In my post last week about how you can create a Facebook job board for free using common web development skills, we saw how you can drape your jobs with the familiar context of the Facebook page frame.
But that’s just the beginning of business benefit available via Facebook. In this post we’ll push further into Facebook innovations and focus on how you can build community there. We’ll be digging into the Facebook API (an API is a platform for programmatically interfacing with services such as Facebook), the Social Graph that drives connections, and an extension of the Social Graph called Open Graph that let’s you brew up your own connection lexicon with some linguistic kung fu applied to job boards.
Before we get to this social graph stuff though, I’m going to guess that some of you may harbor doubts that about this whole business of programming interfaces to personal networks. I know I do and several of my fellow developers at Tempworks as well.
If you’re like us, you gag when your third-cousin once removed starts sending you Farmville updates. You feel violated when some innocuous seeming service you sign up for starts broadcasting out invites to your friends. We wonder where all these ‘friends’ came from and how come we don’t even know who some of them are.
You also might be wondering if Facebook won’t be pulling stunts on its API partners not unlike LinkedIn has done in this last year to job board ‘partners’, i.e. shutting down their access in a not-so-transparent way of playing the help-my-social-network-get-big-then-I’ll-screw-ya.
Those are all reasonable concerns and they’ve only gotten increasing attention this last week as Facebook has begun rolling out “frictionless sharing”, extensions of its API that make it even more vicious in posting back to your timeline activity that you do – get this – outside of Facebook. There’s quite a backlash about that, and you can read more about that here.
My own personal take on the backlash is that when you get big as Facebook has, every nuance, every tiny change in direction, any breach of previously assumed confidences gets blown way out of proportion. Couple that with some overly aggressive demands from financial backers plus a programmer snafu here and there and you have yourself a real drama on your hands. This is why big companies have a hard time innovating, a point well articulated in Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma.
Where was I? Oh yes, the Facebook Open Graph.
We’re all familiar with Facebook ‘Like’, that innocent little button that appears by cute pictures of your identical twin nephews. We love that Like button don’t we? So easy to click. So unimposing. Such an easy way to show admiration. Better than a birthday card.
Well Facebook has taken that notion of a Like button and turned it into an industry. In this new industry that I’ll call here the social network linguistics, ‘Like’ becomes a verb (remember them?) that acts on an object (that cute picture of your nephews).
In a similar manner, Open Graph lets you create your own verbs and objects. This is just a dash through the ideas possible but it’s not hard to imaging ‘hire’ as an action done by an employer to an employee. ‘Accept’ as an action an employee does to a job. ‘Retain’ as an action an employer does with a third-party recruiter. And so on.
Unlike the moribund HRXML and other database noun-driven approaches to the linguistics of jobs, the Open Graph takes language up a level, adding, well, verbs, and more importantly, viral ways of expressing them to communities of candidates and hiring managers.