New York State Funeral Directors Association

How To Preserve Your Facebook Memories

Years ago, you would have to know someone personally – or read through their diary – to get a good understanding of what kind of person they were.

Today, you can learn quite a bit about someone by what they post on Facebook. And thanks to its digital format, people can capture all of the information they’ve shared with just a few clicks.

The image files can be used as slideshows to display during a gathering for a funeral, memorial or celebration of someone’s life.

And they can provide future generations with a depiction of what was important to their beloved relative.

They can also serve as material for your autobiography.

Facebook profiles are a treasure trove of what’s important throughout the year – like proud congratulations to the family’s newest graduate, or photos of family gatherings that take place all-too infrequently.

They’ll often feature a person’s thoughts about national politics or calls to help find the latest cat that went missing in the neighborhood.

For how much it can tell you about a person, what’s on Facebook is all priceless information.

And it would be especially so for future generations who might not get to meet you.

If you haven’t chosen someone to manage your Facebook account after you pass away, consider capturing what you’ve shared over the years – and storing it for yourself and for those you won’t get to meet years from now.

Facebook makes it easy to download everything you’ve placed on the social media site – and there are a multitude of things you can do with the information once you get it.

Some people make books out of their Facebook activity. There are services that will link up to your Facebook and create photo books out of the material – you can find them through a simple internet search.

For those not enthusiastic about sharing their Facebook information with some anonymous computer program, there are ways to capture everything you’ve posted and still print it out.

Here are the steps I took to capture my Facebook info, photos and posts.

STEP 1: Step One is Find Settings

Click the white, upside down triangle at the upper right side of your personal Facebook page. From the list of options that drops down, select “Settings,” towards the bottom of the list.

STEP 2:

Finding your Facebook informationOnce you click settings, you’ll see a variety of choices to the left of “General Account Settings.” The third from the top should read “Your Facebook Information.” After clicking Your Facebook Information, you’ll see five different choices and a “View” link after each of them. Click the View link that follows “Download Your Information.”

STEP 3:

The Download Your Information page contains a comprehensive view of everything that’s stored by Facebook. You can select individual elements, such as “Photos and Videos,” or select all of the files listed under Your Information.

You also get the choice of “Media Quality,” from low to high – this will determine the size of the photo files you’ll receive. All of the selections are chosen automatically – which is good enough for me. I made one change to select high quality to make sure the photos will look good as a slideshow or in a book.

You can change the date range to simply capture what you posted last year – or leave it at “All of my data” and it will make every element of your Facebook life available to you.

STEP 5:

Step 3: Create your file

Once you’ve made your selections, click the blue “Create File” button. You’ll get a notice on the page telling you your file is being created.

Once it’s complete, you’ll get a notification and the page will have another element to it, letting you know you can download your files:

The view showing your files are available

Now is the time to go dig out your Facebook password – you’ll need it in order to download the file that Facebook creates.

Once you fill in your password, Facebook will ask you where to download the file – or it will automatically download depending on how your computer is set up.

I placed it onto my computer’s desktop.

There will be a lot of information in this file, so it has to be extracted before you can make use of the files and images.

Once the file is there, use your mouse to right click the file then choose “Extract all.” Extracting your files

Now, you’ll have all your Facebook information ready for you to do with as you wish.

I received 25 different folders of my Facebook information.

The most important for me are simply the photographs which I want to save and, someday, put into a book.

The file titled “photos_and_videos” contains all the photographs you’ve posted to Facebook.

Take your time and go through the photos – you may be surprised at how many are there.

STEP 6:

Now that you have your Facebook information, there are many ways you can go about preserving it.

The photos and videos file is easy to work with.

On most computer photo viewers, there is an option to view the album as a slideshow. Simply open the file, double-click one of the photos and see the options at the bottom – it should include the slideshow option.

If the photos truly turn out to be precious and offer a good depiction of your life – or that of a loved one you’re helping with this project – hang onto the folder and make a copy of it and share it so that it will be available for others to view.

WANT YOUR POSTS?

One file that Facebook provides is a bit unique – it’s an internet file titled “posts.”

This is where you can capture every single post you’ve placed (and not deleted) onto Facebook.

When you click the “your-posts” link, it will open up a webpage.

This will contain everything you’ve posted – including wishing your friends and relatives a Happy Birthday.

To turn this into a document you can keep, simply take the steps you would take to print. Hit Ctrl and the P key, and a dialogue box will open up.

At this point, don’t hit “print.” Instead, change the printing option to Save as PDF.

This will turn all that information on that internet page into a single document you can save or – if you have enough paper – print out into your own booklet.


EdsPhotoEdward Munger Jr.
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association