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Throw a sheep at your friends on Facebook

Third-party apps enable users to go beyond the simple poke.

Throw me a sheep, darling.

Does "owning" a friend on Facebook sound more appealing than merely poking him?

Three new applications take the "poke" button on Facebook further.

Kathleen's wild 'n' crazy poking application lets users send a customized poke. The first step is identifying the "victim," followed by "method of attack" (impaled; nuzzled; duct-taped with, for example, a rusty spoon; chocolate-covered raisins, and so forth) and place of attack (eye, outer space, lung, teeth). This application works with Facebook but is separate from it--a big turnoff.

XMe lets its users change the default verb that appears under the photo on their profile. Elsewhere on their profile page, the XMe application allows friends to fill in their own verb to "X" the profile's owner.

Of the three new poking apps, SuperPoke has the best balance of features and design. It lets Facebook users "bite," "pinch," "own," "marry," "worship," or "throw a sheep at" friends. It doesn't have the flexibility of XMe. But it is a lot less aggressive about forcing itself on your friends when they use it to not-poke you.

Although Xme is the most popular poking application on Facebook, SuperPoke is the best of the bunch. It maintains the original vibe of the "poke" button, while adding just the right amount of creativity. It also integrates nicely into the Facebook platform and doesn't require that a person install the app on their own profile in order to Superpoke you from your profile. XMe, in contrast, won't let you use it to nudge someone whe has the app on their own profile unless you install it, too.