Twitter Tools WordPress Plugin

Alex King has released v1.6 of his Twitter Tools plugin for WordPress. The plugin has a pretty thorough featureset for integrating Twitter into your WordPress blog, including,

  • Download and archive your tweets from Twitter.
  • Show your recent tweets in a sidebar widget.
  • Create a blog post from each of your tweets (you can set the category, author, tags, etc.).
  • Create a daily digest from your tweets.
  • Create a weekly digest from your tweets.
  • Create a tweet on Twitter when you post to your blog (optional on a per-post basis).
  • Create tweets on Twitter from your blog sidebar and/or admin interface.
  • Auto-link @replies and provide “in reply to” links.
  • Auto-link hashtags.
  • Ability to exclude @replies from sidebars, blog posts and digests.
  • Supports URL shortening services via standard WordPress filter (read the README).
  • Supports WP Chunk for URL shortening URLs in tweets when they are shown in your blog posts and/or sidebar.

Tweetake.Com

Tweetake does just one thing — it backs up your Twitter account. It can back up your list of friends, favorites, tweets or just tell it to back up everything. You do, however, have to give Tweetake your Twitter name and password.

I stopped using Twitter a long time ago after getting fed up with its constant downtime, so I used Tweetake to make a backup of my tweets, and then deleted my Twitter account.

Turn WordPress Into a Private Twitter Clone with the Prologue Theme

I really like the idea behind Twitter, but everytime I go to use Twitter it is down for one reason or another. I’d also like a little more control over my data and since I’m not interested in broadcasting my Twits to the world, there’s the Prologue Theme for WordPress.

As you can see, Prologue turns WordPress into a Twitter clone. I have a separate WordPress install on my server that is password protected where I update my status, etc. WordPress has a post-by-email option, so typically I just send an e-mail from my Blackberry the secret e-mail address I set up, and then those updates get propagated to my Twitter clone.

It works surprisingly well. The biggest pain is the eye rolling from my wife when she notices I’m updating my status again.

Using Twitter as an Activity Log

I’ve seen a couple of articles about how to use Twitter for something beyond navel gazing. For example, LifeHack.Org has a few ideas for using Twitter.

Personally, I use Twitter to keep my activity log. I’ve seen a number of different apps for helping keep track of how much time you spend on this or that activity, but Twitter is dead simple and thanks to its IM/SMS features, it is also ubiquitous.

First, go to Twitter and sign up for an account. Second, follow the instructions to activate Twitter for your IM and cell phone. Then, as you go throughout your day, simply type in short updates about what activity you are working on at the moment.

I almost always access Twitter through IM, so when I get to my office I might spend an hour checking and responding to e-mail. I’ll just type in “checking e-mail” into my IM. Then when I switch to working on a project, I’ll just take a couple seconds to switch to the IM app and type “Working on Project X.”

Updating in this way through an IM client or via SMS takes almost no time at all and the result is a relatively fine grained look at how much time I spent working on various things throughout the day.

The one thing I don’t do, obviously, is actually share my Twitter activity with anyone (which isn’t a big loss since Twitter’s RSS features seem not to work anyway, at least with Google Reader).

I save the Twitter archive page on a weekly basis so I preserve that information permanently, and then delete all of the updates on Twitter so I’m keeping the amount of information actually stored on Twitter to a minimum.