4/20/2013

Force an automatic @Mention on a Facebook post: Link to Group or Individual in FB comment


When making a Facebook post or comment you have the ability to link to another facebook page without using a hyperlink.

Facebook has changed how this works a couple of times, but currently (April 2013), the technique that works is to use an AT SYMBOL -- @ -- followed by the name.

Twitter users know this as a built-in method  for one Twitter user to mention another Twitter user in a post. It  can be used as a "shout out," acknowledgement, indirect communication, or clarification about who the subject of the comment is. Facebook's usage is similar, though not exactly the same. Facebook's links are called "Mentions" or "tagging." Making a mention often places a small note about the comment on an organization's FB page.

NOTE: Facebook has changed their software functionality many times since this was written, so I'm sorry if some of  what used to work no longer does. FB really should not make it so difficult to locate an account to cross-link. Am I right? The only information about this from Facebook appears to be under Desktop Help > Sharing > Links -- and it's not very helpful at all.

The Auto-Link @Mention Technique

When you typing in your post or comment, you usually type in something like these examples:
  • Had a really great time last night reminiscing with Mary Quitecontrary at Starbucks.
  • I bought a new, red sweater from The Limited.
The way to create a link inside the post would be to type in:
  • Had a really great time last night reminiscing with @Mary Quitecontrary at @Starbucks.
  • I bought a new, red sweater from @The Limited.
When you type @Mary Quitecontrary, you should see a pop-up menu below the name that matches her name, but only if you are her friend. If you are not her friend, or she is not a public figure, then things can be a little more complicated. 

As for @Starbucks and @The Limited, there may be multiple choices for similarly named companies or for Apps. You will have to choose the one that matches. 

Once you choose a match to mention, hit the Enter key. A light blue box will appear around the words to link to. Next, hit the space key to continue typing, or a period or whatever you need add:
  • Had a really great time last night reminiscing with Mary Quitecontrary at Starbucks.
  • I bought a new, red sweater from The Limited.
After you hit the Post button, you should see these turn into links to the person or organization.

Problems: Can't Link to the Name You Want? Drop-Down Menu Choices Not Matching? Try the @Mention code shortcut.

Sometimes, the @Mention cannot be found, or will not match on the choices because there are too many similarly named organizations. You can create a shortcut code instead.

For example, when trying to link to "Team DC" I get the wrong drop-down choices.
  • I enjoyed meeting everyone at the @Team DC SportsFest on Thursday.
The @Team DC drop-down choices I get are:
  • Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team
  • Strom4 Weather Team NBC4 Washington DC
  • DC shoes Team
  • Ladamotorsport team Kaunas
  • DCM Cycling Team
  • Mystery Team
  • DC Racing
  • Team Capitol DC Harvest
  • Darren Chris European Team
  • DC SCORES
Not even close, right? So, what do I do?

Open a new tab or window, and find the group or person you're trying to link to on Facebook -- search for "Team DC".

This brings me to the group's Facebook page, which as this URL:
The important part here is the long ID number -- 42663892980.

NOTE: FB probably stopped supporting this method some time in 2013.

Here's how you create the shortcut code.
  • Type in an AT symbol -- @
  • Type in an open square bracket -- [
  • Type in or paste the ID number of the Facebook group -- 42663892980
  • Type in a colon -- : 
  • Type in some text you want people to see -- Team DC
  • Type in a closing square bracket -- ]
  • Finish your post. 
The whole thing would look like this: 
  • I enjoyed meeting everyone at the @[42663892980:Team DC] SportsFest on Thursday.
The blue box, as seen in the auto-link example above, will not appear. So, how do you know if it will work? You will just have to hit the Post button and hope for the best. Do check the link as soon as you post it. If it isn't right, then delete the post and either fix or remove the shortcut.

NOTE: As of Nov. 2014, you can choose to post with a privacy settiong of "Only Me" -- and if you are not sure if your linking technique will work, then you should set your posts privacy to "Only Me" before posting, and then changing the privacy after you are sure it has worked.

Can't Find a Facebook User's ID? They're Using a Facebook Name Instead of an ID?

So, someone you want to link to using a Facebook nickname like "Quitecontrary5" -- and their URL is:
  • http://www.facebook.com/quitecontrary5
You won't be able to extract the ID number from that. 

So, here's what you do -- use Facebook's built-in Graph Query to find the ID. 
  • Open a new browser tab or window.
  • Visit this URL, replacing "UserNickname" with the user nickname you need to research -- http://graph.facebook.com/UserNickname
For our Mary Quitecontrary example, the Graph query URL would be:
  • http://graph.facebook.com/quitecontrary5
The webpage that you get back will be a dataset about that user. You will see their ID number at the top of the list. For example:

{
   "id": "9876543210999",
   "name": "Mary Quitecontrary",
   "first_name": "Mary",
   "last_name": "Quitecontrary",
   "username": "quitecontrary5",
   "gender": "female",
   "locale": "en_US"
}

Group ID number returns error

This appears to be a problem on Facebook's end. Several people have posted on the FB support page about this problem, but FB has not yet responded from what I could tell.

9 comments :

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