Download your Facebook contact list — before it’s too late

5 Jul

Facebook vs. Google, Sword Fighting Social Media SitesThe battle for control of your personal network is on.

In case you missed it, Google+ officially rolled out last week, which had social media junkies like me all excited to get on it as soon as possible to see what it was all about.  So, we get our coveted invites and made it there and… crickets.  A social media sites are no fun when there’s no one there to socialize with.

Immediately I, and apparently lots of other people, too, thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just bring my download my Facebook friend list and bring all by friends over to Google+ with me?” We’ve spent all this time building our digital personal networks and want them to travel with us wherever we go.  After all, their our contacts, not Facebook’s.  Seems logical, right? 

Okay, so I really wanted to make an uber-dorky "What do Facebook and Denmark have in common?" type joke, but they are failing me. Consider this your Hamlet reference.

Of course, there’s not an easy way to  pack up your Facebook contact list and bring it over to Google+ with you; that would be too simple… and Facebook would hate it.  Even though it’s taken down many of the walls, Facebook still wants you to keep returning to its garden for all your social networking needs (or wants, as the case may be).

Luckily there are two work arounds to getting your friends’ contact information (the meat of your entire personal network, really) out of Facebook and into a format which you can import to Google+.

1)      Export your Facebook contacts to Yahoo and then upload to Google from there

2)      Use a Chrome extension (Facebook Friend Exporter) to export them directly

Pied Piper

See, this is me, leading you over to Google+. Come join me so I don't have to hear... crickets.

Facebook’s not too happy with users’ ability to get access to their contact lists.  According to Mashable, “Facebook is actively trying to block Facebook Friend Exporter.” And the extension’s creator says, “Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends. They started to remove emails of your friends from your profile by today July 5th 2011. (The extension) will no longer work for many people.”

As far as I know, the Yahoo trick still works, although I’m having trouble uploading them to Google.  (But, that may be an issue of the sheer size of my contact list and their servers being overwhelmed.  Or, the ones in Europe being whelmed…)

So, consider this post your call to action to take control of your contact list and your digital personal network.  If you’re at all interested in trying to get your contact list out of Facebook, now’s the time.  (The Facebook/Google+ war is likely to keep ratcheting up, and social networking users are increasingly going to find themselves in the line of fire.  Although it would make sense for both services to try to gain/retain users by offering better and better services, I’m betting that users are going to find their experiences compromised, especially on Facebook.)  Even if you’re not looking to make the switch to Google+, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your contact list now so that you still have your friends’ e-mail addresses after Facebook takes them down.

Google+ CirclesAlso, speaking of downloading things from Facebook, has anyone tried the Download Your Information tool which allows you to get a copy of all of the information that you’ve put on Facebook ever (posts, picture, etc.)?  I’ve been reading and thinking about who owns the information that you post of social networking sites (newsflash: according to the terms of service, it’s not use), so I’m interested to see that Facebook’s giving you direct access to all your own information and activity history.  Obviously, this shall be a topic of a (probably long-winded and rambling) post soon.

Question of the day: Have you made the move over to Google+?  (If so, add me to your circles!)

MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the Internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about Internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at

One Response to “Download your Facebook contact list — before it’s too late”

  1. Henny Seroeyen March 14, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    How can i download my facebook friends and emails?
    So i can add them to my google plus account and my adresbook?

    Sinseer Henny Seroeyen

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