MITX Panel Summary - Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Connect

Posted by John Maver on Dec 3, 2009 8:08:00 AM

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Today, I was part of a panel discussion on Facebook Connect . Here is a quick summary and key points:

Panelists

1. (Moderator) John J. Maver, Jr. - Co-Founder and Principal at Thought Labs
2. Dan Abdinoor - Developer, Hubspot;
3. Leah Busque - Founder, RunMyErrand Inc;
4. Meagan Ellis - PR Account Manger, Kel & Partners;
5. Justin Levy - General Manager, New Marketing Labs;

Benefits of Facebook Connect

1. Single Sign-on - users can quickly join any Connected website using just their Facebook credentials
2. Identity and Privacy - users bring their interests, information and privacy settings with them. When they are updated on Facebook, they are updated everywhere. This is in part due to Facebook not allowing Connected sites to store a user's Facebook information locally.
3. Relationships - users bring their friend relationships with them to the site and are able to interact with them on Connected sites. Connect also makes it easy for users to invite and find their Facebook friends.
4. Social Distribution - actions taken on the site such as sharing, status updates, comments and other actions can create Feed stories that are posted to Facebook stream, enabling rapid spread of information with links back to the site.
5. Facebook API - Connect is built on top of the Facebook JavaScript Library, enabling the creation of even deeper integration and access to the Facebook API

Good examples of Connect

1. The Share button - with one line of code, you can enable users to share links, pages and other information with their Facebook friends
2. Widgets
a. The Fan Box helps get people to go become Fans of your Facebook Public Profile.
b. The Comment Box enables commenting to be added to any page quickly with user management and posting back to the Facebook stream
c. The Live Stream Box enables realtime discussion on any page with all of a user's friends. This can scale to millions of concurrent users
3. Feed stories - Digg, Netflix, iTunes and other sites can let users share content such as movies watched or key URL's via Feed stories/
4. Plugins - Wordpress and Disqus offer built in Facebook Connect integration for blog comments, along with supporting other login methods
5. Profile Information - The Fight Club site pulls a user's information and pictures to make the content more real
6. Status and News access - TweetDeck and FriendFeed enable users to set their status or read their news stream right from the application, enabling users to get everything in one place
7. Relationships - UrbanSpoon, VLane, and Joost show what a user's friends are interested in to help make better decisions from trusted connections
8. Single Sign-on - JibJab.com makes personalization easy by signing into the site in just a few clicks using the Connect login button.

The best integrations are those that are simple and use Connect to enhance the site's natural value to the user.

Results of Integration

1. JibJab - got 1.5 million users over 5 years the old way, and other 1.5 million users in 5 months via Facebook Connect
2. XBox Live - in 24 hours after launch, over 2 million Xbox Live user hooked up their Facebook accounts
3. Huffington Post - Added Connect in August and now Connect accounts for 15% of their monthly comments
4. CitySearch.com - "Since implementing Facebook Connect, daily registrations have tripled, and connected users are twice as engaged as users not using Facebook Connect. 94% of users who write reviews share those reviews back on Facebook, where 70% of their friends who see the review click on it, and travel back to Citysearch.com."

Concerns

1. Privacy - Facebook controls this via their standard privacy controls. Users can disconnect or prevent sites from having access. Facebook also strongly polices privacy issues.
2. Staying up to date - Make sure to follow the changing Terms of Service and other policies to see what may affect your integration
3. Communication - collect a user's email address up front to enable you to communication with them when they are not on the site. Facebook Connect does not automatically enable this, although this may change in the future.
4. Additional Information - collect user information only as needed and try to incentivize rather than require.
5. Account Management - integrating existing accounts with Connect can take some thinking and preparation. Spend the time to make it as seemless as possible.
6. Easy of Use - make sure that the workflow for a user to get logged in and using the site is very simple. Users expect it.

Getting Started

1. Use the simple things like the Share button, the Fan Box and other widgets for a quick start
2. Look at Facebook Connect Public Profile and go through all the examples. See how the workflows they use might fit into your site.
3. Enable Login with Connect and get it right before adding advanced functionality
4. Add deeper integration with the social graph ( a user's friend relationships )

Resources

1. The Facebook Connect Profile
2. The Facebook Developer and Platform blogs
3. The Developer Wiki
4. Blogs - Mashable, AllFacebook, InsideFacebook, TechCrunch
5. Our Book - Essential Facebook Development

Brian Rinaldi has also posted his summary of the event on his blog.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about Facebook Connect from a strategy or implementation perspective. We would be glad to help!

Topics: Speaking, Facebook, Facebook Development

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