Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

A tale of two Facebook plugins for WordPress

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was trying out the new official Facebook plugin for WordPress, although at the time I couldn’t get it to work. Facebook have since issued an update to the plugin which now works for me, although at the same time I also ensured that the WordPress SEO plugin was not inserting its own Open Graph headers which may have also caused issues.

However, I’ve since changed back to Wordbooker, which I used previously, as the method for posting new blog entries to Facebook.

The main reason is that the official plugin uses Facebook’s new timeline feature, and this essentially means that any new blog entries were only showing on my Facebook profile page, and not on my friends’ news feeds. Consequently, nobody was clicking through to actually read my posts.

There is a workaround which is to make sure that, whenever you post something, that you ensure that Facebook also updates your status in the process, and the plugin adds a new field to the ‘Add new post’ screen in WordPress for this purpose. However, to me, that’s yet another thing to fill out on top of the title, category and tags, so I mostly forgot. You also can’t post existing entries this way, as the fields disappear once the entry is published, and it didn’t seem to like scheduled posts either.

There’s also the issue that the official plugin requires more effort to set up; the developer of Wordbooker already has a Facebook app that you authenticate with, whereas Facebook insists that you set up your own application. And even though it is a new plugin, the instructions are out of date and the screenshots do not match the Facebook Developer Centre as it is at present. In particular, there’s the faff of setting Open Graph actions for your application, which involve posting an entry and then submitting the action for approval, which took a few days. Wordbooker, on the other hand, can be set up in a few minutes.

I did mention in my previous post that the official plugin had a better interface, and this is true; Wordbooker’s settings are poorly designed and not very well explained. I hope that a future release improves on this to make it easier to use. But despite its flaws, I’ll be sticking with it.

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