The Lure of “The Lure of the Labyrinth”

Particular points on the perils of picture placement in posts.

In an attempt to organize my thoughts about 3D printing, I wrote a blog post: The Lure of the Labyrinth. In that post I included several pictures.

When someone write a typical blog post and they want to include pictures, they upload the pictures as part of the post. In essence, the pictures are stored on the same system that hosts the blog.

I can’t do that for my blog posts, at least not right now. I’m still writing my posts on my own little server, which is not yet directly accessible to the rest of the internet. That’s why if you click on the links on the bottom of the LiveJournal posts they don’t take you anywhere; any photos I uploaded to the private server would be equally invisible.

So if I want to include pictures in my blog posts, I have to put them on some third-party site and link to them. In previous posts I used Instagram for this, but Instagram is a pain to use in this way. For The Lure of the Labyrinth I decided to use Dropbox.

I created the blog post on my private server. Then the magic happens:

  • From my server, the post is automatically cross-posted to LiveJournal.
  • LiveJournal automatically posts a entry in my Twitter feed.
  • Twitter automatically sends a copy of the tweet to Facebook.

One post = three social media streams. Yay!

Everything gets posted to my wgseligman account on all these systems. However, The Lure of the Labyrinth is also relevant to my Facebook shop. So I compose an additional tweet on my Kickin’ Wiccan Twitter account, and then manually copy that tweet to my Kickin’ Wiccan Facebook page

And then Facebook blocks the post. I see a dialog box: “This message contains content that has been blocked by our security systems.” Huh?

After a report to Facebook (which went unanswered), a support message to LiveJournal (which was answered, but only half-way helpful), and much pain I found the answer: The problem was linking to Dropbox in the original blog post. Facebook hadn’t scanned the web page when it was automatically cross-posted from Twitter, but they did when I typed the link manually.

I copied the photographs to an old Flickr account that I hadn’t used in six years. I updated all the links… and Facebook still wouldn’t accept it. After more pain, I realized that Facebook wasn’t reloading the page after I made changes to it. Once a failure, always a failure. So I copied the entire text of the post, creating a new one with a new URL.

Finally, Facebook accepted it.

The lessons I learned from this:

  • Facebook thinks that Dropbox links are security hazards. I can see the point, though I wish they could have been more explicit in their message to me.
  • Facebook stores external web pages in its buffers. Changes to those pages aren’t reflected in the Facebook previews or security checks.
  • It may be time to “put up or shut up” with my private server. My original goals were to provide a blogging platform that wouldn’t go away if LiveJournal was shut down by the Russian government, and to provide a safe place for my Wiccan friends to talk and plan without a media company analyzing their words. The first goal is still relevant, but I’m pretty sure that my Wiccan friends don’t care about the privacy issues and would not use a separate secure server even if were offered to them for free.
  • Thus endeth today’s lesson on the perils of marketing!

Leave a Reply