Blogged Connects With Facebook, Adds Comments And Likes To Posts

Blogged is making reading and commenting on your favorite blogs more of a social experience, with some new changes that include Facebook integration for sharing comments and posts in your news feed. There’s also the ability to “like” blog posts, much like the same feature in Facebook for status updates or feed entries.

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The new Blogged interface looks very similar to a Facebook news feed, with profile photos accompanying likes and comments just below the blog previews. The new layout gives the site more of a community feel, as opposed to the previous site which was more of a traditional news site. According to Blogged co-founder Gladys Kong, this was one of the main goals of the new features.

“Traditional news media has been one-directional. and while blogs elicit reader comments, they’re typically scattered across the web for a fragmented experience. With Blogged, we’re pulling together all these stories and their insightful discussions into a single social hub.”

Another included feature is a widget for adding the new comments and likes on Blogged back to your own personal blog. This can help bloggers better track who’s commenting or liking their posts, as well as posts for blogs with similar content or interests. This can be especially beneficial to businesses when looking for industry trends and how content is being received in key demographics.

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Surfline.com Catches A Big Wave of Traffic from Facebook Connect

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Surfing lifestyle site Surfline.com (as in real surfing, not internet surfing) integrated Facebook Connect about three weeks ago, and it’s already experiencing a swell in Facebook traffic.

On Surfline, surfers can get the latest news, videos, weather reports and information on the best beaches and on where the waves are breaking. There is an amazing amount of content on the site that can be shared via Facebook. Visitors can post their favorite videos, photos or blogs to their Facebook feed for friends to see.

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In the three weeks since launching the Connect integration, Surfline is already seeing a pronounced increase in the amount of traffic coming their way from Facebook. July referrals increased 57%, and 38% over the 2009 monthly average (remember, it wasn’t even implemented until July 27th). August is already off to a great start, with trending at an 83% increase month-over-month, and 148% over the 2009 average.

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NBC Becomes The Latest TV Network To Add Facebook Connect

nbc-logo-facebookNBC has become the latest broadcast television network to incorporate Facebook Connect on its website, with a new Connect integration that allows users to share and publish their favorite NBC shows in their Facebook news feeds. This type of simple integration has been successful for other networks given how popular watching TV shows online has become.

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Other uses of the Connect app allow users to share their favorite shows, along with comments, on their Facebook walls. While this will surely drive some traffic to NBC’s site, the network is probably hoping on the extra publicity leads to people switching on their TVs to check out the programming during normal time slots.

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NBC is also exploring other uses for Facebook, offering a limited-time preview of the new show “Community” through its Facebook Page. You must become a fan of the show to watch, and there are currently a little more than 12,600 fans of the Page. That number is still pretty small, but it’s still an effective way to spread the word of an upcoming show given how many people are being exposed to news of “Community” in their Facebook News Feed.

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Online content sites like Vimeo and Joost were among some of the first to launch Facebook Connect apps, and are two of the more successful early Connect partners. TV.com also recenlty added their own Facebook Connect application, and has experienced positive results. It’s tough to compare these apps to NBC’s, as those sites have viewerships comprised completely of online users. But other networks, like CBS, are already using Facebook Connect to cater to online viewers and offer more options for traditional TV viewers, and people are logging on to watch their favorite shows.

Facebook Launches Developer Contest in Brazil

brazilcontestBrazilians have begun embracing Facebook in big numbers over the last 3 months, and in order to help foster continued growth, Facebook has launched a developers contents in the country. The Facebook Developer Contest – Brazil follows the formula of previous challenges in other countries, with Brazilian developers vying for cash prizes for Facebook Applications and Facebook Connect integrations.

This contest is the latest in the “Build, Engage, Win” series that Facebook has created targeting developers in specific countries, with successful implementation in from France, Spain, Germany and India. It’s also a great way to make inroads towards taking some of the market share currently enjoyed by Orkut, which still has almost 6 times as many monthly users as Facebook.

Facebook’s audience in Brazil has grown ten-fold from a little over 130,000 to more than 1.3 million in the last year, with most of those users coming on board in the last 3 months. However, there’s still a lot of room for continued growth. Brazilian developers who invest time and effort in Facebook should have a large audience as the number of Facebook users in Brazil continues to grow this year.

Discovery Invites You To Get Attacked For Shark Week with Facebook Connect

sharkweekThe Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is now one of the channel’s most popular TV series, and this year they’re promoting the fan favorite with a new Facebook Connect-enabled wesbite called Frenzied Waters.

The site gives you the point-of-view experience of shark attacks over the decades from Jersey in 1916 to the Coral Seas in WWII. The final installment is “My Story”, which creates a personalized video of your own shark attack by integrating data from your Facebook profile. It’s a little spooky, a little disturbing and potentially hilarious depending on the photos that get pulled into the video.

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The use of Facebook Connect to give people a more personalized media experience is starting to become more prevalent. In addition to the Shark Week video, the recent Facebook Connect-enabled Doritos iD3 promotion pulls user information into an interactive multimedia game.

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There’s no denying that Shark Week is already very popular, but if you aren’t a die-hard fan, you could easily miss it until you stumble across it by accident or hear about it from a friend. Discovery’s use of Facebook to keep Shark Week fresh in viewers’ minds and reinforce the intensity of the series is a good move. Shark Week begins Aug. 2 on the Discovery Channel.

Orbitz Using Facebook Connect To Help Users Coordinate Group Trips

Orbitz has launched a new Facebook Connect integration to help anyone making travel plans through the site share their flight and hotel details with friends and family on Facebook.

With the new Connect implementation, Facebook friends are able to see users’ complete travel plans in their News Feed when Orbitz users share those details on Facebook. By clicking on the feed story, they’ll be taken to the Orbitz site, where they can book a similar trip.

