Over the last year or so, the number of Twitter plugins has increased at an exponential rate. There are about a billion different ways to display your tweets, your friends’ tweets, your enemies’ tweets, your parent’s tweets… in your sidebar. You can post to Twitter from 95 different places in your WordPress dashboard, and your posts will automatically post to Twitter if you simply breathe on your computer… Twitter has officially become part of blogging.
In no way is this a negative thing, though! However, writing you a list of plugins that might as well just come packaged with the next release of WordPress would be useless to you – well, maybe not useless, but a topic for another post, another day.
Here, I want to discuss the forefront of Twitter integration. These plugins have taken interaction and integration to the next level and have really utilized Twitter in new ways that can only help the success of your blog. They increase socialization, increase promotion, and everything in between. I hope you appreciate them as much as I do.
I’m pretty obsessed with this plugin right now.
Let’s say you write a fantastic, slightly controversial post on your blog. You get a few comments from your regular readers, despite the ~45 retweets of your post. The post is clearly popular, so where is the discussion? Most likely, the discussion is on Twitter. If you’re anything like me, at this point you’re frustrated that your fantastic blog post doesn’t reflect the amount of discussion that was had, and you wish there was a way to say (with class) “People were talking about this! I might only have three comments, but it harbored great discussions!”
Well, with Tweetbacks, the comments made on Twitter that include your post’s URL are displayed in your post as comments – giving the proper recognition to your post. In addition, your followers and those who are talking about your post will get a link to their Twitter account in your post, offering them a little kudos in exchange for publicizing your work. It’s a win-win.
This plugin also falls into the “furthering discussion” category, but in the near opposite way that Tweetbacks does. With this plugin, each time a Twitter user comments on your blog, a tweet is sent to their account notifying their followers of their comment, accompanied by a link to your post. This way, your readers can promote their own insight while publicizing your content.
At first glance, this plugin seems like a potentially volatile way to gain readers’ trust and promote interaction… But rest assured, this can work. Twitter Blaster allows your readers to post to your/a twitter account. Hear me out – I know it sounds like a scary notion, but I’ve seen it work. When I was a finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards, there was a voting process that took place to pick the winners in each of several categories. The administrators of the awards’ website allowed their users to promote their chosen nominees via their Twitter feed. The nice (and very important) feature of Twitter Blaster is the approval system. You can approve users, or individual tweets before they ever see the light of day, eliminating spam or otherwise defamatory comments from reaching your followers.
This plugin is similar to Tweetbacks, but with some additional functionality. While it gives you the option to display retweets as comments, it also adds a “ReTweet” button to your posts (similar to TweetMeme) and offers an analytical feature which helps you to keep track of the publicity your content is receiving. You can also customize the way that your post is retweeted, including the “source” of the retweet, and any hashtags you might want included – not to mention automatic URL shortening, which is extremely valuable and time-saving (plus, if you use bit.ly, you have the option for additional analytics!). This plugin is a must-have for heavy Twitter-users.