Archive for April, 2011

facebookification of everything

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve been experimenting with WordPress plugins which connect to Facebook. My first effort was something called Simple Facebook Connect. That one’s a frightful misnomer. If there were any justice in the world, they wouldn’t be allowed to use the word “simple” in the title. In order to use the thing and it’s allegedly fantabulous functionality, one must create a special Facebook App. Fifty-seven WTFs and sixty-three huhs? later, I managed to create an app (or at least I thought I did) and copied and pasted the long strings of jibberish into the correct (?) places. I activated several of the features, and voila! Nothing happened. No FB anything anywhere. I have no idea what went wrong or how to troubleshoot the thing. Somewhere along the way, I even lost track of what I was trying to do exactly. So I gave up on that one, and tried some other plugins.

Next up was the WordPress Facebook Like Plugin. Now that one is simple. It just took a few seconds to download, install, and activate. Now I have like buttons on all the posts that nobody ever reads.

Now, the newest of the bunch: Embed Facebook. Their description says:

Embed Facebook lets you embed various Facebook objects (album, event, group, note, photo, or video) in a post or page. You just need to paste the URL of a Facebook object anywhere in a post or page, the plugin will automatically embed it for you.

Sounds good. I’ve downloaded and installed it, so here’s a test. Here’s a gallery from my new artist page:

And here’s the artist page itself:

facebook and the perpetually steep learning curve

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

One reason I’m broke all of the time is I spend an awful lot of unbillable time learning new stuff and re-learning not-so-new stuff that I don’t use enough to keep fresh in my crowded little brain.

Case in point: Facebook. I started an FB account a year or so ago, largely so I could figure out how to do stuff for a client. I fiddled with it a bit, solved the immediate problem, and moved on… I thought. It didn’t grab me as being immediately useful or profitable for my own stuff. But old friends started tracking me down, I linked my YouTube account to my FB account, I started posting some photos, I started getting some photo fans, and so forth.

Gradually, I began to realize the power of the giant monster that is Facebook. I realized that several of my other clients should at least have “like” buttons on their sites, even if they don’t want to set up their own business FB pages. So, I went to work figuring out how to use some of the FB widgets, and incorporating them into existing database-driven sites. That was pretty simple once I figured out what the bleep I was doing. But figuring the bleep out took a while. So, it wound up being a total of a couple of billable hours spread around three different clients, and eight or so hours of banging my head on blunt objects.

Today, I started work on a new client’s site. She wants a WordPress site (this is a WP blog) with built in FB functionality connecting to her event’s FB page. Seemed simple enough in the abstract. But, it’s a whole new can of worms, learning-curve-wise. In order to do her site as a credible professional, I have to figure out how to use a new set of tools, using my own WP blog and my brand spanking new FB artist page (Garth Hagerman Photo & Video) as guinea pigs.

So, first I had to start the FB Artist page, then update my blog so it’s running the current version of WP. Next, I install the FB plugins.

At least I get to put some time into promoting my photo stuff.

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