We write about Facebook and its new features that pop up quite often but its most important to see how the world’s biggest social network is slowly trying to take over your blog or website. Most people think of Facebook as a social network or a self contained website but it’s so much more and as you can see below it’s starting to creep into more and more parts of your site.
Most publishers add Facebook elements to their websites to increase traffic and achieve a better user experience but there is a danger that the whole web could turn in to one big Facebook. The problem with most of Facebook’s features is that we are all starting to become so reliant on them. Facebook’s social features for your website or blog are like drugs that once habituated you can’t ween yourself off. Here is how Facebook is slowly taking over your website or blog…
They don’t completely own the space (Twitter and Google include login options too) but it’s becoming more and more common to log into sites using your Facebook profile. Most people don’t mind doing it and the real advantage is that rather than having to sign up to sites all over the web, one click of a button allows you to sign in and pulls some of your information from Facebook into the site saving you time and cutting down on the amount of spam you receive.
Only really used by the bigger sites who have development resources to implement this but it does bring a whole new level of personalization to the web. There have been some privacy concerns voiced in the past about this but in reality it is just using public information that you have shared on Facebook to tailor your experience when you visit that site.
Facebook Like Button
The Like Button is the biggest success story that Facebook has had in the last couple of years and is now widespread across the web. Subtle changes in recent times have made this an essential tool for all publishers as the likes are now feeding back as full stories into the stream. We are seeing this start to appear in search results (on Bing) and like buttons will continue to thrive on the web. It’s amazing how quickly it has been adopted and embraced not just by publishers but by the general public as well.
You’ll have seen this pop up on sites around the web recently enough and it basically allows publishers to show you how your friends have interacted with the site in the past. It’s a great way of making people feel at home instantly on your site as they see that their personal friends have already interacted with content there.
While they’ve only been live for a couple of months, they are already on 100,000 websites and blogs around the world. Facebook is trying to change the way we leave comments, cutting down on the amount of spam and increasing traffic by publishing comments you leave back to the stream. Interestingly, you can now leave comments as your business page as well on 3rd party sites which opens up a whole new way of getting the word out there.
Facebook Like Boxes
These have been pretty standard now for quite a while and you’ll see them in various shapes and sizes all over the web. The idea is that you can encourage people to like your site within one click by displaying these on your site which is why you will see them all over homepages of sites by publishers trying to convert their traffic in to likes.
This is a small but subtle change to the way in which you make recommendations to your friends. This could become a huge sales tool for businesses as having people recommend your products or services to their social graph is massively powerful and something that people could start to rely on in their sites going forward. [See our post on how to get your own Facebook send button now.]
All of the takeover features above are embedded into sites all over the world. This is a trend that Facebook will push further down the road. The rewards for Facebook are huge as it is broadening itself out from being a website to being something that is woven intrinsically into the fabric of the web.
Still in its infancy, Facebook video will take off more over the coming year. It’s already the 3rd biggest video sharing site in the world and they try to catch up with Youtube as they have drastically improved the quality of their product in recent times. You can at present only embed videos of your own but I’d expect to start seeing lots more Facebook videos around the web soon. It’s all about that social layer and the fact that people can like the video from within, which could be enough to start encouraging some publishers to move over from Youtube in the future.
At the moment Facebook Credits are being used for Facebook apps and games but there is no doubt these will be pushed further out into the site over the next year as Facebook rolls towards its IPO. Will we see a day coming soon where credits are not only used on the site but you can spend them around the web as well? Something like the Paypal button? I think we might and that is when things could get really interesting for Facebook commerce. [See our story on: Could Facebook become the World’s Bank?]
It wouldn’t be very hard for Facebook to create a chat feature for you to embed into your site so you could talk to your customers directly in real time. The point is that whatever Facebook wants to do at this stage they can pretty much do given the scale and reach that they now have.
As you can see from the list of things above, you could almost entirely build your site using the Facebook platform. The only thing that is missing is the content itself but as I said above I don’t think Facebook is done in this space. It won’t be happy until it controls the entire web. The ultimate goal is for it to have you even creating content on Facebook. I don’t know how or when it could do that but every move it has made to date has been spot on so I wouldn’t bet against it. If people are willing to roll so much of Facebook into their current websites just how much further do you think people are willing to go?
If you want to see a site that uses Facebook in nearly every way possible to make the site more social then head over to TripAdvisor and you’ll be stunned at how social that site has become. That is pretty much the future, as slowly but surely, Facebook creeps its tentacles all over the web.