.  Every one of these scenarios happened to friends of mine in the last few weeks.  So it helps to add a little redundancy to your life.  Here are a few tips…

For Twitter

1.  If you are on Twitter and your Twitter ID is linked to your job, start a personal Twitter account that is not work related and ask you real friends on Twitter to follow you there too.  That way, if you change jobs, you have not lost all your friends across the twitterverse,  You know, the ones you spent all that time developing relationships with.

2.  Use a free service like TweetTake to down load a CSV file in Excel once each month.  I do this regularly after my monthly clean up process.  Another free service, Tweet Back will soon have this process automated so you can do  it every day.  That way if you do have a problem you have list to try and restore your friends list from.

For your personal and business contacts

1.  Connect with friends on multiple platforms like Facebook, Plaxo and LinkedIn.  That way if your personal computer systems fail or your job goes away, you have not lost all your key contacts. An added plus to these systems is that as your friends move around – you get the updated information too.

2.  GMAIL is a great free back up plan, even if you do not use it as your main email address or client.  Simply export your address book from MS Outlook or other program to a CSV file and upload it to GMAIL.  Now you have a free back up on the Google network of servers.

Like it or not – your life is linked to your computer

1.  Have multiple computer back ups!  Back up your computer regularly and have more than one back up file so that if one gets corrupted the other one works.  (This is also critically important if you also keep key personal or financial information on your home or laptop computer not to mention all your pictures and other priceless digital keepsakes.)

2.  Remote Back Ups are like Fire and Casualty Insurance – just common sense.  For your home or for your office and especially if your home IS your office, having everything in one location can be a problem.  Fires, floods and break ins can and do happen.  A remote back up system can be a life saver.  There are a number of systems out there, one that is very reasonably priced (<$5/month) is Mozy by Decho, for larger systems, like an office, I have had also had great results with Data Preserve.  There are lots of services out there, but which ever one you ultimately choose, having a remote backup is not something to WISH you had the day AFTER you have a problem.

Yes, your digital life can change like that – Poof!  It never hurts to be prepared with a little magic of your own.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

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