I want to offer a quick look inside the technology behind Facebook’s Open Graph initiative to show how easy it is to mark up your website and let Facebook users interact with it.
This is only a part of the broad Open Graph strategy the company announced at its 2010 F8 developer conference. (Read our full coverage of the keynote).
Basically, Facebook is offering up a set of widgets — it calls them Social Plug-ins — that you can drop into any web page to make that page more “Facebooky.” There’s a Like button, a Recommendations widget that shows what other pages people’s friends are reading, an Activity Stream widget that shows a simplified version of the visitor’s personal Facebook news feed, and a Facebook Bar, a toolbar site owners can float at the bottom of the screen that serves all of these things at once.
Using the Open Graph widgets, you can incorporate some of Facebook’s key social interaction features into any page on the web.
The most important Social Plug-in, and the one we’ll no doubt see the most use of, is the Like button. Put it on your page, and if a Facebook user visits your site and clicks on it, a link to your page gets added to their activity stream. Suddenly, all of their friends can see that link, click on it and be led directly to your page. When that second person arrives, the Like button is personalized for them — it shows which of their friends have already clicked it, and when they click on it, a link to your page gets added to their stream.