How to Better Utilize Facebook as a Blogger

Yesterday, I talked about how to crap on mobile browser users by burying your lead. Today, I talk about how it craps on your own promotional vectors — specially Facebook.

When someone shares a link on Facebook, it looks something like this:

Here I’m making folks who follow my Facebook profile aware of my mouthing off. Facebook intelligently grabbed the start of my article, in this case the first 48 words. Now, 48 words isn’t enough to say “hey, here’s what I’m talking about” — after all, there is an art to this whole “introduction” thang. Still, let’s look at some others.

One of Mine That Sucks

This is one of the ones that made me think more about this whole “craft a good intro” thing. Look at that and tell me if it actually conveys anything. Since the original post just has that as the first paragraph before the blockquote hits, that tells me a bit about how Facebook treats such content. Doing that only gave me 26 words. Whee.

Some of the Recent EHP Family Posts

Here are three posts, from Fred Hicks, Rob Donoghue, and Paul Tevis, provided with merely academic comment. I think you can draw your own conclusions. (And seriously, this isn’t easy to always remember. Especially if you don’t use Facebook much or at all.) The images link to the original posts.
(Comment: Notice that it cuts Fred off. That’s normal; it does that when it hits a certain length. I suppose I could spelunk the Facebook API to find out the particulars, but the great thing about this is that I don’t have to. I can be a lazy user.)

(Comment: I find it interesting that Facebook picks up Cam Banks’ comment rather than Rob’s actual post. Goes to show how Facebook’s algorithm & Blogspot’s markup talk…or don’t…with each other.)

(Comment: I like how Paul often starts his posts with a single sentence. In the case of this post, “Everyone’s opposite is different.” Notice that Facebook doesn’t grab that.)

It’s Not Just You

I’d like to say that it’s evident of the links about that it’s not just you that’ll do links to your stuff on Facebook. Your fans & friends will, as well. So even if I was all “fuck Facebook, I hate having vectors of self-marketing that are cheap and easy, and also, hey, mah peeps,” your peeps will use it. So take note.

Here Daniel Perez Liked my post, thanks to the WordPress plug-in Add To Any. So you see what he did, how it looks, and overall the effect is has on the timeline others see. Of course, someone who likes it could click the Share button in Facebook and propagate it, meaning that whatever ends up being in the blurb based on your initial few dozen words will be spread around the Internet.

Back to that D&D Post

Let’s take a look at what that D&D post I talked about yesterday looks like as a Facebook link.

That’s very unfortunate, but not the blogger’s fault. The browser rendering looks nice enough, but Wizard’s markup doesn’t play well with social media. Goes to show you that older faux-blog technology is more of a hindrance than folks realize.


Hopefully this is of use to folks looking to make use of social media like Facebook to, you know, actually rock your social network-fu.

– Ryan


8 Responses to How to Better Utilize Facebook as a Blogger

  1. Rob Donoghue says:

    Huh. I actually am willing to be a little indifferent to how facebook grabs it because the work to voodoo ratio in it is quite askew, but it missing the post entirely is…troubling. I’ll have to see if it’s a theme issue, or if it’s an irrecoverable blogger issue.

    -Rob D.

    • Ryan Macklin says:


      Sure. I’m also in the “have someone who knows deal with that” camp. Hence why I had Mick Bradley do my blog design and why you keep seeing Daniel Perez’ name whenever I talk about plug-ins I’m using.

      – Ryan

  2. You’re welcome. :-)
    You know what’s really funny? As much as I treat Facebook disposably (far more than Twitter), I didn’t realize it had put the link in my timeline when I Liked it. I actually did an fb Share where I put a little more of an intro/context from me later on. Go figure.

    • Ryan Macklin says:


      I think that depends on the plug-in used. I know that you can, say, like Cracked.com articles and it just puts a note on the timeline without the pseudo-abstract.

      – Ryan

  3. Fred Hicks says:

    I feel like I’m missing something here. How do I actually better utilize Facebook as a blogger? There are some examples here of how Facebook “utilizes” my and other’s content, I guess, but in terms of delivering the how-to-do-it-better actionable advice … I’m not sure I’m getting it from this post. But I’m hard of reading sometimes, so this could be my failng. Walk me through it if so?

    • Ryan Macklin says:


      The intent was to, but illustrating examples, show that you want to craft your opening 50 words to be get someone interested in the topic you’re going to talk about, rather than a topic you’re not or a lengthy lead-in. (And check to see how such things work with your blog software.) However, I totally spaced here and didn’t end with “Conclusions from This” section, which I now see is amiss.

      As for instruction-based items rather than example-based items, I’ll have to think about that. Or maybe see if anyone smarter than me’s already written about it.

      Thanks for pointing that out, man.

      – Ryan

  4. Paul Tevis says:

    Curse you, Facebook, for dethroning me from my rightful place as the example of what Ryan wants.

  5. On a related topic, although it may not always matter (as in the case of “sharing” content) — you can also click on the text on FB and edit whatever is written in that box — making it something completely different from whatever text FB pulled from the initial website.

    This way, you don’t necessarily have to mod the original blog post — although your point is a valid one, and the first 25-50 words should really snare the reader’s attention…because people visiting your website may be following sources other than FB that are pulling content in much the same way, and poorly managed or displayed content can hurt a website or blog.