AddThis Facebook sharing

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11/21/2011 3:53:39 PM
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AddThis Facebook sharing

Hi Joe, I'm not sure if this is a mojoPortal or AddThis issue. When we try to use AddThis to share a blog post on Facebook, we are getting the blog title okay, but the shared text below the title isn't the blog excerpt, it's text from the "Sidebar Upper Content" section of the blog settings. If we blank out the Sidebar Upper Content section, it doesn't include anything in the share except the title. You can try this out on our news site.

Thanks,
Jamie

11/22/2011 12:25:02 PM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

Hi Jamie,

Who knows what logic they use to determine what to scrape from the page. There are 2 things you can do that may help.

1. Add a meta description in your blog posts, one would think if that exists in the markup they should use it.

2. Potentially the fact the the side bar content is higher in the page than the post itself may be a factor. You can move it to the bottom by adding this in your theme.skin:

<blog:BlogDisplaySettings runat="server"
UseBottomNavigation="true"
/> 

but that "may" require some CSS changes if it throws off the layout.

Hope that helps,

Joe

11/22/2011 4:12:40 PM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

Hey thanks Joe. I haven't tried moving the side bar content down yet, but I took a crack at the metadata to see how it works. This is the first time I've attempted to use the mojoPortal custom metadata, so please bear with me if I missed something. According to the AddThis Optimize Facebook Sharing page, they recommend using Facebook Open Graph metadata. I tried to set up the "og:title" and "og:description" tags through custom metadata. I was successful in getting the metadata to populate in the page source, but the metadata renders with a name tag as:

<meta name="og:description" content="This is my blog post" />

According to Facebook's documentation, it should be a property tag like this:

<meta property="og:description" content="This is my blog post" />

So custom metadata won't work as it stands now. But beyond this difficulty, it's clear to me after going through this that manually adding and populating custom metadata fields on every blog post is going to be a total non-starter from a usability perspective.

So, to get around this, assuming the "Hide AddThis Button" option is unchecked in blog settings, how feasible would it be to automatically populate an og:description metadata field containing the blog entry excerpt? I'd suggest allowing users to directly enter key OpenGraph fields within the blog post itself, for things like the image, but I know that's a lot of work and don't know if it's worth it. How popular is this OpenGraph protocol anyway, and is anyone but Facebook using it? I did see one post about OpenGraph here back in July, but there was no follow-up to your response... If they had tried to use custom metadata for it as you suggested, I think they would have hit the same issue I did.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving Joe! As always I really appreciate your help.

Jamie

11/22/2011 4:16:24 PM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

Hi Joe, I just realized you might have meant to use the standard "meta description" field. I tried populating that with text and it didn't work either.

Jamie

11/23/2011 6:57:24 AM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

Hi Jamie,

Yes I was talking about the regular meta description.

The problem with custom meta fields like open graph is that it is very xhtml centric and it makes it difficult to validate your page with the w3c even for xhtml but especially for html 5.

However, according to this thread on stackoverflow it actually will work using 

<meta name="og:description" content="This is my blog post" />

instead of:

<meta property="og:description" content="This is my blog post" />

and that will make it valid

To be honest though I think Facebook should make it work using a plain old meta description so that we don't have to have the same description in multiple meta elements. 

I've added a ticket in the project tracker though to see what we can do, maybe we can automatically add the 

<meta name="og:description" content="This is my blog post" />

based on the normal meta description since we can't make Facebook change their ways.

Best,

Joe

12/1/2011 1:06:40 PM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

fyi, the latest release 2.3.7.5, automatically adds the extra meta description and it does seem to work with the Facebook like button even though we are using the name attribute instead of property to make it valid. 

Best,

Joe

12/1/2011 1:18:29 PM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

That fantastic Joe! I realized after I read the thread you linked that it may not have been working for me due to Facebook's odd caching method, so I'll give it another go after we upgrade to 2.3.7.5 sometime next week.

Jamie

11/15/2012 7:43:27 AM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

Tried it just now, somehow didn't work for me, seems to require meta property and not meta name.  Wonder anyone else having same problem as me or anyone successfully got it work with meta name?

Is there a way to enter meta property rather than meta name?

11/15/2012 8:26:29 AM
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Re: AddThis Facebook sharing

Are you populating the meta description for the page or blog post? It can only add it if it has been populated. Both cms page and blog posts have a place to add extra meta elements but you really should only need to add the meta description.

Also if you are using AddThis you should use the newer AddThis Widget as opposed ot the older AddThis Button. The skins that ship directly with mojoPortal were all updated to include the AddThis Widget in layout.master but older skins and skins in the extra skins download still have the older AddThis button.

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