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Getting started with Bridgy

8 min read

We love Known because it’s a great platform for publishing blog posts, writing updates, and sharing the regular stream of tiny stories, moments, and images that fill our day. It’s easy to record and publish your thoughts and stories on your website, but Known also makes it easy share those stories and updates with friends on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

However, if someone leaves a comment on your post on Facebook or replies to your update on Twitter, shouldn’t that discussion be part of the original post that lives on your Known site? Yes! We think that if your content originates on your own website, the discussion around that content should also live on your own website.

That’s why we’re super excited that with Known and a tool called Bridgy, the interactions from Facebook and Twitter can come back and live with the original content on your own website.

Known supports webmentions

One of the awesome features of Known is that it has support for webmentions built in. You don’t need to do anything to turn this on. It’s part of the code in the platform. What is a webmention? A webmention is a protocol that notifies a web author when you link to a URL. It’s a way for your website to receive a notification whenever another web page links to a page on your site. If you’ve run other blogs before, webmentions work a bit like a more modern version of pingbacks or trackbacks.

If you want to learn more about the technical details behind webmentions, Ben just wrote a great post explaining how they work.

Because Known supports webmentions, we can use Bridgy to bring interactions from social networks like Facebook and Twitter and display them with the original post on our Known sites.

What is Bridgy?

Bridgy is an open source tool that pulls comments, replies, likes, favorites, and reshares from social networks and displays them on the original post on the author’s website. So imagine this scenario. I just wrote a new post about how great olive and mushroom pizza is and how I can’t wait to have a slice this weekend. When I published this post on my own website, I also syndicated it to Facebook and Twitter. Then on Twitter, someone stars my post, and someone else responds. Yeah, they want to eat pizza too! On Facebook, a handful of my friends like the post and a few suggest making pizza plans for the weekend.

But the post about pizza originated on my personal site, so shouldn’t these comments and interactions be captured on my personal site as well? Yup! I’ve already authenticated with Bridgy, so the service rounds up these interactions and sends them to the pizza post on my site where they’re displayed just like comments. Neat huh? If a service like Twitter or Facebook ever goes away, I still have a record of the conversation on my own site.

Getting Bridgy working

To use Bridgy with your Known site, visit the Bridgy website to authenticate. Right now, you can use Bridgy for things you share from your Known site to Twitter and to Facebook, so you’ll need to authenticate on Bridgy with both your Twitter and Facebook accounts if you want to capture responses from both social networks.

Bridgy and Twitter

Select the button for Twitter, and authenticate. You’ll need to authorize the app so that Bridgy knows who you are on Twitter.

Bridgy needs your URL

If you get the above message, you need to add the URL of your Known site to your Twitter profile.

If you already have the URL for your Known website listed in your Twitter profile, you should be good to go. If not, you’ll get a little message asking you to add your website to your profile. Once you’ve done that, you can authenticate again. Then you should be good to go. That’s it!
Bridgy successfully connected to Twitter

Once Bridgy is ready to go with Twitter, it should look like this.

Bridgy and Facebook

The process is similar for Facebook. Select the button for Facebook, and authenticate. Just like Twitter, Bridgy needs to know who you are on Facebook. Again, you’ll need to have the URL for your Known website listed on your Facebook profile. If it’s already there, great!

Bridgy needs your URL on Facebook

If you get the above message, you need to add the URL of your Known site to your Facebook profile.

Once you authenticate with Bridgy, you should be set up. If you don’t have your Known website listed, you’ll get a message on Bridgy asking you to add it. Then you can authenticate again, and you’ll be ready to go.

Bridgy successfully connected to Facebook

Once Bridgy is ready to go with Facebook, it should look like this.

Why does Bridgy need a website URL?

You may wonder why you need to have your website listed on your Twitter and Facebook profiles in order for Bridgy to work. To send interactions from posts on the social network back to your website, Bridgy needs to know which website is yours. For Twitter, it looks at what you posted to Twitter and it looks at what you posted on your personal website (because it sees the URL in your profile). Then it sends the interactions from a Twitter post back to the original post on your personal site. It works the same with Facebook.

Once you’ve authenticated to Twitter and Facebook through Bridgy, interactions from any new posts on either network will get sent back to the original post on your personal site.

That’s it! With just a few easy steps you can start bringing the conversations from Facebook and Twitter back to your own site. Hopefully you won’t run into any problems getting set up with Bridgy, but just in case, check below for a few extra questions and answers.

Questions and Troubleshooting

What social networks does this work with?

Right now, if you have a website on Known, you can use Bridgy to collect social interactions from Facebook and Twitter.

What interactions will show up?

If you’re sending content to Twitter, then retweets, replies, and favorites from your Tweets will come back to the original post on your site. If you’re using Facebook, then likes and comments from your Facebook posts will come back to the original content on your site. When we say “social interactions,” we’re talking about these things, interactions between people on social networks.

Why aren’t all of the interactions coming back in real time?

Bridgy checks your posts periodically for new interactions. The more you syndicate to content to the Facebook and Twitter, the more often it will check for updates.

Why aren’t all of the interactions showing up on my site?

Sometimes you might see that someone starred or replied to something on Twitter or commented on something on Facebook, but the interaction isn’t showing up on your site. In that case, it may be a question of privacy. If that person had a private Twitter profile, none of those interactions will show up on the (public) post on your personal website. Similarly, if the person on Facebook has privacy controls in place so that their comments and interactions are not public outside of Facebook, they won’t show up on your site.

Do I really have to add my website URL to my profiles on Facebook and Twitter?

My URLs on Facebook

Yes, at this time Bridgy needs to know what your website is in order to work, and it does that by checking your profile. Some of you might have more than one website (like I do). On Facebook, just list the other sites below. On Twitter, I stuck another website in my bio.

My URLs on Twitter

Is Bridgy storing my data?

Bridgy stores as little of your personally identifiable information (PII) as possible, and it never has access to the passwords for your social network accounts.

How can I learn more about Bridgy?

Check out their site! There’s more useful information about the tool on their About / FAQ page.

Uh no, Bridgy stopped working with Facebook!

Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix. Bridgy is an app that works with Facebook, and Facebook only lets apps interact with your Facebook account for 2 months without any kind of user interaction. Because Bridgy runs in the background, there isn’t much of a reason to interact with Bridgy, so you need to renew access between Bridgy and Facebook every 2 months. Bridgy will send you a Facebook notification when it’s time to renew; just click it and you should be fine.

What if I have more than one website that I want to use with Bridgy, but only one Facebook or Twitter account?

So many websites! That’s amazing! Unfortunately, at this time Bridgy can only associate one website with one Twitter account and one Facebook account. If you’re sending content to Facebook and Twitter from more than one site, you’ll have to choose which site you want to use Bridgy with.