A simple solution to tweet and retweet your WP posts

Our post two weeks ago on Publicize: Twitter is about automating the process of sending an update to a Twitter account each time a new post is published in your blog.

tweet itBut what if others want to tweet and retweet your posts?

One simple solution: Place a Twitter sharing code at the bottom, or anywhere else, on your post.

A sharing code comprises the Twitter grabber, a teaser which normally is the title of the post, and optionally, the permalink of the post or its equivalent shortlink. A shortlink is the “tiny URL” version of your post’s permalink generated by and stored in WP ~ very useful to get around the 140-character limit of a Twitter update.

Here is a sample structure of a Twitter sharer:

<a href=”http://twitter.com/home/?status=This+is+the+post+title+OR+Create+another+teaser+http://wp.me/Get-Shortlink”>Tweet it</a>

End Note: I acknowledge currently there are social bookmark applications which automate this process taking into account the scripting limitations imposed by WP. At this time though, I don’t think I am ready to use them, particularly if these are run in a local drive. I will just wait until their scripts are taken on board by WP.

Feel like designing your own “tweet me” icon? Why not create your own special Twitter graphics and store it in your Media library. Try googling out “Twitter icons” or similar search terms to pick up Twitter icons for use as-is or for customization.

Here is a sample Twitter icon customized for this blog:

tweet-this-wp

If you want to customize your tweets from your WP posts, do not ignore the developer’s Support page

Seeing that WordPress.com has added a much welcome Twitter feature for WP-hosted blogs, I thought putting the plugin to a test for our friends would be great if titled “How to tweet with your WP blog.”

Why the title has changed to this very long title, “If you want to customize your tweets from your WP posts, do not ignore the developer’s Support page“, is what this post is about. I hope that our friends will avoid the same oversight as I have in activating the plugin.

Starting with information from WP post, Publicize: Twitter, our test, meant to be a quick and easy one, took us more time than expected. And all because I did not give particular attention to one important information, the Support page.

Here is a blow-by-blow account:

1. Enabled Twitter by click selecting Twitter in Dashboard -> My Blogs admin page

2. Once enabled, an “Authorize Twitter” message appeared.

WP-twitter-wp

3.Clicked on the authorization link to open a Twitter authorization window where I entered one of my company’s Twitter username (or email address) and password.

WP-twiiter-auth

4. Once validated, the window jumped back to my WP Dashboard.

Okay, that was expected.

5. Wrote a test post titled Installing WP for Blackberry, a re-post of an earlier entry with similar title. Clicked “Publish.”

6. Opened a new window with my WP-associated Twitter account. Below is what was displayed.

ontheroad-twitter-wp

Did I miss a step?

I wanted to customize my Twitter update, but Twitter immediately grabbed and displayed it. I wanted to add a teaser to the post title. With other WP Twitter-related plugins, I would do that right inside Twitter.

Hmm, how do I customize my tweet?, I asked. Haven’t I read in the WP post “You can stick with the default, automatically generated tweet, or customize it to your heart’s content”?

Because I have not done any customization, obviously what I am seeing is the default.

7. Went back to the Add New / Edit Posts window, and going over the items on the right panel, it’s then I realized that a small “Publicize” text link has been added.

8. Here is a screenshot of the “Publicize” option on the right panel, so inconspicuous that I failed to notice it the first time.

WP-twitter-publicize

9. And here is a screenshot of the “Publicize” mini-window when clicked:

WP-twitter-publicize-2


So, this is where customization takes place. Interesting!

Has this been mentioned in the WP Publicize: Twitter post? No, not in this post. Heading over to the linked WP support page, similar screenshots are clearly displayed.

How did I miss that? I did not bother to check the Support page linked on the announcement post.

Oh well, next time I’ll remember to check support pages too.

Note:

If you have reached this point reading this post, I don’t think you need to go to the support page any longer.

My experience (a bit embarassing, I know) is now shared.



A pleasant blogging experience at WordPress.com, so far

I mentioned in my earlier posts that, compared with self-hosted sites which I am very much familiar with, a blog at WordPress.com is restrictive. For one, I could not really do much about customizing a theme unless of course I buy credits to allow me to add custom CSS. Also, I could not install my favorite plugins which of course I understand – considering that plugins are not for everyone.

But even within a small playing area so to speak, I thought running a non self-hosted blog could also be a pleasant online experience. I am quite happy with the way my blog here at WordPress.com is shaping up.  Its structure, content and looks are metamorphosing to those of  my self-hosted blog, thanks to the wonders of widgets. Widgets are something I would like to share with you in my next posts.

In the meantime, you may wish to check out my personal site including some Twitter updates @romycc.  Again, if you have a subject you would like us to tackle before the widgets posts, let me know.