I can’t use my favorite words “share” and “open” too much, though these days… well, I will skip the droll comments. There, its twice in the title.

This post started and is mostly (at least when I start writing, I tend to wander) about sharing [openly] a very nifty service / feature / tool for sharing to the expanding range of federated services, that was crafted by Ben Werdmuller, whom I’ve been lucky to blog/social media/in person cross paths with, going way back to the days of elgg and later known. Ben blogs with a high rate of frequency like a good dog and I picked up on this sharing thing by following him in mastodon.

I’ve had my own small forays into mastodon sharing, from the ways I have set up my blog to share new posts automatically, to some sharing capability I’ve added to a few web sites, to also simple tools from sharing any web page. What’s come out of this is considering first that saying “share to the fediverse” sounds simple, it’s in many ways a multitude of modes/ways of sharing.

The kinds of tools/features we’ve seen added to sites, end up being some kind of smorgasbord of icons to specific services. What may not be readily apparent, or for that matter, even meaningful, is that using a means to share to a single social media service that allows it, ends up being relatively easy as it is known which site it goes to, and how to pass the information through a url parameter. It’s a single approach (unless they decided to not allow it).

For anyone to share something to their Mastodon account, doing this is easy as adding to the URL for their instance or server, the parameter /share?text=blahblahblah — so I can build links, buttons, bookmarklets letting me share on my specific server

You cannot however make this a general service for anyone else, since there are many possible urls out there to route it through. It’s easily done, but it’s just one more step needed to allow someone to specify where to share, and some way for their browser to remember this.

That’s a lot of mumbo jumbo pre-amble, but says much about the difference of working with just one single social media provider to a system of many possibilities.

So to stretch this out, let me first jump to ShareOpenly, then my own bit of fiddling to do this myself, and then a bit of consideration of what/how is meant by sharing to the fediverse.

Shine the Light on ShareOpenly

I recall Ben posting there a question polling about fediverse sharing apps/services –more than Mastodon, allowing sharing to multiple federated services, or as Ben blogged

You know all those “share to Facebook” / “share to Twitter” links you see all over peoples’ websites? They’re all out of date.

Social media has evolved over the last year, yet nobody has “share to” links for Mastodon, Bluesky, Threads, etc. There have been a few attempts to create “share to Mastodon” buttons, but they haven’t taken the larger breadth of the new social media landscape into account.

So I’ve built a prototype, which I’ve called ShareOpenly.


Indeed the answer to Ben was, the one I always like seeing, “I’ll build one myself”. It’s a fully open service running now at https://shareopenly.org/ And there is now also a WordPress plugin — I’m glad I delayed on building one myself, it’s now running on my blog here at the bottom of every post.

C’mon, give it a try, share my post, please! Look for the link with the icon at the bottom of this post. Or go manual, you can even make a link to do a share. On following that, ShareOpenly will let you enter which fediverse server to use, or add your own instance (which is remembered as an option the next time you do this).

The fabulous thing here is that this opens more doors than thinking of sharing to the fediverse as just mastodon. See?

That was the direction I first went with on my own projects, thinking solely of Mastodon.

My Share to Mastodon Fiddling

I have used on other sites projects a great service, MastodonShare (blogged here first as Mastodon Link Play) of which I also have my own bookmarklet tool I use while roaming the web for sharing sites I find to Mastodon. This means I can share anything I come across, to my Mastodon stream. I use it often for sharing my flickr photos.

If you are bookmarklet aware you can drag this Toot! link to your browser bar or make use of the code:

Let’s say I am reminiscing the taste of old Baltimore I sampled in April, a flickr photo of the codfish cake or “coddie” at the Essen house I can only click generate a share link I can zap to my Mastodon:

Yummy, eh?

I also was able to add MastodonShare as a means of link sharing on the OEG Connect Discourse community using the Social Share component with my own settings – there is a more detailed post on how this works in OEG Connect though recently I have now replaced it with ShareOpenly.

And I also have added sharing buttons using MastodonShare to my fleet of silly random generators. because who would not want to share to Mastodon Woopty do!

Let’s say I generate a nifty EdTech Metaphor (the original generator based on Martin Weller’s first one), look, I can share to Mastodon or some other weird network:

"Use the growth of interest in vinyl records as a metaphor for OER." with buttons meant to offer Share to Mastodon or Twitter, and a "Make Me Another" button to create a new random metaphor. In the background is an image of some old industrial machine that bangs a drum

And look! I just did this in one click to the best sharing option (note for the most part I have removed the connection to the service I will only call Twitter; I set my generators with options to let you decided to use one, both, or neither).

Tooted it just now!

It is possible to offer a share to mastodon button/link without the use of an outside service, it can be stand alone, I had to do this to have a button to create a response to the DS106 Daily Create because– now I forget? There was some kind of problem with URL encoding the message with MastodonShare. Did I blog it? I must have I cannot find it. But I know I used the Share on Mastodon code found in GitHub.

So for a recent Daily Create number 4536 there is a button you can use that starts a response with all the stuff needed to post.

Detail from a Daily Create with a box of instructions reading "Post your response to @tdc@social.ds106.us and be sure to include the hashtag #tdc4536" A red circle is pointing out the Post to Mastodon button

Just to show you it works:

All of these achieve the sharing to fediverse through some means to first let a user specify to what service/URL they wish to post through, and having it saved in a browser via local or web storage — a much simpler and less slimy means than browser cookies.

The Ways of Sharing

My experience in these bits of playing around suggest when we say sharing to social media, its one of a few variations of how and why.

  • I want to share my own stuff to my fediverse account automatically when published (pushing my stuff to my accounts). For say WordPress, this is now something a lot of folks are doing via the ActivityPub plugin which turns your WordPress site into its own fediverse instance. Sort of. I tried that when it first came out, but then put it aside, but have comeback to it again. The thing that does not work for me is that my blog is me and I really want it blogging to my main Mastodon, not some things of its own. I ended up and still use my gizmo means of using IFTTT or make.com to monitor RSS feeds and then having it post to my Mastodon feed of choice.
  • I want to make it easy for visitors to my site to share my posts to their own Fediverse account (pushing my stuff to other accounts). That’s where ShareOpenly shines. Especially now with the WordPress plugin. But you can also achieve this on any web site with MastodonShare or likely a fleet of other services. Or just do it all within a site using Mastodon Share (that’s a different one, the stand along code).
  • I want to be able to share anything I find to my fediverse account (sharing almost anything from a URL). I don’t hear much of this, but I do it frequent, can can be done as a browser bookmarklet using ShareOpenly or MastodonShare.

Share / Shrug ?

This is most likely more nuts and bolts than anyone cares about. It’s a good lesson why I stand by my poem of Get Federated – it’s the internet DNA of not being fixed to a single provider for sharing and also that we have an array of tools we can use of the shelf, like ShareOpenly or MastodonShare, and without going too deep into the geek programming world, bend them to our own sharing use cases.

Well, at least that’s how I see it.

And ShareOpenly breaks the door even wider than sharing to Mastodon, and I intend to be using it to update some of my examples listed above. Thanks Ben for demonstrative and elegant means of sharing.

Give it a whirl below via the icon link. And do more sharing openly.

Featured Image: One of mine! For some reason, I do not need to use Generative AI when I have photos with almost all the metaphors I ever need. This from a time of construction at the Vancouver Art Museum, the message of Art Makes Us Share contradicted by the Keep out sign. Sharing seems simple, but sometimes….

Sign on a construction fence reading in large text "It Makes Us Share" which seems in contradiction to a smaller sign that reads "no unauthorized entry keep out"
The Contradiction of Sharing flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)
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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


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