Facebook Graph API
For this blog, I am actually posting an assignment for one of my classes this month. In the process, this may be helpful to some.
In April of 2010 Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced what was called Facebook’s Open Graph API. According to Zuckerberg, this enhanced Facebook API and supporting tools would give marketers new ways to make sense of a user’s preferences, passions and connections (Ente, 2011). Specific information can be accessed using the Facebook API — allowing businesses to make use of it on their website — increasing engagement with their customers and prospects.
For those who are not familiar, API stands for application programming interface, and it is simply a code or particular set of rules that allow software to communicate with each other (answers.com, 2011). This is extremely useful when it comes to online marketing
“At Facebook’s core, lie its social graph– people and the connections they have to everything they care about. The Graph API presents a simple, consistent view of the Facebook social graph, uniformly representing objects in the graph (e.g., people, photos, events, and pages) and the connections between them (e.g., friend relationships, shared content, and photo tags)”. Each object in the graph has a unique ID and can be accessed along with everyone and everything that is connected to it (Facebook developers, 2011). This is what makes it a great tool for marketing.
For marketers who have permission to access users information, they can type in “http://graph.facebook.com/[any Facebook username]”, and get information like name, username, type, founded, company overview, likes, etc. In addition, if a marketer’s has permission to access that person’s friends, he will be able to see the friend’s same information by typing “http://graph.facebook.com/[any Facebook username]/friends”. In contrast, with no permission, a marketer will only access a limited amount of basic information.
“Company websites can take advantage via a series of tags in the header (non-display) section of their page. For example, the tag “og: description” provides one or two sentences to display in the newsfeed, and “og :image” specifies which thumbnail picture to use. These tags help to classify “like”; for example, a user may be logged onto a site just randomly browsing, and if that site is utilizing tags and the users hits “like” for some reason, then surf away and sign into an entirely different site, he could be offered personalized content based in part on his “likes” from the previous site.
To sum it up, Facebook’s Graph API provides another means of leaving our trails as we surf the web, and this is where good social media marketers really start earning their paychecks.