Recently, I toyed around with the Open Graph Protocol implementation on Facebook. I think there’s a very possible way to elegantly promote WordPress posts on Facebook while taking the responsibility of actually pushing it to Facebook off of the reader.
Robert Reinhard’s post mentioning the incompleteness of it got me to thinking about how to effectively incorporate it into WordPress. It seems that if you use the by-the-book way to setting it up, Facebook wants you to only promote objects (actors, movies, musicians, businesses, etc.) but not necessarily content (blog posts, news articles, etc.). There is an “og:object” META tag that lets you assign a specific object type so that the properly categorized page is created on the Facebook side of things.
This is well and good, since most modern CMS systems allow for a custom field wherein the value can be accessed via a variable. One could conceivably use a custom field in an aggregation page to mark an artist’s name, and insert the “og:type” programmatically as “artist”, and insert the artist’s name value into “og:title”. This would, in effect, create a Facebook Page linking back to your aggregation page on the original site. While this isn’t the exact intent of Facebook’s Open Graph implementation, it will become a trend in the near future once widespread use starts to occur.
Additionally, there’s another method that I think could prove useful in the blogging/news article implementation. Omitting the “og:type” attribute will cause Facebook to NOT start a new Page, but the Like action will show up on the Wall of the user Liking the article, and, subsequently, the newsfeeds of Facebook users following that person. Another added benefit is that the deep link is not “nofollow”. I’ve yet to be able to determine whether or not Public walls (even when exposed to search engines in the settings) are being crawled by Google, but, a followed link can’t hurt. The key to making this method successful is properly titling your posts/articles to make them enticing to click through to. You’d then want to use whatever “title” variable in the “og:title” meta tag so that it is pushed through to Facebook.
I think that the biggest thing Facebook could do to make this great is implementing a way to attach non-object Likes to existing Pages. That would bring out a much more effective Page when real users are promoting articles on your Page versus a cross-posting module that can sometimes be a bit screwy. All in all, it’s a step in the right direction, but, we’ve still got a ways to go.