Microblogging with WordPress and Twitter HowTo:

I’ve been ‘tweeting’ to my blog for over a year now. See? (That is going to be a moving last page as I add more tweets) I started doing this soon after I moved my blog from blogger (which I liked but they broke on me) to WordPress while in the hospital after the birth of my firstborn! (Holy linked sentence, that’s 3 linked references in one sentence that isn’t too terribly run-on!)

I had found that I was blogging much less since I had started using twitter, so I went about trying to get my tweets to post to my blog. I had been tweeting for a while prior to this conversion, but the shifts in focus in my life made the transition from blogging to microblogging more convenient. The following steps just made the transition more palatable for me.

I’ve done a few things to my blog to make this happen.

  • Switch to WordPress
  • Install Twitter Tools plugin to tie Twitter to my blog
  • Install Advanced Category Excluder plugin so I can exclude the tweets from the RSS feed
  • Install Auto Tags plugin to tag the tweets (useful in conjunction with the next plugin)
  • Install Efficient Related Posts plugin to create ‘Related Posts’ so tweets and long posts can reference each other automagically
  • Create plugin tcoReWrite to rewrite Twitter’s new t.co links so I could still use my TwitPic Preview

The Twitter Tools plugin appears to be designed to allow you to auto-tweet when you create a new blog post, which I do usually. It also provides the widget for the running ‘tweet-roll’ on the side of my blog. What I use though is the ‘experimental’ daily digest feature which actually creates the WordPress ‘Posts’ from the tweets the prior day. I have a ‘Twitter’ and ‘Tweet’ category that is used for all digest posts. This plugin has proven to be a little bit flakey at times. It will sometimes repeat a day over and over or decide it’s not going to work at all at times. Clicking on the ‘Digests Reset’ button near the bottom of the admin page for this plugin seems to fix things. It can sometimes take me a week or more to realize that there is a problem.

The Advanced Category Excluder or ‘ACE’ is a pretty slick plugin. It can be used to hide  categories for just about any content and any display location on the entire blog. I use it to strip all my tweet category items from the RSS feed. The theory behind this is if you wanted to follow all those tweets, you would do so on Twitter. I reserve the RSS feed for my ‘long posts’ and not the microblogging -it would annoy me to see a lot of short drivel when I just wanted the meat and potatoes posts.

The Auto Tags plugin uses both a Yahoo tagging service and TagThe.net to automagically come up with tags for posts. Without this tool, the tweet digests would be tagless, and thus kinda orphaned relationally within the blog. I also use a plugin ‘Hidden Tags’ to squelch tags that the ‘Auto Tags’ tool may have come up with that I am not keen on. The ‘Auto Tags’ tool has a built in tag squelch, but that is on a going-forward basis, the ‘Hidden Tags’ can nerf them retroactively.

The Efficient Related Posts plugin leverages the ‘Auto Tag’ plugin and glues the twitter digests to my longer posts. I am actually quite impressed with it’s capabilities. Many of my tweets are extensions on topics I have blogged about or are building up to a future blog post, this helps everything make sense (at least for me).

Lastly, I think I came up with a pretty cool ‘trick’ to make the photos I post using twitpic show up on my blog. Details can be found at TwitPic Image Previews for Twitter Posts on my WordPress widget. It’s basically an unobtrusive javascript that goes out, gets the thumbnail images from twitpic, and displays them on the blog. A while back Twitter added their t.co URL clobberer to make short URLs of short URLs and they annoyed the hell out of me doing such a ridiculous, redundant thing. It totally broke my blog. So, I wrote  my first wordpress plugin tcoReWrite. I haven’t published it yet, figuring nobody but me really cared, but being that this whole post is a long answer to a question I got over twitter (902 words), and now that this post is getting published, more people may be doing such a round-about way of publishing to their blog, and I will need to post my plugin – time to stop this run-on sentence already! (I think that last sentence just condemned me to Hell – reliving my school years again!)

Until I get the plugin published, if you want it, let me know, and I will get you a copy.

Twitter seems to be my publishing ‘glue’. I have my tweets get cross-posted to my blog as well as facebook. I am waiting for the Google Plus API so I can post my tweets to G+ as well. One of these days.

I have Foursquare (for location related stuff) & Project Noah (for my critter pics) feed into Twitter. I wish I could de-reference those links into embeddable content on my blog as I do the photos from TwitPic. Maybe one of these days….

A busy week


It’s been a busy week this week. My daughter was born on Tuesday. She’s healthy. More about her coming soon. I ought to be able to write a blog post about that experience soon.

Friends and family have been calling and visiting. A good buddy actually just left and my parents are here too – already in bed. I am the last one up.

My parent’s and I visited the house I am trying to buy. Short sales suck for how long they can take. It’s looking good for the end of the month to move forward. I may be moving come June.

You may have noticed a totally new look for this blog. The migration to wordpress is coming along. I may need to recatagorize some posts as WP has both categories and tags. I used an auto-tagging tool to tag all the previous 500+ blog posts with less the stellar results. So I will need to manually tag high traffic pages soon so the related posts plugin presents better related pages.

I have to work tommorrow. Migrating websites to a new server. Best done on a slow day traffic wise. Sucks to work on a day off, but it keeps me in a job.

I am writing this post on my android phone which is relatively painless. There is an app for WordPress. I miss the live spellcheck, which sucks as I have lousy spelling. I will need to make a point of coming back and editing for spelling tommorrow. I put in a mobile template for the blog that seems to work well.

buh-bye Blogger, Hello WordPress!

I am being forced to migrate my website off of blogger as they are discontinuing their FTP publishing which I use to have my twitter tweets show up on my blog.

The blog URL will continue to be mike.creuzer.com, but the site may go away for a short period during this period of time.

You may need to update bookmarks & links to the site. You may also need to re-subscribe to the RSS feed as it is being moved to feedburner.

The first post on the new system will be on my new baby, Bella! So stay tuned!


I have a problem.
Blogger is halting publishing over FTP soon.

I publish this blogger blog over FTP so I have access to PHP in my template. This allows me to do a few things, like have my own static content, but most importantly, my interleaved twitter feed into the blog content on the main page.

I use a lot of google tools, such as picassa, google reader, etc. and they all have tight blogger integration. It makes things easy.

I tweet more then I blog now days, so having the unified tweet/blog timeline is the coolest feature of my blog right now. The little ‘widget’ on the side bar just doesn’t cut it for me.

If I switch to hosted blogger, I will lose the ability to tweet to my blog. I suppose I could have the RSS feed of my tweets posted to my blog, but I am not sure I like that idea. I like being able to format my tweets they way I like to. I don’t want them to appear as just another blog post.

I could switch to something like WordPress, and write my own module that does the twitter tweets on the home page like how I want, but then I loose the easy of publishing using google tools.

I suppose I could possibly have a blogger blog set up and have the wordpress blog consume and publish off of the RSS feed. I would need to have a ‘blank’ template with a redirect to the wordpress blog then. I’d have to be careful not to get dinged by google for doing ‘blackhat SEO’ type stuff though.

So, I am stuck. I have a clock that’s ticking, no time to actually DO anything about it, and no clue which path to take!

Any ideas, suggestions?