Tag Archives: twitter

Twitter is just Twitter

The web is amazing. Every once in a while a new service appears that brings together so many people and gets so much popularity that everyone starts to look at it as the solution to everything.

Twitter is one good example of such beast. Started as a microblogging tool, made popular by high profile bloggers like Robert Scooble, seen as the hidden treasure of branding and marketing, twitter currently has about 5 mil users and growing rapidly. ( you know it's growing when you see spam growing :) )

One of the greatest things about twitter ( from a developer's point of view ) is that it allows developers access to it's data through a simple API. This allowed a lot of companies and individual developers to write a large variety of web based services and applications from simple clients to power monitoring , pregnancy monitoring and alarm monitoring applications .

All these new apps being created everyday make people think what more can we do with twitter ? How can we make it solve all of our problems? ( can it bail out the banks ? :) ) .

A few weeks ago this post on Marketing Pilgrim blog suggests twitter could become a payment gateway, three days ago someone wrote a post suggesting twitter search could be a threat to google , I still see tweets about that post.

I see the value in each of those apps, in some there is more in others less, I can see how twitter search can be very useful for certain things, but it could never replace a search engine in the way google, yahoo, live work.

I'm not saying people shouldn't look for innovative ways to use a service, but headlines like "twitter threatens google" seem more like link bait.

I actually think something like friendfeed.com would be more efficient as a search engine then twitter is but would still not match google's power.

Sure people based search is cool but what about most of the people who don't  live in twitter, what about the forums, the mailing lists, the blog comments, the pdfs, .doc?

WP-Twitter-ID Social Profiles Integration

A few days ago I wrote a post about a wordpress plugin that will add a twitter id field to the comments form and I was reporint two problems with it. One was solved in that post and for the second one I'm going to show you a solution in this post.

The Problem

The second problem was that the twitter id field was show assigned to a comment when a registered user was commenting.

Basically I needed a way to specify the twitter id of a registered user in the profile and then just make the WP-twitip-id plugin use that value form the profile. I could have done this by implementing the necessary code to show the field on the profile page and save it's value when the profile was saved but I was lazy and I wanted a quicker solution.

The Quick Solution

The quick solution was to install the Social Profiles plugin, set my twitter id in my profile and then do a simple modification to wp-twitip-id.

To make the modification just open wp-twitip-id.php in any editor, look for "function addtwitterfieldmeta($comment_data){" and right after that line insert the following code:

  1. if(!empty($_POST['atf_twitter_id'])){
  2. $twitter=$_POST['atf_twitter_id'];
  3. }else{
  4. $current_user = wp_get_current_user();
  5. $user_id = $current_user->ID;
  6. $twitter=get_usermeta($user_id,'cyc2_twitter');
  7. }

That's it. Simple don't you think ? Now next time you post a comment as a registered user you should see your twitter id in the comment header.


Here's the zip file with all modifications including the one in the previous post.

WP-Twitip-ID-0.9.2 (13.3 KB)

Getting Social: Google Friend Connect

Lately I have become more involved into social media/networking. I'm far from a social media expert, and I think too many people declare themselves social media gurus. If everybody's a guru no one's a guru anymore :).

Anyway as part of my social networking involvement I try to experiment with new things as time permits. One of these things is Google Friend Connect.

What is Google Friend Connect?

In a few words it's a service that allows a site's visitors to connect with their friends that might also use the same site.

Google provides a few gadgets, one for showing members, another one for allowing members to post on your site's wall, a Review/Rate gadget and some others supporting the OpenSocial platform but developers can build their own gadgets too.

It allows you to see who else is using the same site as you are and what other sites are your friends using. You can connect with your friends on twitter, plaxo, google ( gmail) and orkut but other networks may be available in the future. So if you're visiting my blog and using one of those services you might want to become a member of this site and see what you're friends are doing.

How to implement on your blog?

If you want to implement Google Friend Connect on your blog, the process is pretty simple just go to http://www.google.com/friendconnect/ , click the "Setup a new site" button and follow the simple instructions.

It will ask you to provide the site name and home page url and then will provide 2 html files for download that you have to upload to your site.

I had troubles downloading the html files because they didn't actually contain any html but just javascript and firefox would interpret them and save them as empty files. If you have the same problem, get Firebug and look into the Net tab after you download the files. You should see the html response for each of those files and just copy paste into the files and upload that to your site.

Then pick one of more gadgets, customize them to match the look of your site and google will generate some html code that you can copy and put where ever you want on your site.

Let's connect!

You can see the google friend connect members gadget on the right sidebar after the "Recent comments" widget. Just click the "Join" button.

Other places where we can connect:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mihaisecasiu

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Mihai-Secasiu/566029300

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mihaisecasiu

FriendFeed: https://friendfeed.com/mihaisecasiu

Stubleupon: http://symx.stumbleupon.com/

Digg: http://digg.com/users/symx

Twitter id comment field

I saw this post on problogger about how Darren implemented a new field in the comment form for his new blog about twitter tips powered by wordpress. Basically he used a plugin for adding and extra field to the comment form and then modified the comment template to show the link to the twitter profile page.

There are two problems with this approach. #1 Unlike the author name, email and web site, the twitter id field is not saved in a cookie so your comentators will have to fill it in every time they post a comment, this migh be annoying for some of them. the second problem is that if you're logged in and want to reply to a comment there's no way you can set the twitter id.

The first problem was almost solved by a new plugin named wp-twitip-id by Andy Baily specially created for setting up the twitter id field. I said almost solved because this plugin uses javascript to add the new field and in some cases ( depending on the template you are using ) javascript would not be the best way to do this.

Luckily you can use this plugin without javascript and add the new field manually by modifying the comments.php template file but then the cookie would not work anymore so it needs some modification to set the cookie from the php script instead of javascript .

Simply calling setcookie before the comment is saved will do the work, then when you display the form field just use $_COOKIE['atf_cookie'] to set the value of the twitter field.

If you like to modify some plugin code get the wp-twitip-id plugin, open wp-twitip-id.php look for addtwitterfieldmeta function and add

  1. setcookie('atf_cookie',$twitter,time()+60*60*24*60);

right after the line with this code: 'if($twitter){'

Then go into wp-content/themes/<yout_theme>/ edit comments.php  look for the URL field and add a new field after it like this:

<input name="atf_twitter_id" type="text" value="<?php echo $_COOKIE['atf_cookie']?>" />

You might have to add some other html code and css to make the field look like the others but that depends on the theme you are using.

For convenience I have attached the modified plugin but you still have to modify the comments.php file in your theme.

Let me know how this works for you. Do you think the twitter id comment field is worth the effort ? Does it bring value to you it as a commentator?

Twitter threads

The best way to follow a conversation is to see it all in one place.

A twitter conversation is split over several time lines, messages are mixed with other conversations. This makes it hard to follow a conversation especially when you follow a lot of people.

With threading you would be able to see all messages in a conversation in a way that's easy to follow. It's also harder to be misunderstood this way.

Instead of replying to someone reply to their message. Thus twitter would be able to show threaded conversations. Of course twitter clients will need to be modified to support this new reply method.Actually both methods should be available.

There are a lot of people saying twitter is very good just as it is now and are against any new features. Others believe twitter groups are really needed.

For me threaded conversations would be the best feature I would like to see in twitter.

I'd like to see your opinion on this. Would you like threads? Let me know in the comments.