Today everyone seems to be wishing me a Happy Birthday – it’s not really, but it is @jessemccartney’s birthday on Twitter, so I get all the “ZOMG Happy Birthday @jesse mccartney” Tweets from uber-excited fans. Some times I throw them a bone and tell them how much I love them as well. It’s fun to celebrate your birthday twice a year, so hey, why not? So I thought I’d celebrate @jesse mccartney’s birthday on Twitter with a wishlist of my own. Take it as you may, but my hope is that maybe it inspires you just a little bit to go out and create something, especially if you’re a Facebook developer. And if you don’t do it, I will. Eventually.
Here’s my wishlist. All of these are ways I can see Wordpess could be used to integrate Facebook, but no one has written a plugin yet to do what I want – please check out the documentation at http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php/Facebook_Connect for an overview on what you can do (it’s actually quite easy!):
1. A single, standalone “Connect with Facebook” button plugin – so many Facebook plugins for WordPress try to do too many things in one plugin. I want to be able to build my own Facebook integration. Add a little component here. Add a little component there. Nothing more. So, do do this, I need, at the very basic level a “Connect with Facebook” button that shows up somewhere on my blog just by installing a WordPress plugin.
You could take this further though. What if you also provided a script that reads the e-mail addresses of commenters and automatically registered them with Facebook so that if I ever wanted to do a to encourage my readers to invite their friends, they could very easily? The button could appear as an overlay that appears once for each user, and if they opt not to log in, never appears again. When the user logs in via Facebook you automatically register them with a Facebook ID.
That’s all the plugin will do. Its focus is simply login and registration and loading the basic Facebook Connect libraries, nothing more. If you want it to do more, use another plugin that builds on top of it.
2. TweetMeme for Facebook plugin – if you haven’t had the chance yet, go look at Mashable.com, now. See their Facebook share button underneath the retweet button? That’s what I want, but I want more. Here’s how I see it:
- A reader reads an article. They want to share it with their Facebook friends, so they click on the share button.
- WordPress, via a plugin, calls the stream.publish() to enable the reader to publish the article to their own stream.
- Your plugin tracks the ID of that particular share, maybe even prompting the user for read permissions, and adds it to an array of shared IDs in an options storage in WordPress.
- On every load of that particular article, each share’s likes are read, counted, and updated in another stored variable in WordPress.
- The sum of all those likes is displayed in the share button, and other readers can also share to their friends and contribute to the number of likes for that article.
- Of course, this would rely on the blog owner installing the Facebook authentication plugin above in #1
3. A “publish to Facebook” plugin that works – there are already lots of publish to Facebook plugins for WordPress. None of them fully utilize Facebook Connect though, especially the stream methods. What if I could publish a blog post, have it automatically also post into my Facebook stream, and at the same time, track every comment and like of that specific post and then post comments to the share button above, while listing comments of the particular post down below my blog post comments? Or, let’s take that further. If one of my friends on Facebook comments on the blog post itself, I also want that friend’s same comment to show up under the published stream item on Facebook as well. I think that would be incredibly useful.
4. A “leave a comment” plugin that works – I think the same could happen with comments. TechCrunch is doing this somewhat. A user that comments should have the option of publishing that comment to Facebook in the user’s stream. What also should happen though is that comment ought to be tracked. Now, when any of a user’s friends that are also previous commenters on that blog comment on Facebook, they also appear threaded underneath that specific blog comment on the blog. Or vice-versa.
5. A standalone friends widget – I want a friends widget just like the Google FriendConnect widget you see over to the right. It ought to come with a “subscribe” button, or “join my community”. When a reader subscribes, they automatically (unless they opt-out) get new blog posts for your blog added to their stream on publish, real-time. This would also work great if you develop RSS reader software, as you could also automatically subscribe the user to the blog in your reader. Again, it should be standalone though – people should be able to mix-and-match, and this would also rely on #1 above being installed.
6. An activity streams plugin – I would put this top on my list if I could (even though it’s at the bottom, because it’s the most code to develop). If you haven’t had the chance to yet, regardless of your political preference, go check out what HuffingtonPost.com has done with Facebook Connect. Log in with Facebook Connect there and you’ll see one of the coolest implementations of Facebook Connect I’ve ever seen. I wish they would release that to the open source community as a Facebook plugin for WordPress.
All the activity streams plugin needs to do is track activity of readers on a blog. A new view of the blog would appear, showing all of your friends who are also readers of the blog, and a historical news feed or timeline of what they’ve just read, what they’re commenting on, along with any other cool activity that may be pertinent. The idea is to help a blog’s readers discover new content on your blog. This plugin could track the most popular blog items, most commented, etc. and display those on the side for readers to discover. Each stream would be custom to that reader and their Facebook friends that read the blog. It could also have options to invite friends to come check out the blog.
This specific plugin could also integrate with #5 above and enable a reader to click on one of their friends, and see only the activity of that specific friend. Or, when inviting their Facebook friends to check out the blog, it could provide a way for each of those friends to subscribe and automatically receive new blog updates for the blog in Facebook.
The possibilities are endless, but I think you catch my drift. You can even package all the above into a single plugin, but I also want separate plugins. This stuff, to my knowledge, has not been developed yet, but it should. I want you to go out and build it before I’m forced to – these are free ideas and a great way to show your talent, get some free exposure here (I’ll write about each one that does this effectively), and a great amount of traffic from both Facebook’s plugin directory and WordPress’s plugin directory when you’re finished.
Let me know if you’ve written one of these – either let me know in the comments, e-mail me, send me a “Happy Birthday @jesse mccartney” or whatever. I hope I’ve started your brain juices flowing – I’m salivating at the thought! (mmm…brain juices)