Some Groups struggle to engage all of their members on a regular basis and the somewhat random nature of posts fails to draw these people in. We envision an extension to groups to add a mostly automated Book Club feature to give Group admins a new tool to drive engagement. The exciting thing about a tool like this is that any Facebook group in the world can use it and benefit from it!!
We want groups that use our app to:
Learn something together.
Increase group engagement through discussion/discovery/sharing common experience.
Apply lessons learned to real-world situations.
What it does
Prologue allows Group admins to create a Book Club for their group with little to no manual work. The app handles messaging, book selection, group polling for preferences on which book, how fast to read it, how often to meet to discuss it, and the format the discussion will take.
How we built it
A web app written with React allows group admins to login using the Facebook Login API and display a list of available groups with whom the user has an admin role. Once the user selects a group to start a Book Club, the Graph API scans the Group's feed and extracts a list of common keywords. We then submit those keywords to the Google Books API to generate a potential list of titles with metadata for the admin to narrow down as desired. The web app then triggers facebook posts that help the group select and order the right book, generates a book-specific facebook page for only people that showed interest, and moderates the book discussion, posting content to start discussions if needed.
Challenges we ran into
The current iteration of the Graph API is extremely limited in the actions it allows us to perform programmatically vis-a-vis Groups. We were forced to pivot in multiple directions in order to create the demo. The Graph API is also unable to create groups, events, or pages. Permissions were a little tricky when reaching the API via different endpoints and users.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Despite the limitations imposed on us by the API, we were still able to deliver a demo that conveys the basic idea behind Prologue and shows the judges what our vision could become. The front end web app in React communicates well with the backend in Python, and we feel like our demo gives a good feeling for what users can expect the full fledge app to do. Our team feels that this app would appeal to an extremely broad range of Groups and would make a valuable addition to the Facebook family of apps.
What we learned
This exercise gave us a very rapid tour of the capabilities of the Graph API. Facebook's graph API explorer is a very powerful tool for prototyping, and should be used before any code is written.
What's next for Prologue
We would hope that Facebook recognizes the engagement value this tool could bring to Groups. Because we also believe that there is very little potential for abuse or exposure of data, we would hope that limited permissions to programmatically create objects would be granted to trusted partners so that we may continue to build this tool out.
Ideally, we would love to work with Facebook devs to make this an internal facebook app, which will remove a lot of the friction and give Prologue a bigger stage. We also think there's a lot of potential in the book recommending tool, and want to create a metadata system where people can tag books and we can pull metadata tags out of groups to match with them.