When I first started using WordPress, I was eager to find a reasonable method to automatically cross-post blog entries to my facebook profile. It turns out that the facebook “Notes” application will automatically import blog entries if you provide an RSS feed. Unfortunately, this duplicates content rather than directing traffic back to your blog site, and most facebook users will leave comments under the facebook note rather than the actual blog entry. Furthermore, blog owners may want to selectively post entries to facebook, rather than automatically posting every single blog entry from the website.

The solution I found was to make use of two different tools to alleviate the problems mentioned above. The first of these tools is the Feed Facebook, Leave Facebook plugin. This extension for WordPress generates a feed with modified content, where the resulting entries (A) contain only excerpts rather than entire blog entries; and (B) contain a link back to the actual entry on the blog website. Once the plugin is activated, standard feed URLs can be modified to generate the new facebook-friendly feed. The simple modification looks something like this:

    BEFORE     http://www.your-site.com/feed/

    AFTER      http://www.your-site.com/feed/?feedfacebook

Once all of this was in place, I needed a way to direct only selected postings to facebook. I decided to make use of the standard WordPress tag management system to do this. I defined a new tag called facebook-autopost, and assigned this to posts I wanted to have imported to facebook. Since WordPress automatically defines individual feeds for each tag, you simply need to use that feed URL as the basis for the final URL that you enter into the facebook “Notes” application. In the scenario presented above, it will look something like this:

    FINAL      http://www.your-site.com/tag/facebook-autopost/feed/?feedfacebook

That’s pretty much all that is needed to make this work. The facebook “Notes” application will periodically check the feed to see if new entries are available, and update your facebook profile with excerpts from all blog entries tagged with facebook-autopost.

NOTE: this method will not work if you are using other plugins that modify your RSS feeds (for example, plugins that automatically direct all feeds through FeedBurner).