Social Bookmarking Twiddling

Social Bookmarking Twiddling

:http://del.icio.us I was chatting with Brad over the weekend about making it easier for people to find our content, and he mentioned a plugin that would automatically add links to [del.icio.us], digg, and other social bookmarking services. The idea is that by making these bookmarking icons more accessible, people are more likely to bookmark interesting posts, which theoretically drives traffic.

Geeky notes follow!

Notable

I hunted down Cal Evan’s WordPress nifty plugin Notable and installed it. Couldn’t be easier! Every post now has 5 service icons; Notable actually supports a lot more, but I thought I’d start with the five ones that I had actually heard of first, and add more later if it didn’t start getting out-of-hand.

Because I can’t leave things alone, I did make some tweaks:

  • The graphic icons were of varying heights, which made them float unevenly in my layout. I made them all the same height (now 16 pixels, faded 50% to better work with my layout).

  • I added text to identify the service each icon represented. Rolling over the icons with the mouse does reveal which service the link goes to, but I am not a fan of rollover information. Help is one thing; information should be laid out where you can see it. Personal preference. Plus it looks kind of cool.

  • I fixed some typos in the function notable_define_array() that caused the output to fail XHTML validation.

<

p>This last case was the common “& where an &amp; should be” HREF encoding problem, but I couldn’t find it. I eventually figured out that that the digg, magnolia, and segnalo post_url values did not have their &s urlencoded properly, though all of the other ones were.

What made this typo particularly tricky to fix was that I thought I could just fix the definitions in notable_define_array(), not realizing that these values are copied once upon first-time installation of the Notable plugin. After that, they are pulled from the database and never updated even if you fix the typos. I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out if it was the browser cache, some mysterious PHP cache, or maybe a plugin post-processing my ampersands. Nope.

The workaround is to put the following code just before the blogbling_post_options (notable, $notable_settings) line at the end of the function:

    // ds: force update of post_url values
    $work = notable_define_array();
    foreach ($notable_settings['sites'] as $site=>$values_array) {
        $notable_settings['sites'][$site]['post_url'] = $work[$site]['post_url'];
    }

After doing that, the XHTML validates again. Whew!

Another minor gotchya is the “image path”. I originally thought this was the full path to the plugin’s image directory, but it’s actually part of the URL that Notable uses to generate the <img> tags to display the icons. In other words, you’re filling out this:

http://www.yoursite.com/notable_image_path

not this:

/home/virtual/yoursite-com/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/notable_image_path

Anyway, now that I have these little icons in place, I’m finding their colors too distracting, but maybe that will encourage people to click them. I’m a little doubtful that this will make a difference, but we’ll see.

UPDATE: I couldn’t stand it so I faded them out a bit.

The experiment in distributing original content continues!

4 Comments

  1. Ben Yoskovitz 14 years ago

    David – I know I recently linked to you regarding a post you made in the past about “ideas being worthless” and argued against your points, but I also added your blog to my RSS Reader.

    I notice you don’t have a Reddit option in your social bookmarking sites, but I’m fairly sure Reddit is available in Notable’s plugin.

    From my (relatively brief) experience with the social bookmarking sites and their impact on my blog, Reddit is hands down the winner. Just something to think about – hope it drives more traffic! (And it does look good too – I don’t find the colors distracting at all.)

    ——-

  2. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Hey Ben!

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve picked a new set of marks.

    RE Ideas: I’m glad someone challenged that idea. I’ll have to go re-read what I said. Off the top of my head, I probably said something like ideas are worthless in the sense that they DO NOT IMPART WORTH by themselves. Which, unfortunately, is how some idea-laden people see themselves. You know the type…“I had an idea that you could put wings on a car and make it fly, and then you put wings on the car and flew it…I should get 50% of the credit because that was MY IDEA”.

    On the colors: I did modify the colors actually since I posted, and they are considerably less bright…I think it fits in better with my overall color scheme now.

  3. Peter Harkins 14 years ago

    You might also check out Sociable, a plugin that does pretty much the same thing, except we’re already XHTML, require no theme hacking, and have a nice admin page.

    I tried to contact Cal Evans about working together but he ignored my mail, so… there’s two plugins. The Internet is bountiful, I suppose.

  4. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Thanks Peter! I just picked the first link I found…doh! My install is now XHTML compliant and I’ve redone the badge graphics I need, but thanks for the heads-up! I’m sure someone else will find your comment helpful.