Techcrunch and Marshall Kirkpatrick reported yesterday on the new API that is being rolled out in Facebook. A section has been set aside for new apps that can be inserted into a Facebook user’s profile. What’s really interesting is that Project Agape is mentioned in the list of organizations that are being rolled out on the new Facebook platform. I haven’t heard much about Project Agape but this is a huge competitive advantage for them if it works the way I think it will work. Project Agape is theoretically capable of leveraging the entire Facebook community into donating to charity and it’s currently the only nonprofit-oriented project in this space. As a result, they have a several month advantage plus this integration will be embedded into their corporate DNA so to speak.
I’ve only just joined Facebook recently and I’m definitely sold on it as much as I’m sold on LinkedIn. However, the addition of a Facebook API that allows for the insertion of your own content into a user’s profile is pretty damn smart. I await the first Salesforce.com + Facebook mashups. Let me give you my take on what that mashup would look like.
There’s already a Ruby library for Facebook called RFacebook that’s been released as a Ruby gem. However, RFacebook doesn’t have the new 2.0 method calls in it because the
new Facebook API hasn’t quite been published. However, the old new API is still alive and kicking so it’s worth it to take a look at it and understand it for future work. And yeah, it looks like you can add the developer app as an app in Facebook — very slick.
So here’s the future (less than six months) scenario:
You build a new Facebook App called “My Nonprofit’s Next Walk-A-Thon!”. You create sign-up forms within Facebook for your organization’s latest activity or event. You’d then use RFacebook to pull the data out of the Facebook profile for your user and then you use ActiveSFDC to sync that data with your Salesforce.com records. That’s right, you can leverage one of the biggest social networks for your nonprofit’s events just like Project Agape. Sorry Convio and Kintera users, you’re out of luck with this being done for you in a programmatic way. That can’t happen until Convio and Kintera publish a read-write API for their respective platforms. You can still do this via manual import though.
Update (6/20/2007): I just did a an interview with Joe Green and Chris Chan of Project Agape. It looks like it’s going to be difficult for your average nonprofit to set up a Facebook app especially if that app goes viral.