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6/13/2012
11:17 AM
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Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin

Official Facebook plugin allows bloggers to post to Facebook and tag friends and pages at the same time they post to their WordPress-powered websites.

Facebook has introduced an official WordPress plugin that it promises will make your blog or WordPress-powered website "deeply social."

Once installed and configured, the plugin makes your website function almost as an extension of Facebook. Every time you publish a blog post, you can simultaneously publish a link and summary about that post to Facebook. You can publish these to your personal profile, a Facebook business page, or both, adding a status message to go with the link through the WordPress interface. You can also tag your posts with references to Facebook friends and other people's pages, cross-posting to their pages in the process.

At the same time, you can turn on Facebook integration features for your website's public pages and posts, such as "Like" and "Send" buttons, Facebook-powered comments and recommendations, and links to the Facebook profiles and pages tagged in a blog post.

Many of these features were already available through other plugins that leveraged the Facebook APIs and developer kits. The great advantage of an official Facebook integration plugin is that it will be more likely to keep pace with changes in the Facebook platform, something other developers often struggle with.

The plugin is available for download from wordpress.org for installation on any website powered by the open source blogging and content management system. It was created by Facebook engineers in partnership with open source developers, including the staff of Automattic, the company that runs the wordpress.com blog hosting site and supports the open source project.

On wordpress.com, the feature doesn't appear to be available in the free version but is with WordPress VIP accounts.

[ Learn more about Facebook Apps In Action. ]

The plugin was announced Tuesday in a blog post by Facebook engineer Matt Kelly

He wrote that, "WordPress powers 16.6% of the Web, from The New York Times to People magazine, and attracts more than 600 million unique visitors each month. We hope the plugin makes it possible for WordPress content to be shared even more widely among people."


Facebook tagging options in WordPress

I found the documentation relatively easy to follow. It does require you to register your website as a Facebook app, which is how you authorize it to perform actions on your behalf. If you want to authorize the app to update the personal profile of each blog-post author (assuming this is a site with multiple authors), you will need to go through some additional Open Graph configuration steps. I found this a little more confusing, never having been through the process before. You must specify that the application is authorized to publish Facebook posts, and you'll even need to provide a little documentation of your own--the instructions to be displayed to each author when they authorize the application to post on their behalf.

The support forum for the plugin is currently filling up with reports from people who had trouble setting up or using the plugin for one reason or another. I couldn't get it working on one site with a slightly more complicated setup, but on several others I had no trouble at all. Mainly, this is cause for WordPress fans to rejoice.


WordPress item on a Facebook page

WordPress item on a Facebook Timeline

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

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Otto
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Otto,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/19/2012 | 9:51:59 PM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
Don't pay too much attention to the broken/works numbers. People with problems are likely to click Broken. People with no problems are much less likely to click Works. There's also the problem where people will click Broken simply because it doesn't do what they want it to do.
Don Campbell
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Don Campbell,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/19/2012 | 12:25:24 AM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
Great article David - thank you. I like how this plugin brings together a lot of great features that you used to need many plugins for, and adds a few new ones too.

I especially like the "mention" capabilities in the new plugin, but I'm not a big fan of using Facebook for my blog comments. The nice thing is you can pick and choose which features you want to use.

I made this video showing how to set up and configure the plugin: http://www.expand2web.com/blog...
brettbum
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brettbum,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/18/2012 | 4:57:09 PM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
hmmm, I do see you Otto after clicking on the 6 more authors. I missed it the first time. I do not see Pleer from Facebook Comments in the list.

I wonder why SFC works and F doesn't.

I'll admit I initially tried the plugin, which is new and when it didn't work on a couple different sites I removed it and chalked it up to a half cooked first effort. Obviously, you have been at this for a while(big understatement).

So now I'm wondering where it is going wrong?

update
as of the writing of this comment when using WordPress 3.4 (newest version just dropped) 10 people report the plugin broken and 13 people say it works

For the most recent former version WordPress 3.3.2

11 people (including myself) say it does not work and 15 claim it does work

the sample size for SFC is much smaller with 0 people reporting for WordPress 3.4

Where as 2 people say SFC works with Wordpress 3.3.2 and 2 people say it does not work
Otto
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Otto,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 11:49:13 PM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
Just so you know, they did. I'm the author of SFC (Simple Facebook Connect), and you'll note my name on the contributors list for the plugin. :)

You'll also notice that the official plugin bears a striking resemblance to SFC in certain places, if you examine the code. However, they took several of the pieces and heavily improved upon them.

This is a good thing. It's giving several FB Engineers the chance to use their own APIs and see some of the shortcomings other developers have had to live with. The really good thing about them doing this as a WordPress plugin is that there's so many different possible integration points, that it really gives them a chance to explore their APIs and use all the various parts of it in useful ways. Should result in improvements not only to the plugin, but to the way their APIs work and in the way their App integration systems work.
Otto
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Otto,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 11:45:27 PM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
"Updating" was left out of the first version due to complexity and time-constraints. It may be added in a future version, but it's not an easy thing to do on the Facebook-side of things.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
6/14/2012 | 3:32:49 PM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
The shortcoming I may have forgotten to mention is that the plugin only gives you access to the cross-posting tools when you initially publish your post. You can't go back later in the day (or maybe weeks or months later) and post a link with a new comment attached, or tag it to an additional profile or page you didn't think of originally.

Maybe they're trying to cut down on link spam, but it strikes me as a clumsy way to do it. Of course, it's open source, so I don't know what would stop you from forking the code as long as you give credit to the original authors. Certainly, you could hack it for your own purposes.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/14/2012 | 10:27:04 AM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
This plug-in is really cool. So many companies' blogs live in a vacuum. This will really make integration, promotion and collaboration much more effective.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
brettbum
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brettbum,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2012 | 10:44:53 PM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
The great advantage might be that it keeps up with Facebook platform changes, but there is little rejoicing to be had for a plugin that works so sporadically and has such poor documentation for installation on Wordpress (or facebook for that matter). The Facebook SFC and Facebook Comments plugins currently are far superior to this plugin and they have been around for a long time. Maybe Facebook should have simply hired those plugin developers that were nutty enough to figure out their own platform on their own. Maybe even give them some underwater stock options for their trouble...

;)
Reno Computer Repair Services
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Reno Computer Repair Services,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2012 | 6:56:31 PM
re: Facebook Mind Melds With WordPress Plugin
I totally agree with you when you said, "The great advantage of an official Facebook integration plugin is that it will be more likely to keep pace with changes in the Facebook platform, something other developers often struggle with." We will be adding this pluggin to our blog!
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