Tag Archives: twitter

Integrate Twitter @Anywhere into Your WordPress Comments

You may have noticed that, a few weeks ago, I added a new field to the comment form here on Webmaster-Source. A new “Twitter ID” field lets you input your Twitter username so it can be displayed next to the name you enter, complete with hovercards from Twitter @Anywhere.

I shared the code I had thrown together with Ben Gillbanks of BinaryMoon, who now has an easy to follow tutorial available on his site. Ben cleaned the code up a bit and made some enhancements, such as some sanitization and a cookie to make the form field remember the user’s input.

If you want to add some additional social media integration to your blog, be sure to give the tutorial a look.

How to Integrate Twitters @Anywhere with your WordPress Comments [BinaryMoon]

Like it? Tweet it! A JavaScript TweetMeme Alternative

“Like it? Tweet it!” is a new JavaScript widget by Andy Graulund that, using Twitter @Anywhere, provides an easy way to display a box for people to tweet about your posts. It automatically loads a shortened URL and let’s you write a message to go along with it.

It provides more customization options than the alternatives, namely TweetMeme. You can use any link as a trigger for the overlay, and it’s possible to re-style the box. You can also change much of the text used, and set which short URL is placed in the tweet.

The only drawback is that users have to connect their account with the application. It only has to be once, and the user can then use any Like it? Tweet it! box around the internet. This is something that has been bothering me about the Twitter @Anywhere platform. Why should a basic tweet box or follow button widget require the authorization process, while the follow buttons in hovercards don’t? Why can’t they use the user’s Twitter login cookie like the hovercards do?

Twitter to Create Embeddable Tweet Quotes

Have you ever tried to quote a Twitter post on your blog? The easiest way to do it is to just copy and paste the text into a blockquote and move on. However, it doesn’t look as good as if you take a screenshot of the permalink page, which is a little bit more time consuming. (It also has the disadvantage of being an image rather than plain text, which has usability and SEO implications.)

Twitter may have the answer. A new post on their Twitter Media blog mentions the possibility of embeddable plain-HTML tweets that you could put in your blog posts.

Oddly enough, I had thought of a similar idea when I was planning my Tweetable plugin. I’d thought it would be neat to have a shortcode that could be used to pull a tweet via the API and style it in the post. You would put something like [twquote]13300180803[/twquote] in your post, and it would be replaced with the text of the message and the username/avatar. I decided not to include it in the first release, and I never really got around to implementing it later. It’s nice to see that Twitter is working on something similar.

Tweets are the new quotes [Twitter Media]

Edit: An early form of the tool, called “Blackbird Pie” is now available for use. It still has some rough edges, like a monstrously large mess of inline HTML elements for an embed code, but it should work fine.

Twitter to Launch Their Own URL Shortener

Twitter has announced that they will be launching their own URL shortener, which will be replacing Bit.ly as the default for lengthy links. TechCrunch is convinced that the domain they will be using is twee.tt, which the microblogging service recently acquired.

This should enable Twitter to further their data collection and statistics endeavors, as well as provide an URL shortener that should last as long as Twitter does. It will be interesting to see how things play out.

But what of Bit.ly? How will they fare? Apparently, it won’t effect them much, as Twitter stopped automatically shortening links as of December. Bit.ly is still “encoding” about 3 billion links per month, and their Bit.ly Pro service should help them build a viable business. (There is quite a market for custom-branded short URLs, as well as enhanced statistics.)

The impact on bit.ly may be negligible, at least in the shortrun. It turns out that Twitter stopped using bit.ly as it’s default shortener on Twitter.com back in early December, except for one specific use-case. And even before then, Twitter.com accounted for only about 5 percent of link encodes. Now it is less than 1 percent. Yet bit.ly encoded more than 3 billion links last month an is still growing quite nicely. That is because it is used by many Twitter clients, including Tweetdeck (a betaworks portfolio company).

Ow.ly Removes Toolbar, Launches Second Shortener

HootSuite’s URL shortener, Owl.ly, no longer puts its controversial iframe toolbar atop shortened links. The toolbar has been known to discourage some potential users from trying the HootSuite Twitter client.

As a compromise, HootSuite is launching a second shortener, Ht.ly, that offers the same toolbar. Users will be given a choice as to which shortener they would prefer.

Choice is a good thing in just about any situation, and like ice cream, one flavor doesn’t fit everyone on the web so now HootSuite users can now choose between two flavors of links — one with a social bar and one without.

Next time you login to HootSuite, you can choose which shortener you prefer — Ow.ly, which from today onward will have no social bar, or Ht.ly, which will have the social bar.

Whichever link shrinker you choose will become your default for all links you shorten in HootSuite, including links created with the one-click Hootlet tool.

In related news, “Ow.ly Pro” is being tested by a certain group of HootSuite users. It is much like Bit.ly’s service, allowing you to have your own short domain be used for your URLs.

Twitter @Anywhere Plugin for WordPress

Want to easily add the basic features of Twitter @Anywhere to your WordPress blog? There’s already a plugin for that. It adds the requisite JavaScript for you, allowing you to enable or disable features with simple options in the WordPress Admin.

Currently it supports the auto-linking of Twitter usernames and the nifty “hovercards” feature of @Anywhere. It also can add a tweet box below you blog posts, making it easy for your visitors to update their Twitter statuses.

