Awhile back, I saw a few nifty social plugins on other people’s website that allowed users to instantly share articles, content or pages to friends on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Digg, etc. The social plugins are in a form of a set of individual buttons, so that users can choose from what networks they want to share to, and click, to share. (You can see examples of these share buttons on bottom of this article). They simplify sharing in one step, so that users can easily and instantly share links and content instead of having to manually copy and paste HTML embedding coding tags onto the social networking sites.
Because I had no idea what they were called back then, I had to do some research, look at the sources of the pages using them, and search online to find out that it’s “social plugin.” Then the next easiest thing was downloading and installing the free social plugins to Joomla. Some of them didn’t quite cut it because they were not customizable enough, broken, or the button images looked bulky. It came down to The Ultimate Social Bookmarking Plugin, which had visually appealing small shiny buttons and were customizable enough to include it the way I wanted to. I get to control it via CSS, labels, and what buttons I want to include. The only thing was, maybe because of the way I set up my blog (subcategories), I had to painfully tweak the php plugin source code because there’s a bug with grabbing the URLs that you want to share. But after that, it worked like a charm.
More recently, I’ve been seeing all these nifty Facebook plugins on websites, that helps promote Pages created on Facebook and website content. They are customizable, and can be embedded (code copy and pasted) onto your website. One is the “Like Box”, where users can see how many fans there are on the Page on Facebook, instantly become fans of the Page, or see the latest page status updates (similar to Twitter). This is a great way to keep users updated (e.g. if you want to use that instead of updating news throught he Page for website). Then when users are on the Page on Facebook, it helps promotes content through activities that automatically show on the news feed (e.g. when you comment on the page, it shows in your news feed).
The “Like Button” is somewhat different in functionality and placement. This plugin is associated with a particular page on your website. For example, if you have an article, you can put the Like Button on the bottom so that after users read the article, they can click Like, and it will automatically show up on their Facebook profile news feed? “Jane Doe Likes ‘Yadda’ on Yadda.com” which links to that article. Your friends will see your activity through the Facebook news feed (assuming they didn’t hide your activities), and then if they are interested, can click to go to the web page you just Liked. Then when they like it, they could also click Like, in which their friends see the Like activity on the news feed too, and so forth. If people keep doing this, then your page can go viral.
Also, note, that?contrary to popular fears, if all of a sudden you’re on a web page, and notice that it shows that you and your friends “Like” something, it is because you are ALREADY signed in to Facebook, and its just showing it to you, NOT to the public. You can even test this by logging out of Facebook and reloading the web page with the Like plugin. The public just sees a count, not the names of you and your friends. The Like Box (shown with names/pics blurred out), just shows thumbnails of existing members, if you set it to display.
Both of those I put on my website after each article/content, but I haven’t tried any of the others yet. I definitely want to find a set of share buttons social plugins, but made for regular web pages, (similar to the Joomla The Ultimate Social Bookmarking Plugin). You can see live examples of the Joomla and Facebook plugins on my website. To find out more details and official documentation on how to customize/embed Facebook Plugins:? http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins