Getting Over Yourself with WP to Twitter

In blogging as in war, to overcome cowardice, automate audacity.

It has often occurred to me that, when I quote individuals in a post, all the more when I seek to engage their arguments in detail, best practice would clearly be to notify them, especially when they are relatively easily accessible via Twitter. The reasons for doing so seem obvious: To let them know that their work is being discussed; to give them the opportunity to respond or to notify other interested parties ranging from followers, to colleagues, to employers; more selfishly, to raise the odds that my own work will be more widely noticed and discussed.

The reasons for not doing so will be mostly dishonorable: Shyness and self-loathing, or even cowardice. For me, a depressive sense of low self-esteem strikes hardest in the time after I have published a post, and sinks in especially deeply when, in a few minutes, hours, or days, I happen to notice embarrassing errors in composition or thinking that, I tell myself, I really should have caught before publication.

I could say much more about my personal writing psychology, but all I really mean to do in this post is note how easy it is, at least in open source WordPress, to automate a better practice in the face of one’s habitual self-frustrations and overthinking. We should notify people when we write about them. It’s better for them, and better for us. That’s all there is to it. So make it easier.

Now, we could strive to build an auto-notifier or routine similar to Storify’s, but, since most posts – or at least most of my posts – don’t mention the Twitter handles of everyone mentioned who has one, it doesn’t seem worth the work. Fortunately, the free version of the popular plug-in WP to Twitter by Joseph Dolson comes with the features we need to get a good part of the way.

Even before I was active on Twitter at all, I had WP to Twitter set to tweet my posts upon publication using a simple template along the lines of New: #title# #url#, the words enclosed in hashmarks being shortcodes for, respectively, the post title and a link to it. The auto-tweet for this post, for instance, would read something like “New: Getting Over Yourself with WordPress to Twitter http://wp.me/p4h0Xw-dvh.

Though WP to Twitter’s 13 included shortcodes do not include one for “tweeps,” it’s easy to add a WP “custom field” that will work just like one, and that can be added to the automatic tweet or to custom tweets.

Under Settings/WP to Twitter

WP to Twitter Custom Field1. Under “Status Update Templates”

Pick the type of update you’re editing.

2. Wherever you want the Twitter handles to appear, add the custom-field name that you are going to use between double square brackets.

I’m going using the field “tweeps,” so I’ll write [[tweeps]], and add it to my new template for new posts as follows:

New: #title# #url# [[tweeps]] #tags#

I’ve also added another shortcode “#tags#,” which will convert regular WP Post Tags into Twitter hashtags. Presuming I’ve completed the other step as well, and that everything else works correctly, when I am done saving this post, the shortcodes will be filled in with the title, the link, the names I’ve added under tweeps, and however many Post Tags there happens to be room for. (WP to Twitter includes a table for setting inclusion priority when you run out of characters in your auto tweet.)

The Other Step – Under Add or Edit Post (or Page)

1. Make sure under Screen Options (toggled at top of WP editing screen) that the “Show on Screen” box for “Custom Fields” is checked.

2. Under Custom Fields, Click “Enter New”

3. Under “Add Field” put a name for your new tag – we’ll call it “tweeps”

4. In the space for “Values” put the Twitter handles of everyone who should be notified that your post has been published.

I’m adding Joseph Dolson’s handle and my own. I’m expecting a tweet to be published that reads something like: “New: Getting Over Yourself with WordPress to Twitter http://wp.me/p4h0Xw-dvh @joedolson @CK_MacLeod #wordpress.”

I think I have the settings right, but I’ve been getting some odd behavior with new posts being tweeted as though they are “edited” posts.1 Also, I’ve been using the LinkIs system, which should shorten the Tweet somewhat differently than shown – i.e., by re-shortening the tweet while adding it’s own typical “li.ns” code to the new URL. Mentioning this slight difference may seem like utter nit-pickery, but, if this tweet comes up as “Edited” rather than “New,” or misfires in any other way, I think one of the first things I’ll check is bad interactions with LinkIs [not LinkIs: see note below].

Let’s see – about to hit Publish… horrible mistake and typos be damned… okay… now

(Update: worked fine! But I’ll set WP to Twitter not to tweet that this post has been updated.)

(Update 2: Lot of typos in this post, especially in the parts where I was describing my misery over embarrassing errors – how embarrassing… ;) – tho I think I’ve caught most of them by now.)

Notes:

  1. 6 August: The unexpected behavior was caused by a WordPress bug that has apparently existed since WordPress 2.7: in other words for years, though various members of WP core committees appears still to be working on it: In short, when you edit a draft post on the “Quick Edit” screen, the post publication status is changed from “Publish: Immediately” to “Publish on: [Timestamp]” – i.e., as though a scheduled post that was never published, or that was published and withdrawn. When the post is then actually published, it will appear as though published on that date, rather than at the current date/time. WP to Twitter “understands” the newly published post as an updated post. []

WordPresser
Home Page  Public Email  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Github   

Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

Commenter Ignore Button by CK's Plug-Ins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Related

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

Comment →

Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

Comment →

[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

Comment →
CK's WP Plugins

Categories

Extraordinary Comments

CK's WP Plugins