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Sharing to Facebook and Twitter

Sharing to Facebook and Twitter

Very often we want to share a web page to our social media locations such as Twitter and Facebook. How do we do this properly to get a good looking post in those platforms?

A recent blog post was shared on Twitter

With a Jekyll site (that’s what this is) we can use the 1liquid logic to populate the correct metadata in the page, so that anyone who shares that page will be able to make a compelling post in their Facebook timeline or for a Twitter tweet.

The adopted standards for FaceBook

The basic metadata that needs to be added to each web page uses OpenGraph to provide the various components that will then populate a Facebook post correctly. You can read all about Open Graph on this web site: https://ogp.me

Open Graph is essentially a set of metadata tags that Facebook will recognise and be able to use the data to display the link in the timeline.

Twitter has it’s Own

If you want your page referrals in Twitterto look good too you have some further options.

Adding the Code with Liquid

Here we see the code that I am using to get the correct tags in both Facebook and Twitter.

<!-- Open Graph -->
<meta property="og:type" content="website">
<meta property="og:image" content="{{site.url}}{{site.image}}">
{%- if page.blurb != null -%}
<meta property="og:description" content="{{page.blurb}}">
{%- endif -%}

<!-- Twitter -->
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image">
<meta property="twitter:url" content="{{site.url}}{{page.url}}">
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@{{site.twitter_username}}">
<meta name="twitter:title" content="{{page.title}}">
{%- if page.blurb != null -%}
<meta name="twitter:description" content="{{page.blurb}}">
{%- else -%}
<meta name="twitter:description" content="{{site.description}}">
{%- endif -%}
<meta name="twitter:image" content="{{site.url}}{{site.image}}">
<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@{{site.twitter_username}}">
<meta name="twitter:image:alt" content="Book in the hands of a monk">

Stand out with a fine picture

A recent blog post was shared on Facebook

You will see from the code block above that both OpenGraph and TwitterCard expect an image to display. In this case we use an image that has a path set out in the YAML config. In other words you need to commit to an image for your site. There are other options. You can give each page or blog post on your site an image; in this case the code snippet above might go something like:

{%- if page.image != null -%}
<meta property="og:image" content="{{site.url}}{{page.image}}">
{%- else -%}
<meta property="og:image" content="{{site.url}}{{site.image}}">
{%- endif -%}

A good description is going to help

Facebook and Twitter want some honest info to display. The question is; do you want info about the web site or about the individual page or post being shared.

Here is snippet for the TwitterCard that will get that right:

{%- if page.blurb != null -%}
<meta name="twitter:description" content="{{page.blurb}}">
{%- else -%}
<meta name="twitter:description" content="{{page.excerpt | strip_html}}">
{%- endif -%}

The excerpt in the code above simply takes the first paragraph of your post. The description will be truncated to 2 lines. Note: do not include links in this description otherwise the meta tag will be broken (you could strip the HTML from this with the strip_html code).

Validation

You should check that you have the correct meta tags working on your page by using the validation tools for the different platforms.

For Twitter go here: https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

For Facebook go here: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/

You will need to be signed in to the respective accounts to work with these tools.

  1. Liquid is the coding language used by GitHub pages and Jekyll. The language is developed by Shopify and can be explored here: https://shopify.github.io/liquid/basics/introduction/