Facebook’s Open Graph: One Graph to Rule them All
While we may have been getting along with the “Like” button just fine, Facebook felt that only being able to “Like” something was limiting the interactions people had with Facebook. Because liking something feels like a formal endorsement of content, Facebook users are cautious about liking many brands. For example, as Zuckerberg said during F8, you may read many books a year, but only want to “Like” a few of them.
With the Open Graph, that tendency is about to change.
You will now be able to share with your friends that you are “reading” a book, “hiking” a mountain, “watching” a movie or “verbing” some other noun. You can now share everything you do throughout your day on Facebook, without giving any noun an explicit endorsement that you “Like” it.
This kind of everyday sharing has been deemed “lightweight activity” and will primarily be featured in your Ticker, the constant stream of updates in the top right-hand corner, when you are logged into Facebook. These updates also have the potential to be displayed in the Timeline, App Views, or News Feed, based on the levels of engagement they receive. Apps will now be able to create connections with users through Open Graph to create long-lasting relationships, ultimately driving new users to apps that are frequently used.
With Open Graph, Apps no longer have to ask for permission to post content to Facebook over and over again. Instead, a permissions screen will explain what information will be posted to your Facebook Timeline before the initial share.
Facebook’s partners have the potential to change how we share everything we do with Open Graph. If partners take this capability and turn it into applications and use it on their websites, Facebook will form the social layer on which the web is built.
While Edge Rank is the determined algorithm by which stories populate our News Feed, Graph Rank will decide how the content from applications is provided to users in the Timeline, News Feed, Ticker and Apps Views. It is designed to give prominence to items that are more engaging for each user. For example, if a user tends to click on music-related activity in their news feed, Open Graph will deliver music-related stories to their news feed. Graph Rank looks at our behaviors and predicts content that will engage us.
When Bret Taylor, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer, introduced Graph Rank, he said that Graph Rank will be able to understand friend and family lists. Therefore, Graph Rank would know to not show your mom the same things it would show your friends.
In the Development App, you will be able to see analytics for all the Open Graph activity users publish in your app. Using this information, you will be able to optimize your app’s Graph Rank.
The Open Graph Beta will be available to all Facebook developers. This beta will give developers access to the documents and tools to add Open Graph actions and objects to their app. In addition, Facebook developers are granted access to a pre-release version of Timeline for testing.
Most people will want to use Timeline first before adding apps, but for a few apps that work well already, namely music, movies, TV, and news, these features will work as soon as you start using the Timeline.
What this Means for Your Business
As Facebook changes in the coming weeks, it is important to stay updated on how Pages will be incorporated into the Timeline. While Facebook has not distributed any official information on how Pages themselves may change, it is evident that you must engage customers, potentially through Open Graph apps, to be present in their timeline.
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