It was a sad day when I read the ReadWriteWeb post about the rumored shutdown of MyBlogLog. Yahoo has since come out with a vague response that pulling the plug is only one of several “options” but I thought it good to post a few things you can do now just in case they do take MBL out behind the shed.
Grab your Stats
If you’re a pro user, visit your blog’s stats page and run a report to get your stats. You run reports by clicking on the report tab on the right-hand side of the second row of tabs. There are several options showing the type of data you can get. Run a few reports on just a few days to see what’s there and then go for it. After running a report, you can highlight the data, copy then paste it into Excel or Google Docs as a .csv file and then do things like filter and sort.
If I recall correctly, the report routine would choke if you threw too much data so if it hangs, try to chunk it into smaller timeframes. I’d recommend monthly which you can later aggregate onto a spreadsheet.
Tighten your Connections
Use the Friender feature to find any of your contacts that are on MyBlogLog. The way this works on a high level is that it suggests people that are connected to two or more of your contacts but not connected to you. For more info on Friender, you can read the original post announcing the feature.
Once you’ve found all your friends on MyBlogLog, you can use the Connector feature to see how you’re connected to everyone and fill in the missing blanks. If you follow someone on twitter and are connected to him on MyBlogLog, the Connector will tell you how to find them on flickr, delicious, Pownce (ok, that will no longer work), digg, last.fm, and YouTube. You can click each link to their prospective profiles and friend them there or click the uber-arrow on the right and spawn multiple tabs for each service. More on the Connector on this post.
Back up your Contacts
One of the great things about MyBlogLog is that each person’s MyBlogLog profile is a pointer to all their other profiles on the internet. I was going to suggest to manually save those that were important to you but then Manny, one of the old MyBlogLog engineers, whipped up a Python script that uses the MyBlogLog API to archive everything for you. It creates a directory on your hard drive (Windows & Linux only) and creates up to four files for each contact (sites authored, an hcard file, a list of their communities, and a list of services). Here’s what you need to do.
1. Download the script (right-click & save as mbl_depart.py)
2. Install a Python interpreter such as Python 2.6.4. Remember, this script only works if you’re on Windows or Linux. Once you’ve installed Python, copy the script into the same directory where you installed Python.
3. Edit the the script with a text editor and replace “foo” with your Yahoo API key. If you don’t have one, you can login to Yahoo and go to the YDN site to request a key. You only need the Generic key because you do not need to authenticate to read the data you are getting.
4. Run “cmd” to get a DOS window, navigate to the directory then run the code with your MyBlogLog username as the parameter. For example,
python mbl_depart.py iankennedy
The script should then run in the command window (if not, you may need to add your python directory to your path variable). The script will save all your data to the directory where you installed python in a directory the with the same name as your username. Subdirectories will be there for all your contacts.
Another cool things that MyBlogLog did was aggregate all your contacts’ activity into a news feed which we called New in My Neighborhood. We called blogs Communities so it kinda fit. Aggregated feeds of the social activity of your contacts are nothing new and FriendFeed famously went on to build out a service exactly like this. Take a walk down memory lane and have a look at the communities that you follow and use the Subscribe widget on the Community page to subscribe directly to each site’s feed in the RSS reader of your choice. As for social profiles, you can use the Connector described above to directly subscribe to any of your friends’ activity.
Likewise, you might want to message everyone following your blog via using the MyBlogLog messaging feature and remind them that they can subscribe directly to your blog and provide pointers to your other profiles that you want to promote.
That’s it. Now you’re safe with all your contacts backed up should anything happen to the service.
Check out Alternative Widgets
Should the service ever get taken offline, it’s a good idea to have alternatives scoped out should you need to switch over.
Recent Reader Widget – TwitterCounter has a cool little widget that shows the face of recent twitter visitors who have opt-ed into their service. Google Friend Connect is also similar but more about community members, not recent visitors.
New with Me widget – Mark Krynsky has an excellent gallery of different services on his Lifestream Blog.
If you’re reading this post because you were a member of the MyBlogLog community, I hope that this post at least provides you with a way to get your own copy of everything you put into the service. I’ve been assured by someone at Yahoo that the earlier post stands and there is no final decision on the future of MyBlogLog. Until then, as with any hosted service, it’s always good to have your own copy.
It was great working on MBL as the Product Manager, the team was stellar and they are all doing interesting things, albeit now outside of Yahoo. Some of the innovations we launched there are all glimpses of services that now exist as entire businesses.