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While there are plenty of other applications for sharing travel stories and information after a trip is over, this marks one of the few that allows users to make plans before hand. Orbitz has made it easier for groups to make plans together, but further integrations by airlines could make the travel booking experience even more truly social.

Nevertheless, it’s another good example of using Facebook Connect to make sharing easy and safe while still promoting a brand and driving customers to a site.

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Doritos’ New iD3 Interactive Game Adds A Little More Flavor With Facebook Connect

Doritos has teamed with We Are Social to launch a unique marketing campaign to guess the flavor of the new iD3 Doritos. The iD3 site uses Facebook Connect to pull personal information and photos into a multimedia choose-your-own-adventure game. This adds an increased level of personalization to the game, and is another good example of how brands can take advantage of Facebook Connect to make their marketing campaigns more engaging – reminiscent of the Prototype site we saw last month.

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The game revolves around an underground group that is stealing identities, and play is broken into three episodes, with a mix of interactive 3D levels, sound recognition, interactive scenes and film content. The game opens with your character waking to the police banging at the door. After being taken to the police station, you find out that a crime ring has stolen your identity, and the authorities want you to infiltrate the group to discover the identity of the elusive boss.

The first episode is currently online, and entering a code found in marked bags of Doritos iD3 lets you start the game, as well as making you eligible for any prizes. The final two episodes will be released in mid and late August, so you’ll have to check back in to see if you can rescue your identity and help the cops take down the head honcho.

Continuing International Push, Facebook Announces Developer Contest in India

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Facebook is fighting hard to gain ground against Orkut in India, and now is launching a new developer contest for original applications developed in the country.

Facebook has just announced the Facebook Developer Contest – India, giving resident developers in India a shot at winning cash prizes in one of two categories: Facebook Applications and Facebook Connect integrations. The contest runs from now until September 11, and is only open to residents of India.

The contest is a move to spur development in a country that has seen incredible growth recently, with Facebook users in India jumping to more than 3 million from 1.6 million in May. By luring developer attention, Facebook hopes to grab more users from Orkut, which remains the dominant social networking site in India.

This contest is the latest in the “Build, Engage, Win” series that Facebook has created targeting developers in specific countries. Winners from France and Spain were announced in May, and German winners were announced last October. Facebook continues to move into more and more international markets, and encouraging developers from more countries to become involved in building home-grown applications will spur more interest in Facebook – and let more users better relate to apps on the Facebook Platform.

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Yelp Integrates Facebook Connect, Online Reviews Becoming Increasingly Social

The local review-sharing site Yelp has added Facebook Connect to allow users to easily share local business reviews with their friends on Facebook.

Yelp allows anyone to submit a review for any local business, from restaurants to shoe stores to mechanics. Once you’ve registered and written a review, you’ll now have the option of using Facebook Connect to post the review to your Facebook page so your friends will see it in their feeds. You can set up an automatic posting feature to pull every review you write over to Facebook, or choose to post only certain reviews.

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Facebook Connect has also recently been integrated into other review sites, such as Urbanspoon and Citysearch, and has led to a pronounced jump in activity in the number of reviews, comments, and photos added to these sites.

Citysearch has seen a dramatic increase in registrations since implementing Facebook Connect. The number of daily registrations has tripled since the launch, and 94% of reviewers are sharing their reviews on Facebook. The average review gets 40 views, with 74% of those clicking back to the Citysearch site. Restaurant review site Urbanspoon has experienced similar success. Since adding Facebook Connect in March, 1/3 of the users signing in to the site with their popular iPhone app are doing so through Facebook.

As more review sites add Facebook Connect functinality, Facebook itself is becoming a valuable source for unsolicited, trusted information on local businesses and services. Seeing your friends’ Yelp posts is a great way to learn more about restaurants, stores, and night life around your area. The early success suggests that users are taking advantage of these reviews, and with several different sites, like Urbanspoon and Yelp, integrating with Facebook, you’ll get a larger number of reviews that will allow you to make a more informaed decision on where to spend your money.

The increased use of Facebook Connect also brings more accountability to the restaurants, stores, and shops; any one customer can now more easily spread the good (or bad) word about your business throughout their entire network of friends, so there’s more incentive to offer a good product and excellent customer service.

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oDesk using Facebook Connect to Match Freelancers with Jobs

Members of the online marketplace oDesk now have another means of connecting to potential job contracts with the addition of Facebook Connect to the oDesk web site. One of the largest online marketplaces for freelancers and small businesses, oDesk matches writers, developers, graphic artists, marketing professionals and more from all over the world with buyers looking for their services.

odeskRolling Facebook connectivity into the already comprehensive matching methods makes it easier for potential buyers to find professionals in their Facebook network. For those providing service, it’s a way to post skills and work examples, as well as build their network of employers and other freelancers whose work can complement their own.

“The ability to leverage social media to uncover new opportunities is key to success in this difficult economy,” said Gary Swart, oDesk CEO. “oDesk has always been committed to enabling successful online work relationships, and now — through the use of Facebook Connect — oDesk users can rely on their existing Facebook friends and colleagues to connect them with timely, relevant opportunities and potential job candidates.”

Companies are looking more and more towards this type of service to fill their needs, as it is a cheaper alternative to employing full-time creative teams. Many of these companies are looking to social media sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, to find talent. The Facebook Connect integration will be a way for freelancers to tap into an established network of potential employers, and vice versa.

Utilizing Facebook also allows for a more familiar interaction — buyers and providers can finding each other through a network that is more social than commercial can lead to stronger working relationships, as there is already an certain level of communication and familiarity between the two. If each party is comfortable in the work relationship and has more communication, jobs can be handled with more efficiency, and will usually have a higher caliber end product.

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