Open Graph is possibly one of Facebook's most interesting elements, as far as news organisations are concerned. It has allowed the social network to permeate the lives of its users like never before, creating opportunities to share more and more of what they do with friends. It has also allowed media organisations to benefit hugely from this social commerce. The 'frictionless sharing experience' provided by Open Graph, which essentially means sharing without having to click a button, has been enormously beneficial to the media.
If you consume media that is integrated with Open Graph, then it makes it easier for your friends to see what you have been listening to/watching/reading, in the case of news articles. This means that the potential for extra page views through social media referrals soars.
The latest version of Open Graph has now been in use since September of this year, when it was unveiled at the F8 developers conference. Since then, news organisations have been reaping great benefits from social reading apps; for example, Yahoo has drawn 10 million people to its new social integration and increased traffic form Facebook by 600%.
Using Facebook seems to be one of the most effective methods of engaging the younger demographic, as The Guardian's Facebook app has been downloaded by almost 4 million people, over half of which are 24 and under. 83% of people who use The Washington Post's social reader are 35 and under.
Some of the most shared articles in America this year have included: Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami, from The New York Times, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents, from CNN, No, your Zodiac sign hasn't changed, from CNN, Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps, from CNN and a video of a Father Daughter Dance Medley from Yahoo!.
While few of these articles are related to breaking news, it is interesting to see that multimedia elements, such as photographs and videos have made it into the tops five, along with comment and opinion pieces.
Open Graph is not simply highlighting what content is the most popular or shareable, but it has allowed news organisations to gain access to an unprecedented amount of new users and to engage with demographics that are often difficult to reach via traditional media.