Using Wordbook to Cross Post From My Blog to Facebook

This is a test, but I might as well explain what’s going on.

If you are reading this on Facebook, then I successfully used a WordPress plugin named Wordbook to notify my Facebook profile of the latest post on my non-Facebook blog, Margin Notes. (If you’re reading this on, well, never mind. If you don’t know what WordPress is, it’s basically the software that powers this web site.)

Wordbook was no problem to set up. Once I figured out that I needed to switch my server setting from PHP 4.x to PHP 5.x, it took about two seconds. I use Dreamhost, so this switch was dead easy, but of course your results may vary.

Okay, so it looks like you wouldn’t be “reading this on Facebook” (or any more of this than just the title). I am checking to see if there are options that allow you to show more of the post.

There are such options. You have to go into Facebook’s “Application Settings,” and – in my case – select “applications granted special permissions” in order to be able to see Wordbook. Then you can “create a box,” so that your past blog posts show up (just the first line or two of each) in a box on your “boxes” tab. You can also set it to allow posts of different lengths. Looks like “short posts” just automatically excerpts the first 100 words or so of the post both on your profile wall page and on your friends’ “home” page, but doesn’t pay any attention to anything you might have put in the WordPress “excerpt” box. Oh, well, works for me.

Update to the update:
Never mind. Wordbook doesn’t post to the Facebook “home” page, just to a “box” on the users profile page. That makes it pretty useless for me, since I don’t think people are going to go to profile pages very regularly, especially with the new design. Instead, I’m using the native Facebook Notes feature, “import a blog.”

To do this yourself (as of March 16, 2009, the “new” format):

  1. hover your mouse arrow above “settings” in the top bar of your Facebook page.
  2. A small menu will open; click “application settings.”
  3. In the list of applications, click “Notes” (not “edit settings”).
  4. On the page that opens, you will see notes from your friends and a gray sidebar toward the right of the page. In that sidebar, toward the bottom, is the heading “Notes Settings.” Under that, you’ll find the start of the process for importing your blog posts as Facebook Notes.

One drawback for this method ¬†as opposed to Wordbook – is that the posts won’t be readily identifiable as coming from an external blog. In other words, there is nothing to distinguish the Notes-imported blog post from a regular Note, composed entirely in Facebook.

This application won’t really drive traffic to your blog, either, if that’s important to you, because the post can be read in its entirety on Facebook. If you open the full post page on Facebook, by clicking on the headline of the post, you’ll see a link for “view original post,” which will take readers to your blog. But it seems likely most people won’t bother, since they can read the whole thing on Facebook.

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