In the spirit of “every time you’re putting words and pictures together, and sharing them with the world, you’re scrapbooking,” there’s a new-ish product out that makes that statement even more true.
I’ve been seeing ads in my Facebook feed for My Social Book, which claims to take all your posts and pictures and turn them into a book that you will treasure forever.
For kicks, I decided to give them a try, and see what kind of quality product they produce.
To start off with, they will need access to your Facebook feed in order to create your book. If you’re not comfortable with that, this is not going to work for you.
After you grant them access to your feed, they ask you to choose types of data to include, from photos to links to comments, as well as the date range for the book. My Social Book then generates a mock up with a few pages in it, so you can see how it will turn out. (I’m trying to recall all the bits and pieces from memory. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but it really is an easy process.)
If you like what you see, you can then order it.
I placed my order on April 16th, and was told to expect the book between April 28th and May 7th. On the 21st, I received a shipping notice, and it arrived the week of the 27th from the USPS. (I can’t remember which day exactly! Sorry!)
This is the soft cover version, because I did not want to spend more money on a hardcover. It’s Ikea catalog/ typical magazine type quality. Thinner paper than I was expecting, and the photo quality was only okay. The photo and paper quality on something printed from a photo service like Shutterfly is much better, with thicker paper, and better resolution photo printing.
So not perfect so far, but acceptable. Now on to the interior.
This is what a typical page looks like, with status updates and photos. The little blue circles next to each post contain the number of people who have liked or commented on a particular status. The paper is thin, and the photo quality issues continue throughout the book. It’s not that they’re bad, they just aren’t the quality that someone who loves photography would be satisfied with.
A weird thing that happened repeatedly was on statuses from other people that I had commented on or been tagged in frequently did not include the name of the person who posted the original status. Most times you can figure out who posted the original status, but not always, which makes its value in the book questionable.
Another issue concerned photos that were cropped for the monthly headers. I didn’t see a place on the ordering site where you could adjust photo crops, so as you can see, the headers had some weird compositions.
The last issue I had with the book was with the post on the right in this image. I was tagged on a giveaway post, and tagged some friends as well, and they printed the whole post with comments. This was about 18 pages of the book. Crazy, right? I didn’t see anything where you could pick and choose specific posts to include or exclude, where you could avoid having something like this show up in your book.
So it sounds like there were a lot of issues with the book, right? Like I don’t like it? Well that’s just not true. I actually loved it.
There are a few reasons I loved it. First of all, getting it done was quick and easy. It wasn’t very expensive, as far as on demand printing goes. This was 182 pages, covering the time period from January 1, 2014 to April 16, 2015. You can change the date range to include as much or as little as you want. The regular price was $59.90, but I went through one of their ads on Facebook, and got it at 30% less, and free shipping as well.
They delivered the product well within their estimated delivery time. I like it when companies do what they say they’re going to do, when they say they’re going to do it, don’t you?
Most of all I love it because it’s a walk down memory lane. It reminds me of conversations funny and sincere, and friends far and near. I use Facebook partly as a notebook, to capture the things my family says or does that are so completely them. It was great to be reminded of some of the ridiculous things my family has said or done in the past year+.
Will I use this service again? Probably. I think I’ll be going back to see what they dredge up from the data banks of time. I’ve been on Facebook since January of 2009. There’s bound to be a lot more memories hidden there, and it would be good to get them into the light of day again.
Let me know if you decide to check My Social Book out for yourself. I’d love to hear your opinions on it.