I’ve been testing Facebook’s Open Graph “Like” buttons since they launched in April, and wanted to post an update. I think Open Graph has merit for users and publishers, but there are latency issues causing me to rethink how I implement the protocol.
Overall it’s clear that you can do all kinds of things with Open Graph, including those bordering on the creepy. I’m not a fan of creepy so staying clear of spooky games that would freak out my visitors. (Surprise! Betcha you didn’t know I knew that about you!)
But, as long as publishers make it opt-in and transparent, it has the potential for great stuff. It makes for an efficient use of the social graph–it makes sharing easy and sharing drives traffic. In fact, in just one month on my site Facebook went from rank #4 to #1 in referring sites, beating out Google. Facebook has maintained the #1 position since. Google has always been my #1 traffic source (and that traffic isn’t going down) so this is quite interesting.
So, I plan to keep testing the Like buttons, but new sections will only have Like buttons on individual photo pages (not the roll). This should make latency a non-issue. However, it will also hide the buttons from most users, since my visitors tend to browse photos on the photo roll pages, and less often view the detail (photo enlargement) pages. I thought it was cool to scan a photo roll and instantly see all the “liked” photos… now you’ll have to view a photo’s detail page to see if that photo is liked. In a perfect world without latency, I’d continue with multiple buttons on the photo roll (fun and useful) but I can’t have pages acting wonky.
Once I see how this use of the Like buttons compares with my previous implementation, I’ll standardize on one approach. More later!