AddThis and OG data: Inconsistencies and Preparing Ahead of Time

I’ve been working on a campaign for a client that includes sharing discrete pages from one main webpage. The webpage is comprised of a grid of squares, each representing a story that can be shared either through Twitter or Facebook.

Each block is linking to a detail page, and this URL is being used by AddThis’s API to spawn a Share dialogue box. The markup I’ve used for each tag is as follows:

<div class=”share” id=”addthis-1”>
<a class=”addthis_button_facebook at300b” addthis:url=”http://example.com/Kevin-s-Story.aspx” title=”Share this story on Facebook” href=”#”>
Share on Facebook
</a>
<a class=”addthis_button_twitter at300b” addthis:url=”http://example.com/Kevin-s-Story.aspx” title=”Tweet this story” href=”#”>
Share on Twitter
</a>
</div>

Note that an addthis:url”” is required for the share to function properly, otherwise it will just share the meta data associated with the page you are currently on. On Kevin’s unique detail page, I added the following Open Graph data tags:

<meta property=”og:title” content=”Kevin’s Story” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://example.com/kevin.png” />

At this point my share is working as expected with Facebook, but not with Twitter. Although Twitter claims to use the og title, description and image tags as a fallback from their own twitter tags, when testing my URL through the Twitter Card Validator*, I could see the appropriate information was not being applied for me until I also added these twitter specific tags:

<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary”>
<meta name=”twitter:domain” content=”example.com”>
<meta name=”twitter:title” content=”Kevin’s Story”>
<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet”/>
<meta property=”twitter:image” content=”http://exmaple.com/kevin.png”/>

After many attempts adding addthis properties inline with my links, this is the solution that has worked the best.

The first meta property you see in this list is the card type. There are various Card Types that Twitter allows you to use when sharing a story. ‘Summary’ has a standard title, description and thumbnail image. You also have options with larger images, or inline videos.

In order to use these cards in their full glory, you need to get approval for your domain. You can request this when you try to run your URL through the Twitter Card validator. That being said, Twitter claims to need a few weeks turn-over time to approve a domain - so if you want to promise this feature to a client, keep this time allowance in mind before doing so.**

My frustration with Open Graph meta tags on the whole is the complete disconnect with the concept of ‘open’-ness. Though this example only looked at Facebook and Twitter (the latter of which seems to ignore the Open Graph tags altogether), LinkedIn also supports some open graph tags but has different requirements for some of these tags. The most prevalent example of this is the og:image tag. Every social media platform requires a different aspect ratio for this image. Even Facebook, which claims to require a 600 x 315 pixel image, constantly crops my photo into a square by cutting off the ends instead of scaling the whole image down. Keep in mind that if you are wondering what aspect ratio Facebook requires today for their og:image, look it up on THEIR dev site since they change this quite often. If you’re reading an article on some bloke’s blog from a couple months ago, they’ve probably already changed the specification since then.

* Facebook has a similar validation/debug service that can be used here: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug It will basically parse your page and show you what values it’s found for meta tags that it needs.

** I actually got my approval within a few hours of writing this post. As much as I understand them wanting to manage their expectations, that seems like a way over-ball estimate. Though keep in mind my client is national non-for-profit organization managing a public service, so this may have been a factor in the quick response time.

Ten thousand coffees - an amazing way to network with industry professionals

I actually can’t tell you how I heard about this site, but I just loved the concept.

Professionals can build a profile outlining their passions, educational background and why they got in the industry of their choosing.

Students or people looking to gain some career advice, practice interviews or receive portfolio reviews, can browse through the list of professionals they’d like to meet for coffee (or just chat over the phone, via email or Skype).

Professionals include Chris Hadfield, Rick Mercer and George Stromboulopoulos (I KNOW RIGHT!?), and many others from a vast range of industries and skill levels.

So worth the wait

Honest Ed&#8217;s is having an auction today on their iconic signage. The lineup has literally gone around the entire block and almost ends where it starts at the front entrance of the Sonic Boom. Let&#8217;s hope there&#8217;ll be some left by the time I get inside!

Honest Ed’s is having an auction today on their iconic signage. The lineup has literally gone around the entire block and almost ends where it starts at the front entrance of the Sonic Boom. Let’s hope there’ll be some left by the time I get inside!

It begins

It begins

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."

- J.R.R. Tolkien (via observando)

(via mookeeb)

Spent the evening at the ROM watching &#8220;A Colonial Misunderstanding&#8221;, a documentary film on European missionaries and their devastating affects on African culture. The screening served as the first part of the &#8220;Of Africa&#8221; project to be rolled out over the next couple years.
The ROM has such amazing events from debates and workshops to parties and social gatherings, some of which are entirely free. So get on their mailing list and find out how you can be a part of this amazing community!

Spent the evening at the ROM watching “A Colonial Misunderstanding”, a documentary film on European missionaries and their devastating affects on African culture. The screening served as the first part of the “Of Africa” project to be rolled out over the next couple years.

The ROM has such amazing events from debates and workshops to parties and social gatherings, some of which are entirely free. So get on their mailing list and find out how you can be a part of this amazing community!

Of Africa - The Colonial Misunderstanding | Royal Ontario Museum

Going to be attending this film screening next week! Very excited :)

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