News Feed Improvements
by Valerie Hajdik - November 21, 2007 at 11:27am

As part of our ongoing improvements to News Feed, we recently made it possible for users to see stories from applications they have not added. To help us choose the stories that are most interesting to our users, we’ve also added a user feedback system that allows users to vote for stories they like and against stories they don’t. This change is beneficial to you, as application developers, because it could potentially give your application stories wider distribution. At the same time, however, a larger pool of application stories will be competing for each spot in a user’s News Feed. Here are a few tips for getting your stories out to the largest audience:

1. Use feed.publishTemplatizedAction and register your story templates with us. Only stories with registered templates will be visible to users who have not added your application. If you know your story is only interesting to users who have already added your application, choose the “added users only” option so other users won’t see it. (Note: We recommend using feed.publishTemplatizedAction even if you are not registering the template because feed.publishActionOfUser will eventually be deprecated.)

2. Link to pages that the user can view without being logged in to your application. This is your chance to capture the user’s attention and show him or her the value of your application. Being directed immediately to a login prompt is not an optimal experience – the user may vote your story down, which would make it less likely to appear to other users in the future.

3. Be creative. Write interesting stories. Write stories with useful (and truthful) content. Publishing fewer, higher quality stories will get you more distribution than flooding your users with meaningless stories. It’s up to you to find out just what will make your application stories stand out. We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with.