One Blogs@EduTech feature that has been requested a handful of times is allowing a person to post their tweets (Twitter postings) to their Blogs@EduTech blog. Some also want their Blogs@EduTech blog posts to automatically get sent out as tweets.
These are both great ideas. I have found a host plugins that provide this functionality to WordPress and have toyed around with several of them on our testing platform. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
- Most of the plugins that I discovered to provide Twitter integration were not yet mature. Maybe have to check again in the future.
- Of the mature ones, two seemed to rise to the top, TweetSuite and TwitterTools.
- TwitterTools appears to work well, and even has a new version released in the last month. I had read that it was no longer being developed but I don’t believe that is correct.
- TweetSuite is active and even allows TweetBacks, like a pingback when someone sends a tweet about one of your posts.
- Unfortunately it appears the author of TweetSuite includes a function to do URL shortening using tr.im, a free URL shortening service in a way contrary to the service providers wishes. As a result all TweetSuite-enabled blogs are banned from using the service, significantly slowing down performance. I still need to confirm the performance drop, but at the very least, we can’t condone someone hijacking a service against their wishes.
- Using either of these plugins allows a person to effectively use Twitter, even if a school has chosen to block the service via EduTech’s Internet filters. Note that students with cell phones could still tweet away no matter what anyway.
There are also a few big questions to answer:
- Is it ok for us to create a mechanism that allows students to use Twitter on school computers, even if the school has chosen to block that site?
- What is the effect on performance? I’m happy to extend the power and utility of EduTech services via plugins, but if it comes at the expense of stability, security or performance then it is hard to be generous.
- What other plugins would be of higher priority? This is hard to answer because the service is so new that there has been very little time for people to supply feedback on what else they want it to do.