With an active blog, Twitter feed and Facebook page conversations with customers can become a bit fragmented. Like most bloggers, we tweet and post to Facebook when we publish new posts. In a write-once-publish-many-times kind of web, commenting happens outside blogs even more than on the posts themselves. That’s why we worked with the fine folks at Crowd Favorite to create a plugin for WordPress called Social.
Social is a lightweight plugin for WordPress that handles a lot of the heavy lifting of making your blog seamlessly integrate with Facebook and Twitter. Through the use of a proxy application, you can associate your Twitter and Facebook accounts with your blog and its users. Once you publish a new post, you can then choose to automatically broadcast a message to any accounts authenticated with the overall blog or your current logged-in user.
Through Social, you can aggregate the various mentions, retweets, @replies, comments and responses and republish them as WordPress comments. Social polls Twitter and Facebook periodically for new comments about your posts, and adds them as comments when it finds a URL reference.
Lots of people use Facebook or Twitter as their primary identity(ies) on the web. Social lets commenters log in and leave a comment using their preferred social identity. They can also publish their response directly to their Twitter or Facebook account from your blog.
Social intentionally has a broad name. It handles a lot of socially bits in your blog from broadcasting to content aggregating. There are a bunch of other nice things about the plugin, though:
- Automatically adds Twitter hover cards to any Twitter username you drop into posts or that show up in comments
- Let’s you filter between blog comments, tweets, Facebook comments, and trackbacks
- Handles comment thread layout intelligently so you don’t get microscopic widths after four or five replies
- Let’s you manually check for social comments from each blog post edit page, or paste in a tweet URL for a comment if you like
- Easily customizable design by creating your own templates for the plugin
Want to take Social for a spin? Hey, Madge. You’re soaking in it. We’ve got it installed right here in the MailChimp blog. In fact, that’s kind of the whole point of Social. We tried lots of other plugins that do similar things, but none of them quite fit the bill. So we made our own, and we’re releasing it free for everyone else to enjoy.
UPDATE: Alex King of Crowd Favorite, the development mastermind behind Social, has addressed a lot of the technical details and the roadmap for the plugin over on his blog.