By Ben Bromley and Kathryn Otto
Facebook has a variety of apps (applications) that you can use on your personal Facebook page or on your repository’s page. You’ve seen some of them, but there are a lot more available than you are probably aware of. Some, like the game FarmVille, are only appropriate for your personal page, but others, like the utility Events, can be very useful for your repository’s page. Facebook has a directory of apps that it has either created or approved for use. The directory divides the apps by:
- Business (includes things like SlideShare, LinkedIn, and MailChimp)
- Education (Goodreads Books and Quote of the Day)
- Entertainment (YouTube or YouTube or YouTube!, Vimeo, ImageChef)
- Friends & Family
- Just for Fun (Gift World is here)
- Lifestyle (Where I’ve Been - archives-related applications?)
- Utilities (Events, Family Tree, Twitter, Twitter Tab, Meebo, Flickr Tab, WordPress.com,* YouTube Tab, Blog Tab)
- Uncategorized apps, which include things like Facebook for iPhone and Facebook for BlackBerry Smartphones.
One Facebook app we would like you to take a look at allows you to create “gifts.” If you have a collection of photographs that show memorabilia, landmarks, and other items of interest from your repository or campus, you may wish to create a “Gifts” application. One example is the William & Mary Special Collections Gifts. This applications allows you to give gifts to your Facebook friends, such as a William & Mary duc cap, the President’s House, a Flight Club patch, and other pieces of memorabilia to other users of Facebook.
Its fairly simple to create your own gift application for Facebook, using Gift World or another app such as The Gift App. On the Gift World website, simply give your application a name and a description, and then start uploading photographs of items that you want people to be able to give.
After you click on Submit, you will be prompted to create and then submit your public API key and your secret. These are required to keep track of who is creating applications. Copy and paste the numbers into their appropriate fields, and then click the “Yes, they match EXACTLY, I promise” button. It should then say that your application has been successfully created.
The main way to get people to use your application is to send gifts to them so that, one hopes, they will send gifts on to others.
- If you are interested, create a gift application for your repository.
- If you’re not really interested in a gift application, look through the apps directory and find another app you are interested in and create a link to it from your Facebook page. One good possibility would be to link your blog or your Twitter account to your Facebook page, either your personal blog/Twitter to your personal Facebook page or, if you have started a blog or Twitter account and a Facebook page for your repository, connect those.
- What are the benefits versus potential disadvantages of using apps on Facebook?
- Why did you decide to create, or not create, a gift app?
- What other apps did you like, and why? (You can answer this whether you created a gift app or not.)
- Why might you want to use a Tab app (e.g. the Twitter Tab app rather than just the Twitter app)?
- Facebook Developers
- Directory of Facebook Apps
- “The Best Facebook Apps” (February 1, 2010) on DigitalTrends.com. The article divides the apps into only 4 categories: Fun, Productivity, Games, and Utilities.
- “Facebook Launches Apps Directory” article on AdWeek.com.
* Unfortunately, the WordPress.com app doesn’t make your blog entries become Facebook entries. If you want to share your WordPress.com blog entries on Facebook or Twitter, instead you want to use the “Publicize” feature on WordPress itself. To connect your blog to your Facebook or Twitter account, go to Settings > Sharing in your blog’s Dashboard. At the top of the screen that appears, you will see a list of the services to which you can share your posts. Find the block for Facebook and click Connect to Facebook (or Twitter). A message will appear asking you to authorize the connection between your WordPress.com blog and your Facebook account. Click the authorization button and you will be taken to Facebook where you will be asked to approve several different pieces that are necessary for the connection between your WordPress.com blog and your Facebook account; approve them all. For Twitter, you will just need to click “Allow” once.
If you ever want to NOT publicize a particular posting on Facebook, just click the Publicize Edit link and then uncheck Facebook and that particular posting will not show up on Facebook (or Twitter). You can also customize a message to get sent with the posting. A Custom Message box should show up below the “Publicize: Facebook” and just type in whatever you want to show up above the posting on Facebook – like you would if you were doing a link.