I, perhaps like you, has heard of a little site called Facebook. In an effort to dominate the world provide Internet users a way to share pages with their friends, they have released what they call an Open Graph protocal. This public API allows developers a new and rich way to interact with the Facebook audience (400M+).

Many popular sites have already been implementing their most popular feature: the infamous Like button. You have probably already seen this at the top or bottom of many articles; it’s the little thumbs up icon that allows readers to post the current article to their wall, thus promoting the article to their friends. The easiest way to get it on your site is by using their generator: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like.

The cool part about this is that they also offer additional meta-tag so your page can show up on search results and the users profile. Adding these optional values will really beef up your¬†presence on Facebook (that’s a good thing). If you plan on using the ¬†like button, you should put the extra effort to add the optional meta-tags. Doing so won’t slow down your page, it will only help people find your article easier.

Their API also offers developers the ability to query their database via Facebook Query Language (FQL). It’s pretty badass.

An example of a query would be the following:

https://api.facebook.com/method/fql.query?query=SELECT share_count, like_count, comment_count, total_count, click_count, normalized_url FROM link_stat WHERE url="http://google.com/"

This returns an XML output of the query used. This can be extremely helpful when you want to grab specific information and do cool things with it.

Stay tuned for a future post where I’ll go over how you can render your query output to a page and make it look all pretty.