The Facebook Conundrum

As several of you know I write a little blog to share news and other stuff with family and friends. I started out using a commercial blogger site but after a while decided to have my own domain and blogging software. Doing this let me choose my own theme (look and feel) for the text and photos. Also, I avoid you having to look at advertising. I can also host my own photos to share here plus on other sites around the Web.

Now if you want to read my blog you can simply bookmark the web address (URL) or if you are geeky the blog entry has an RSS which you can read at a site like Feedly.

However, most of you likely follow the links posted on Facebook or maybe Twitter. And it used to be easy for me to set them up. I used a site called IFTTT (If This Then That.) I could set up a small recipe there that checked whenever I posted a new blog entry it automatically got shared on Facebook and Twitter. Twitter still allows this.

Alas, Facebook killed the IFTTT connection a while ago for security reasons (they say.) So I am stuck posting the link manually. One might expect that this would be straightforward but when I tried the text showed up but my picture did not. Instead, I got some Facebook placeholder graphic.

After some googling, I found a Facebook debugger site which helped a bit. Apparently, when you post a shared link on Facebook the site sends its own “spider” over to crawl your site and check that everything is OK. Mine was missing a bunch or O.G. (Open Graph) tags for my photos so they would not show up. Now what?

Turns out I had to install a new plugin called a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) which fixes the problems. After I got this in place and working my O.G. tags were added and the photos started to show up on Facebook again.

I suppose if I used a commercial blogger site this would all be taken care of, and I wouldn’t have to geek it up to share something on Facebook. But then you’d be stuck looking at ads, and I wouldn’t be able to use my simple blog theme. Why does it always seem so hard to do easy stuff?

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