HOW TO: Download your entire history on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

6611841875_e2e938198bLeaving 2012 and entering 2013 gives a good opportunity to close the book on one year, and start fresh.

It’s also a time when I start new photo albums.

Over the past few days, I also thought it high time to download and send to the archive in the cloud my entire history from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

My history on these services go back two, three, and four years, respectively.


So, here’s how to download a .zip file with your entire Facebook history of status updates and photos.

Yes, it will serve up everything you’ve ever posted on your wall and comments by others, plus messages.

The standard archive does not include, however, comments you’ve made on others’ material.

Be aware, the .zip archive file could be pretty huge.  I’ve been on Facebook since July 2008 and the download file was about 250 megabytes.

1. From any Facebook page (so long as you’re logged in), click on the “gear” icon at the top left of the screen.


2. Then, “Account Settings” -> “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” (left)

3. You’ll need to enter your Facebook password and after a little while, you’ll see a link in the email inbox associated with your account.  Mine took about 15 minutes to arrive.

4. Download the .zip file and click to unpack into its own folder (mine was neatly named “Facebook”).

Within the unpacked file folder, select “index.html”.   You’ll then have a simplified looking home page with your Wall, your photos, your private messages, etc. from the beginning of Facebook time.


Twitter makes it even easier to download every tweet, ever.

Update: As of this writing, the feature has not been rolled out to all accounts, yet.    

1. Just like on Facebook, once signed into Twitter, click the “gear” icon at the top right of the page.

2. Select “Settings” then -> scroll down to “Your Twitter Archive.”

download_twIt too will soon be available and a link sent to the email address on record.

(Example left)

Once you’ve downloaded and extracted the archive file into a folder, you’ll once again open an “index.html” file.

Tweets are neatly organized with a monthly calendar, so if you’re like me, you don’t have to scroll through 25,000 tweets!


Instagram doesn’t allow a direct download from their website, but I used the Instaport service instead.  It worked great!

That took a little while, but once the file was delivered and the .zip file unpacked/extracted, all the photos will then reside in a folder of your choosing.

Happy archiving, and happy new year!


That “Tropical Storm Isaac” photo isn’t Tropical Storm Isaac

(originally posted on my blog at

The photo, purportedly of Tropical Storm Isaac, has been circulating for years.

A photo, purportedly from the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac near Florida, is not.

The cloud feature is a shelf cloud, a phenomenon commonly seen around typical thunderstorms.

It is produced when cold air rushing from a thunderstorm collides with warmer and more moist air in the surrounding environment.

The warmer air is rapidly forced upward by the colder, more dense air.  It then condenses aloft into a spectacular shelf-like cloud formation.

Tropical systems have a warmer core and thunderstorms around the periphery of the storm rarely produce sufficiently cold air to produce a shelf cloud formation.

And even if that were to happen, strong wind motion just off the surface would tear a developing shelf cloud to shreds before being able to reach an appearance like this.

Typically, clouds associated with squalls around a tropical storm or hurricane appear to the human eye as ragged and rather unremarkable.

This particular photograph has been circulating the internet for several years.  I’ve seen it before.

A meteorologist at Tampa’s Bay News 9 reports he’s seen a different foreground photoshopped underneath the cloud in the past.

So, tell your friends: this picture of “Isaac” is a fake!

What I’ve Been Reading This Week (Nov. 27-Dec. 3)

This is the first edition in a weekly series based on what I’ve been reading on the internets. 

You see, I read a ton of blogs (205 on my Feedly reader at present), websites and other items through the week.  

It’s part of my rather-disturbing addiction to news and information that has developed only in the past couple of years, largely thanks to Twitter.   And I do pass along many links there.

Picking up and reading the blog of my KIRO 7 colleague and friend Paul Balcerak, I’ve gotten turned onto Instapaper.  That’s a website that is self-described as a “simple tool for saving web pages for reading later.”  

(Apparently Pinterest is good too, but I’ve been waiting on an invite for what seems like an eternity.)

So with this brand-new personal website and blog thing I’m slowly working on, I thought it’d be a good place to list the best-of-the-best of what I’ve come across in my week.   There is a lot of great material from talented people and organizations out there. 

It won’t be a long list from me… maybe five, perhaps as many as ten.   The articles won’t be that long either (however my descriptions probably will).  

The plan is to send along every Sunday and clear out the Instapaper queue for more.  Send me your best in return!-MP

At long last, here’s installment numero uno (topics from wide receivers to wasps):

1.  Positively the easiest way to spot 12 men on the field

If you thought you were getting every conceivable television angle of Sunday’s games, think again!

There is one camera shot the NFL absolutely does not want you to see, says The Wall Street Journal.

Is it just me, or does that sound like a magician who would just prefer you kindly not videotape the performance!

2.  Facebook is not a blog!

Kelly Clay (via Lockergnome) implores you: Don’t be a Facebook blogger!

Now, I love Twitter (and to a much-lesser extent, Facebook), but we agree: please use it as a really, really”TinyURL” for all your thoughts and emotions.

As Clay also points out, for serious bloggers and especially brands, putting your blog on a site you don’t run might, just might, become a bit sticky later on.

3.  “When death feels like a good option”

In the TV weather world, we lost another wonderful talent this week: Don Harman of Fox 4 in Kansas City.   Struggling with depression, according to his family, he took his own life on Tuesday.

Watch “Don’s Family Shares His Fight with Depression” from WDAF Fox 4  

They say television is a small world, where no one is more than two degrees separated from everyone else.  The TV weather business is even much smaller than that.

Harman’s suicide reverberated around our very small world, as did the 2007 death of John Winter of WFLA in Tampa who was also struggling with depression.

Well-known Seattle entrepreneur Ben Huh of the Cheezburger network recounts his darkest days in an early-week article from the Seattle

4.  Stunning St. Helens

Ben’s words are encouraging, so please take a moment and a deep breath to reflect on his words and nature’s beauty.  

The incredibly stunning photograph was taken of lightning near Mount St. Helens earlier this year.

5.  Lots I didn’t know about campaigns

With the “suspension” of Herman Cain’s candidacy Saturday, I heard some cable news chatter about the chance he could get back in the race at some point.  I thought, “Not if he’s going to endorse someone, he can’t!”

NBC/MSNBC’s Domenico Montanaro explains it has a lot to do with debt, among some other things.

And, did you know that Hillary Clinton is still technically a candidate for president?

6.  “John, I’ll take the wasp in the center square for the block.”

I’ve killed my share of wasps and yellowjackets over time, and it’s not something I’m proud of.  In my old-er age, I realize they are beneficial, and will probably just leave me alone.

Still, the paper wasp’s sting ranks as a 3.0 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which places it between the red harvester ant and tarantula hawk.  A 3.0 is described as “like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.”

Now in even better news: THESE WASPS KNOW WHO YOU ARE.   Or at least, they can recognize the faces of other wasps.

I would assume they could then probably figure us out.

Look at those faces.

Now, by all means, you have very pleasant dreams tonight.

Those nine wasps playing Hollywood Squares know exactly what you did with that can of Hot Shot at the house next door.

As for me, I really don’t want to meet the nice-looking wasp in the top center square.  You know, the one next to Jim J. Bullock.