I wonder sometimes if folks at media companies ever try clicking their own links from within social media like Twitter or Facebook, just to experience what a damn travesty of a user experience it is.
There’s lots of stuff going on right now that I’m not part of. That’s the way it goes. Me and Facebook are over. It’s going to stay that way. And if I’m on a ship that’s sinking, well I’ve had a good run, and I can afford to go down with the ship, along with people who share my values. It’s a cause, I’ve discovered, that’s worth giving something up for.
Dave Winer – Scoble: I’ll go down with the ship.
Sean Blanda, founder of Technically Philly, packed the room for his afternoon presentation about WordPress and Facebook. He covered tips and tricks for supercharging the social interactions with your blog.
He started off laying the ground rules: The talk wasn’t going to be about the Like button. He wasn’t to going to discuss whether Facebook is evil or not. Finally, he wasn’t going to set up a Facebook page for your business.
Technically Philly, a tech publication covering the tech scene in Philadelphia, started in 2009 and cared little about Facebook. They got a few hundred likes on their Facebook page but really didn’t care. By now they’re at 1000 page likes and get 7-10 a day; now they care about Facebook a whole bunch. They’re nearly doubling their daily reach by having 1000 people following the site on Facebook.
Sean’s talk focused on the 5 things you can do: engage with Facebook comments, measure the work you do with Insights, connect your site to your Facebook page, streamline sharing for readers, and make your Facebook page content count. To get set up you need to do some very minimal template editing of your WordPress theme. This adds in the necessary meta keys for Facebook to recognize your site as an app.
The open graph data that Sean covered adds meta information to the header. It lets you define an email address, phone number, locality, content type, and many more real world values for your digital content. All this helps contextualize the information people see in their newsfeed. Once you have it set up Facebook offers built-in debugging tools for making sure you’ve set up the meta information properly.
Technically Philly only runs Facebook comments on their site. Since they implemented this they’ve seen comment participation triple. By moving to Facebook comments they get all sorts of demographic information as to who comments on the site. It’s great for advertising and for learning who’s interacting with your site.
The downside to this is that the comments are not stored in your WordPress database. However, there is a plugin called Facebook Comments to WordPress that moves your comments to your WordPress database every day.
When sharing content on Facebook a preference is given to content shared manually on the site. Content shared through an automated service ranks lower in their algorithm. With many aspects of sharing content on Facebook there’s an echo effect. As people like your page or your article their friends see it and it spreads through the network.
All this data about your app and what works with sharing content are piped through Facebook Insights. Insights give you lots of graphical breakdowns of how you’re doing on Facebook.
I was going to comment with WordPress theme and code tips on a blog post today. Instead, the only option was Facebook comments with no fallback. It makes no sense to me that you’d control publication of your content while simultaneously making interaction with it contingent upon a single, corporate platform.
The only thing to add is that it is not possible to do journalism in an environment where your writing can be taken down if the company hosting it deems it offensive.
Dave Winer – No journalism on Facebook.