For today’s hack let me say for the record that I am into automation. I hate doing boring things over and over. Once I’ve done something once, it should be a macro and I should just be able to invoke the macro. Like brushing my teeth….. um…. never mind, let’s not go there. With all the Twitter clients out there someone should have written one to inform Twitter whenever you update a blog post. Why should I have to manually tweet whenever I update my blog? In an earlier post I stated why I’m not that big a fan of Twitter as a social medium to begin with.
Should one even tweet about blog updates in the first place? Opinions vary, so I’ll spout mine. I would much rather hear about a blog update from one of the people I’ve elected to follow on Twitter, rather than hear their latest “I have a headache today.” Why? Because the people I follow tend to put a little thought into their blog posts. If my followers don’t like my auto tweets they can cease following me. I’m not after setting any records in number of followers. I’d rather have folks who are interested in what I have to say.
OK…. Googling starts…..
Oh NO! Not an un-updated plugin! First thing I located was auto-tweet plugin for wordpress. But it only lists that it’s compatible up to version 2.3.3. Ummmmm….. given that it alters the database, I’ll give that a pass until it’s certified for 2.5.1.
Next thing I found was pingtwitter. According to pingtwitter, if you include their trackback when you publish a new post it will automatically tweet it. They even thoughtfully generate your trackback url for you in the form of
Pingtwitter provide a manual test page — In other words you can just strong arm the blog permalink and other blog info to see if it works. I’m going to manually tell it to tweet my credit card security post, because that is meant to be a pillar post. Hmmm…. I’m not so sure I want my twitter password flying around unencrypted on the open internet but I’ll give it a shot. Woot! I just tweeted without tweeting. It doesn’t make it clear that it’s a blog update but not really a biggie. It also seems to tweet a little promo for pingtwitter. The autotweet looks like this in twitter:
tixrus Credit card security online: What you should know @ http://tinyurl.com/4tgnu2 - Accessible explanation of credit card security on less than 20 seconds ago from web
Cool, now for the acid test. Tags ready, categories selected, pingtwitter in the trackback field…… All systems go. Here goes nothing!
I’m baa-aack! Woot! It worked. Here is what popped up on Twitter:
tixrus Auto tweet your blog post @ http://tinyurl.com/4d3awa - An experiment with pingtwitter. I will blog about it and see if it does an
The next automation task, of course, is to get WordPress to automatically put that trackback in every post.
I’m back again. I may have been the last person on the planet to discover it, but Twitterfeed does exactly what you want. No wonder the plugin was not updated. It was supplanted. Even the author of pingtwitter says he uses Twitterfeed. The thing about twitterfeed is you need to have an openid to log into it, so if you don’t know what that is, read my openid article to learn how to get one FREE. I had some technical difficulty with twitterfeed. Both the feed and the twitter credentials validated but when it actually tried to send the update to twitter it said that there was an incorrect password. I don’t know what Mario did, but after I chatted with him it started working. When you do the update, you have your choice of how you want to scrunch the URL. You can use TinyURL or you can use Tweetburner which produces a different kind of tiny URL called a twURL. The advantage to using Tweetburner is that you can track and see how many people clicked in from Twitter.
And a third option: Twittertools plugin for WordPress. Twittertools seems like overkill to me. I want to tweet when I blog, but it seems like if I also blog every tweet we could get into an infinite circle. You can elect to have your tweets aggregated into a daily digest. Don’t worry I’m not going to inflict that on you!