Social Networking Data 123
The data stored within Twitter and Facebook can provide critical metrics around content. By analyzing trends within user growth and demographics as well as consumption and creation of content, owners and developers are better equipped to improve their business with Facebook and Twitter. Social networking data can already be viewed and analyzed utilizing existing tools such as Facebook Insights or even purchasable third party software packages created specifically for this purpose.
Pentaho Data Integration in its traditional sense is an ETL tool that can be used to extract and extrapolate data from these services and merge or consolidate it with other relative company data. However, it can also be used to automatically push information about a company’s product or service to social network platforms. You see this in action today if you have ever used Facebook and “liked” something a company had to offer. At regular intervals, you will sometimes note unsolicited product offers and advertisements posted to your wall from those companies.
Application Programming Interface
The Facebook Graph API
Both Facebook and Twitter provide a number of APIs, one worth mentioning is the Facebook Graph API which is a RESTful service that returns a JSON response. Simply stated an HTTP request can initiate a connection with the FB systems and publish / return data that can then be parsed with a programming language or even better yet – without programming using Pentaho Data Integration and its JSON input step. Check out the new Graph API Explorer here: http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/517/. The Graph API Explorer makes it easy to get started with the Graph API and test the API as you program against it and build your app.
Since the Facebook Graph API provides both data access and publish capabilities across a number of objects (photos, events, statuses, people pages) supported in the Facebook Social graph, you can leverage both automated push and pull capabilities.
If you are interested in seeing this in action, take a look at this tutorial to get you started.
Publishing content to a Facebook Wall Using Pentaho Data Integration
The following is an example of a reference implementation to walk you through the steps needed in order to have Pentaho Data Integration automatically post content to a Facebook Wall.
It is broken down into the following steps:
- Create a new Facebook Account
- Create a new unique Facebook user name
- Create a new Facebook application
- Obtain permanent OAUTH access token
- Create PDI transformation
Step 1: Create a new Facebook account