As any of my online *friends* (strange how the word has devolved in just the past couple of years) will tell you, I’ve been something of a Facebook power user for quite some time. It started out as a professional curiosity, and I scrambled to get an account as soon as the students-only restriction was lifted in late 2006. Since then, as many have also experienced, my use of Facebook has spiraled out of control. Beyond the banality of interacting with people I never really wanted to be friends with, and the pointlessness of sharing my every thought with people I see all the time anyway, I’m regularly logged in keeping tabs on clients, competitors, and a myriad of would-be Social Media Douchebags. It’s reached a point where sometimes it feels like I’m actually working for Facebook, and everything else I do is merely in order to feed the beast with interesting links, pictures, videos, whimsy… and more *friends*.
“FACEBOOK WANT FOOD. WANT CONTENT. WANT LINKS. MAKE NETWORK BIG AND STRONG. GIVE MEH NOMZ!”
Enough. That’s it. I’m done. I’m dropping out and heading back to the good old days, when friends were people you wanted to hang out with (and did), conversations didn’t necessarily involve everyone you had ever met and everyone they’d ever met, and where people without anything meaningful to say (myself included) kept their traps shut. See you later, skater.
‘But wait!’ You might say. ‘What about all your *friends*? How will you keep in touch with everyone if you leave Facebook? Marky Z and the kids won’t let you take your contacts with you. They own your data!’
True. Kind of. Facebook doesn’t let you export your information, and most people will tell you it can’t be done. But they are wrong. It takes a little dicking around, but it works and it’s worth it. So if you’re tired of Facebook running your life, if you’re looking for an out that doesn’t necessarily involve cutting all ties with the network of *friends* you’ve built on Facebook, then read on. Behold:
How to export the names and email addresses of all your Facebook friends in CSV, vCard, Outlook or Thunderbird formats
It’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. All you really need is a Yahoo! account and an IQ higher than room temperature. Yahoo! accounts are free, and for the most part useless (especially since they decommissioned Geocities), but in this instance you’ll find one damned handy. To get one you’ll need to go to Yahoo.com, and not one of their regional sites like Yahoo!Xtra. If you keep getting redirected away from the main site, look for a ‘go to Yahoo.com’ button. It’ll be there somewhere.
Once you’ve set up your account, log in and open Yahoo! Mail . From here on in, it’s plain sailing:
- Click on ‘Contacts’ to view your Yahoo! address book
- Click the ‘Tools’ menu at the top of your contacts list, then select Import.
- Select ‘Facebook’ from the list of sources to import contacts from
- Follow the prompts, and Yahoo! will do the rest. If you’re not retarded, half a dozen clicks will see all your Facebook *friends* in your Yahoo! contacts list (except, of course, the ones who elected not to share their email addresses with you. This shouldn’t be a problem, however, as most people are too stupid to understand how Facebook’s privacy settings work)
- Click in the empty check box at the top of your contacts list, to select all
- Click to open the ‘Tools’ menu again, but this time select ‘Export’.
- Select the format you wish to download your contacts in (vCard is possibly the most widely accepted when it comes to importing into other mail apps, but it’s also hard to go wrong with a dirty old CSV), and follow the promots therein. If you’re not retarded, and you shouldn’t be if you’ve made it this far, you’re home and hosed.
Congratulations, Facebook no longer has your nuts in a vice! Go forth and do some meaningful stuff with people you actually care about.