Jumbled Thoughts About Facebook’s Open Graph and User-Network Relays/Syndication

In Is Facebook Stifling the Free Flow of Information? I noted how Facebook no longer allows you to use an RSS feed to automatically syndicate content via your Facebook Notes page, instead recommending that you post the content directly into Facebook, or specifically post an update that links to your content.

There are workarounds, of course. Here’s one I’ve just tried – If this, then that (IFTT):

iftt - RSS2Facebook

In a license controlled piece (more about that in another post… -ed.) regarding “Frictionless sharing” – exploring the changes to Facebook, Martin Belam hints that the Facebook “Open Graph” API supports actions that allow website publishers to add an action to their pages that will automatically post an update to logged in Facebook user’s stream announcing that they have visited that page. (I’m trying to find a simple explanation of this, with code snippets, but can’t seem to track one down. If you know of one, please let me know… The closest I can find is a walkthrough about getting started with the Facebook Open Graph API. See also non-technical reviews such as PCWorld’s Facebook’s Frictionless Sharing: A Privacy Guide.)

This brought to mind a couple of things:

1) the notion of webhooks; it seems to me that the user’s Facebook identity essentially provides a webhook/callback URL that allows the publisher of a Facebook app/owner of a web page that embeds a Facebook app to use page events to automatically trigger Facebook actions on that user’s Facebook account.

2) We get a new model of syndication, whereby readers of a page actually announce the fact that they have visited a page, and with it syndicate a link to that page. At least, until the (Facebook) algorithm kicks in that determines which of particular Facebook user’s friends see which of their updates…

PS watching the Facebook Open Graph tutorial video, I wondered whether anyone in the HE sector has looked at defining “Open Graph” elements for use in an educational context, and maybe built proof of concept apps that build up personal timelines based on course/VLE related actions (“completed this exercise”, “found this resource useful”, etc)?

Or maybe someone involved with OERs that lets folk share information about OER sites/resources they’ve viewed, used, downloaded etc?

I’m not suggesting it’s a good (or bad) idea, just wondering…