in Uncategorized

Blogging and microblogging are merging

Social media is changing so quickly. I spent a lot of time today tinkering with the theme for my WordPress.com blog because the theme I was using didn't successfully incorporate a widget for Twitter. Towards evening I had gotten things about where I wanted. A Twitter widget was nicely installed at the side and I was happy with the modifications I'd made. So now I could go back and catch up on the news streaming through Feedly.

So the first story to capture my attention was a Techcrunch article: WordPress Makes Blogging On The Fly Easier, Integrates With Twitter API. It turns out that WordPress.com is seeking to augment the already symbiotic relationship between the two services. Just as I'd felt a need to place that Twitter widget next to my blog, and just as many bloggers have for a long time relied upon Twitter to publicize new blog posts, WordPress has been looking into ways of improving this relationship. They had created an API that would allow the updating of WordPress from third party services like Tweetie2 on the Iphone. There, it is possible to set up WordPress as an account next to Twitter, and post directly to one's blog (also to subscribe to other WordPress blogs).

To take this a stage further, WordPress suggests a new theme, P2, which combines a microblogging interface with a regular blog. Using this theme, it is possible to update a WordPress blog directly from the page (and, in turn, the post will stream directly to Twitter). So no more need for that Twitter widget I had set up. Longer posts can also be added, through the Dashboard editor, like this one.

There is a real advantage in integrating microblog material directly into WordPress, since the latter will archive this material much more successfully than Twitter - and it's nice to have a single interface to accomplish both purposes. Furthermore, it is possible to bind additional connections, such as Facebook, to the two services. Since it is possible to add video, photo and other services, a WordPress blog can become a successful lifestreaming service, to compete well with services like TypePad's Motion.

It's fascinating to see how all these web services are changing. My personal problem is that I seem to enjoy tinkering with them more than actually using them. My tinkering so far with WordPress.com's new array, has been to set up the new API account in Tweetie2 (it worked for me only through http rather than https). And to change my WordPress theme to P2 (that's what you're seeing here). It was necessary to cancel the Notes import for Facebook, and rely on status blog links instead.

Update

I'll keep updating this as I try to work with this array of services. First concerning P2: I was rather expecting that posts of up to 140 characters would be dispatched as-is by WP's Publicize to Twitter (which in my case links with Facebook). That is not so. The message truncates after about half of that, and sends a link back to WordPress. That sort of defeats WordPress as a means to update Twitter - 140 characters is short enough, thank you. I'd like to see a counter on the edit form, just as on Twitter clients, and for WordPress's Twitter handler to behave properly. Blog titles seem to fare better than status updates when sent to Twitter.

Further update: I notice now that it is possible to customize messages to Twitter on the full post editing interface. In the publish box, there is a place to do it, with a character counter. But this is lacking on the quick post form in the P2 theme. And I still have to test what happens to messages published via the Twitter API from Tweetie2.