If you decided to embrace Facebook’s social initiatives, you don’t have to limit the interaction on the blog. Here are two other ways to add ‘Likes’ to your online experience and/or for your readers.
If you already use FeedBurner to enhance the RSS feed, you are probably familiar with FeedFlare, the service that lets publishers add links to several services at the bottom of each feed item. I always had the impression that building a new FeedFlare is a complicated process, even for static links. But I was proved wrong when I stumbled upon an older article that explains how to create one. With some information from the FeedFlare Developer Guide, I was able to put together a very simple, static Flare to ‘like’ a blog post. To add it to your feed, visit the ‘Optimize’ tab in the FeedBurner dashboard, open the ‘FeedFlare’ section and paste the following code in the text box under ‘Personal FeedFlare’. Click ‘Add New Flare’ and you’re done:
This solution isn’t very interactive; for example, it won’t display the number of likes for the current article, like the Facebook plugin on the site. It only pops up a new window or tab with a ‘Like’ button, which the user can click (or not, if he changed his mind). I’m sure a more complex flare can be built, but I don’t have the expertise to do it. And you probably shouldn't expect Facebook to release an official version, like the Google Buzz team did.
If you don’t have a blog to manage and are only a consumer of information through Google Reader, you can add a manual ‘Send-To’ link for Facebook like. The feature is very flexible and could potentially support hundreds of sites. These is how you should fill out the fields in the Google Reader settings:
Name: Facebook Like
Icon URL: http://facebook.com/favicon.ico
There is unfortunately a downside to this solution though: if the feed you are reading is redirected through a tracking service (FeedBurner comes to mind), Reader will use this redirected link for any Send-To service instead of the original article URL. So on the exterior it looks that you are liking the same page and anybody clicking on the story on Facebook will be redirected back to the article, but the ‘Like’ will not be recorded in connection with the original article and will not contribute to the count seen by everyone if you have the social plugin on the blog. On the other hand, the FeedFlare presented above doesn’t have this problem: it uses the direct link back to the site.