Want to let users become a fan of your website? Now you can! A new Fan Box widget was announced this afternoon which enables Page administrators to import their page content and let users become fans while visiting your site. The only thing that’s required is that you’ve installed Facebook Connect on your website, which should be a relatively simple process for any webmaster.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve been discussing how Facebook Pages can be used as great community platforms and how Facebook Pages could soon become an embeddable product. This widget is the first of such “embeddable products” that I could foresee and this is perfect timing considering my post on the abstraction of Facebook Pages is only a week old.
Social features on sites will become increasingly commonplace and this new widget from Facebook should help that. While it takes a couple of steps to get set up, it shouldn’t be overly complex. This iteration of the widget is relatively simple but I could see more complex versions in the future. What’s somewhat strange about this widget is that it doesn’t show which of your friends are on the site.
Additionally, I wonder why Facebook is investing so heavily in these widgets as a more open API would result in numerous forms of widgets, all built by third-party developers. While it makes sense for the company to roll-out simple widget products that help build instant community, the eventual “abstraction of Facebook Pages” will present even greater opportunities.
Let us know if you get the chance to set up your community widget on your site and what type of experience you have with it. I’ve also included a version of the widget below. To learn more about implementing the fan box on your website you can visit the developer wiki.