Some features I would like to see in future releases are:

  • Custom selectors for linkifying and hovercards. A form field could allow the administrator to enter CSS selectors, one per line, and the values would be dumped into the JavaScript function as an argument. (It’s a simple matter of using PHP’s explode() and implode() functions to replace the linebreaks with comma delimiters.)
  • An option to define a default template for the tweet box. E.g. “Reading: {post_title} {short_link}.” That way, visitors would be presented with a predefined tweet to customize, increasing the likelihood of your post being tweeted.

It’s a good start for a plugin, particularly one based on a platform so newly released. Hopefully its development will continue once its approved into the plugin repository.

Twitter @Anywhere Launches

Twitter just launched their new Twitter @Anywhere platform. It lets you “Integrate Twitter seamlessly into your site with just a few lines of JavaScript,” in a manner that reminds me of Facebook Connect. It provides various enhancements that bring the Twitter experience into your site.

The platform is just out of the bubble wrap, so there are more features and documentation coming soon, but the main features currently part of @Anywhere are:

  • Auto-linkification of usernames – The JavaScript API can automatically link anything that looks like a Twitter username to its corresponding Twitter profile. jQuery-style selectors can be used to fine-tune what gets auto-linkified.
  • Hoverboxes – If you hover over someone’s username on Twitter.com, a little thing called a “hoverbox” pops up, displaying the basic information about the account. Now you can have them on your site with a couple lines of code. This works well with the “auto-linkification.”
  • Follow buttons – Click the button, follow the account without ever leaving the page.
  • Tweet Box – Give your users a form, complete with 140-character counter, that lets them update their status. You can provide default text for the tweet, and a JavaScript callback can return the contents as either plain text or the final HTML output.
  • User login & signup – You’ve seen those “Facebook Connect” buttons before, whether on comment forms or as part of some other service that uses the Facebook API to get information or post to your profile. Twitter @Anywhere has something very similar. A way, using simple JavaScript, for users to connect their Twitter account to your site.

The question now is, what’s coming next. Could we be seeing an official retweet button as part of the @Anywhere platform? TweetMeme doesn’t use the new retweeting system yet, and Facebook offers a “Share” button and counter as part of their Connect platform. It seems like a logical step for Twitter to take.

Twitter Acquires Tweetie

The big news story of the day, it seems, is that Twitter is acquiring Tweetie. You know, the popular (arguably the most popular) Twitter iPhone application? Yes, that Tweetie. The $2.99 app is going to be free from now on, and it will be renamed “Twitter for iPhone.” This stems from newbie users’ frustration and confusion when they search for an official “Twitter” app, only to find a mess of clients with unfamiliar names.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve entered into an agreement with Atebits (aka Loren Brichter) to acquire Tweetie, a leading iPhone Twitter client. Tweetie will be renamed Twitter for iPhone and made free (currently $2.99) in the iTunes AppStore in the coming weeks. Loren will become a key member of our mobile team that is already having huge impact with device makers and service providers around the world. Loren’s work won the 2009 Apple Design Award and we will eventually launch Twitter for iPad with his help.

So we can look forward to an iPad version of Tweetie, and possibly more frequent updates since Loren Brichter is joining Twitter’s mobile team.

One burning question has plagued exiting Tweetie users in the hours after the announcement: what will become of Tweetie for Mac? Good news, a beta of version 2 is sill on the way, according to an Atebits posting on the MacHeist forum. (Loren had previously promised buyers of the recent MacHeist bundle early beta access.)

Hey all – first of all I apologize for any confusion, things have been a bit crazy!  I just want to says I’m blasting through the todo list to get a beta put together as fast as I can, the Mac UI stuff I’ve been prototyping is just too cool to have anything else happen to it.  Sorry for keeping it short, gotta get back to coding!

Did Facebook Just Patent Twitter?

Facebook was just granted a patent for something that should prove to be controversial. Patent #7,669,123, which was filed for in 2006, is for “A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment…” The abstract reads:

A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment is described. The method includes generating news items regarding activities associated with a user of a social network environment and attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the activities, to at least one of the news items, as well as limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items. The method further may further include displaying the news items in the assigned order to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewers and dynamically limiting the number of news items displayed.

It sounds to me like they just patented a fairly obvious mechanism that has been long used by sites like Twitter, Digg, Reddit, RSS readers, blogs, etc..

Am I the only one who isn’t okay with this sort of patent-trolling behavior? Why does the USPTO keep letting these kinds of application through? It’s bad enough that Amazon is still fighting to have their one-click buying patent approved, and now we have another stupid patent that is just too obvious. Facebook is by no means the first website to have a “news feed,” and the idea is hardly patent-worthy.

Facebook Just Patented The Feed – What Does That Mean For Everyone That Uses Them? [TheNextWeb]

Twitter Changing API URLs

Twitter is beginning the long process of changing their API root URLs from twitter.com/ to api.twitter.com/1/. This isn’t of much interest to ordinary Twitter users, but developers will need to update their applications sometime in the coming months.

The old URLs will continue to function for the foreseeable future, but Twitter wants to get developers using their new versioned URLs, to prevent potential foul-ups in the future, should they change something in a way that is less than backwards-compatible.

We haven’t yet determined how many versions will be supported at once or how long a version will continue to be supported once it’s deprecated. We’ll be figuring out answers to these questions once we spend some time supporting multiple versions and seeing how new APIs emerge and iterate. We suspect though that we’ll support deprecated versions for at least 6 months.

This is all part of their API version 2.0 roadmap.