Tag Archives: Social Media

Twounter: Display Your Twitter Follower Count in Plan Text

For the Twitter-obsessed who want to display their follower count on their blogs, ThemeSphere has put together a WordPress plugin that will get it in plain text.

Installing the plugin gives you access to a function and a shortcode that will return the follower count for a user you specify.

Example: <?php echo twounter('redwall_hp'); ?>

You could use this to simply display your Twitter follower count, or you could use it for something more interesting, like displaying the follower count for each user in a multi-author blog. If you look around at sites like Net.Tuts+ and Blogging Tips, they often have brief bios after posts, complete with a Gravatar and link to the author’s site. Why not add a follower count to the mix?

WordPress: Tweet Shortened URL of Current Page to Twitter

A month or two ago I had an interesting idea involving WordPress permalinks. I realized that is would be very simple to automatically shorten WordPress permalinks for usage on Twitter. With a little .htaccess tweak, you could have something like yourdomain.com/s123 redirect to yourdomain.com?p=123. The default WordPress permalinks always work, and will forward to your preferred permalink. You end up with an easy way to have a short link for each of your posts, and it’s all self-contained within WordPress. No third-party services.

Continue reading →

Nambu: Social Messaging Streamlined

Nambu Networks, the people behind Tr.im and Pic.im, recently released a beta of Nambu OS X, a new desktop Twitter client with an impressive feature set and a native integration with OS X. (I assume that a Windows version will be released eventually, judging by the moniker they picked for the application.)

Nambu OS X

Continue reading →

TweetStats: When Do You Tweet?

TweetStats is a semi-useful and interesting website that pulls information from Twitter via the API and generates graphs of your Twitter usage. Just enter your username and wait a moment or two while some numbers are crunched.

You get a bar graph of the number of postings per month, aggregate daily and hourly tweets, who you @reply the most; you also get a graph that shows your tweet density, or what parts of the day and week you tweet the most.

@redwall_hp's tweet density for April 2009

Continue reading →

How Last.fm Can Grow and Profit

Last.fm LogoLast.fm is a great way to discover new music based on what you already like. It has some nice features, like the ability to monitor your iPod listening habits, that give it enough data to supply recommendations that tend to be pretty good. It’s a nice service, but it doesn’t have the masses of users that flock to other social networking sites.

If the music industry would cooperate, Last.fm (a CBS property) could take advantage of a great opportunity staring them in the face: Music sharing. Twitter and Twitter are full of people sharing links and little snippets of information. Why not make it easy for people to share music?

Continue reading →

DiggBar: The Plot Thickens

I previously talked about the controversy surrounding Digg’s new DiggBar. It continues, and gets more interesting.

Digg claims that the DiggBar is not a bad as people are making it out to be:

We took several steps to ensure that search engines continue to count the original source, versus registering the DiggBar as new content. We include only links to the source URLs on Digg pages to allow spiders to see the unmodified links to source sites. These links are overwritten to short URLs in JavaScript for users who have this preference.

That sounds like a good idea. I checked the source code, the article links point to the original URL rather than the Digg short URL. While that’s nice of them, it doesn’t change the fact that the Digg URL is being propogated around the internet instead of the original URL, and that URL points to a page on Digg’s servers, rather than doing a simple 301 redirect, which instructs search engines to ignore the first URL and go directly to the original source. More PageRank for Digg, and none for you.

Continue reading →

Display Your Latest Tweet on Your Website

More and more bloggers are displaying their latest postings to Twitter on their sites, most frequently in the sidebar.

There are WordPress plugins that can accomplish this, such as Alex King’s Twitter Tools plugin. Then there are the simple widgets offered by Twitter themselves. But with such an extensive API available, wouldn’t it be more fun to do it yourself?

Joost de Valk has an article that explains just how to Easily display your last Tweet.

Continue reading →

Is Retweet The Next Digg This?

Jeff Chandler has a short, interesting article up on Performancing about Tweetmeme, and the explosive popularity of their “Retweet This” widgets, which make it easy to retweet a post (and display a count of the number of times it has been retweeted).

If you couldn’t tell by now, the whole thing works much in the same was as Digg with a few notable exceptions. First, there are no comments for the stories on the Tweetmeme website. There is also no way to bury a story because if it’s not popular, it won’t show up on the front page anyways. There are no categories so the front page has a higher chance of maintaining a diverse round of stories.

Continue reading →

The “DiggBar”

Digg recently threw the switch on their new DiggBar, a little toolbar combined with a URL shortener. The toolbar is really an HTML frameset. Every link on Digg.com will have the DiggBar on top of it when you click through, unless you turn it off. You can also put any page into the DiggBar frameset by prefixing http://digg.com/ to the current URL, such as http://digg.com/http://www.google.com. You will be redirected to the short URL to the page with the DiggBar included.

That’s the controversial part: Every page loaded into the DiggBar ends up with a TinyURL-style short URL that loads the page, with the bar atop it. This means that Digg doesn’t link directly to your site anymore. They link to their short URL (e.g. http://digg.com/d1lGIm), which displays your page in a frame. If someone decides to link to your page, are they going to go through the trouble to break the page out of the frameset and link to the original URL? Probably not. They’re link to the Digg URL instead, which displays your page in the DiggBar frameset. You don’t get any link juice, and the link is dependant on Digg’s URL working.

The DiggBar may net you some more traffic, making it easier for your post to be Dugg and shared on Twitter and Facebook. (Functions for each are included in the toolbar.) I can’t say I like the downside though.

Further Reading

Post to Twitter From a PHP Script

If you’ve used Twitter for long, you’re probably aware of their impressive API. Nearly any day-to-day task that you can perform on Twitter.com can be done programmatically via the API. (This enables us to have useful applications like Twhirl.)

Now, suppose you would like to enhance a website with some sort of automatic Twitter alerts. A blog automatically tweeting new posts is one obvious example.

The Twitter API Wiki contains all the documentation for the API. It’s best to read up on how it all works before you get started with too much API work. If you head over to the REST API page, the part we’re mainly interested is the statuses/update function. To make use of it, we need to send an HTTP POST request to http://twitter.com/statuses/update.format. The format part would be replaced with either xml or json, depending on the format we want the response to be in. Let’s go with XML.

Continue reading →