I’m very pleased to share version 2.5 of Social with you. Brought to you by our good friends at MailChimp (see their blog post), Social is a WordPress plugin that connects your WordPress site to Twitter and Facebook in really interesting ways.
Here are the high level bullet points:
- easily connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts (no need to create apps through their developer sites and copy keys around – this feature enabled directly by MailChimp)
- allow any other authors on your site to broadcast their own accounts, as well as to any global accounts for the site
- broadcast your posts to Twitter and Facebook (with customized messages for each account)
- pull social reactions on Twitter and Facebook back in to your site as comments (this could be liking or retweeting your broadcast, replying with a comment, or just tweeting a link to your post)
- ability to reply to these social reactions from your WordPress site and send them back to the appropriate social network (keep the conversation going)
- your site visitors can authenticate with their Twitter or Facebook accounts when commenting (and they can optionally post their comment back to their social networks)
Pretty good feature list, right? Social also has a couple of great collateral features. When used in conjunction with the “users must be logged in to comment” feature of WordPress, you can choose to require your commentors to attach a more meaningful (and verified) identity with their comments. Removing anonymous noise from the mix always raises the level of debate.
Social also allows your site to be the place for your content. You can bring in conversations from both Facebook and Twitter back to your site, while still participating in the conversations on those social networks. Engage with people where they want to engage, but do so while providing a richer cross-network experience on your own site.
That’s Social in a nutshell. Which brings us to the “what’s new in this version” list. I did most of the coding on this release so I’m hardly unbiased, but I’m pretty darn pleased with the way this version has shaped up. I’ve been using development builds on this site for a bit now, and I really like the way the new features have removed that last little bit of friction from some of my more common interactions.
Before we launch into what’s new, I’d like to take a moment to point out that Social is built entirely in the open on GitHub. Developers, please send us awesome pull requests.
I think some of the best changes in this version are in the improvements to interactions with Facebook. By default, when a post is broadcast it is sent as a link rather than a status post; regardless of if it has a featured image or not. The obvious exception here is for posts that have a status post format – those are still sent as status posts. To try to make this interaction clear, we show a nice preview of how the post will look on Facebook on the broadcast screen.
When comments are broadcast to Facebook, we try to do the Right Thing with it. There are two options:
- The comment is replying to an existing comment thread and we should post it back to the same thread in Facebook. If this is the case, we try to do so. If for some reason (permissions, etc.) we aren’t able to do so, then we fall back on option 2…
- Post the comment with a link to the post to the commentor’s timeline. It makes more sense. Their comment is on the link, and the link is posted right along with it. This should make the posts going back to Facebook more meaningful.
We also take the step of auto-selecting the “Post to Facebook” checkbox under the following conditions:
- The (admin/author) user has a Facebook profile attached to their account.
- The comment they have clicked “reply” was imported from (or was broadcast to) Facebook.
Social does this all for you – just hit reply, type your message and send. This feature is important to keep the conversation running easily on both Facebook and your WordPress site.
Twitter integration got some nice improvements in this version as well. You were previously able to import tweets as comment directly by URL, but now you can do this from the front-end as well. Use the menu we add in the admin bar under the Comments item to bring in tweets directly (and look for social comments). This is really useful for bringing in replies to replies or other tweets that are part of the conversation, but not something that Social will pick up by default. Note that you have to be on a single post (permalink) view for this to be available.
One of the use cases that I think makes Social really interesting is the way it allows your WordPress site to interact with real-time happenings on Twitter. Did someone tweet something that prompted you to write a blog post? You can send your broadcast tweet as a reply to that user.
Tip: Make sure to include their @username in the tweet so that they see it as you expect.
We also improved the Twitter comment detection to auto-select the account that a tweet was directed to when replying to an imported comment. Huh? Basically, if @someoneelse sends a tweet to @yourusername and Social brings that in as a comment, Social will also select your @yourusername and check the “post to Twitter” box when you hit the Reply link for that comment. It also inserts @someoneelse into the comment box so that you can start writing your reply.
The last significant change we made is to widen the net a little and catch specific types of Twitter replies, then import them as comments. The scenario is basically this:
- You broadcast a post.
- Someone replies to your post, this is imported as a comment on your site.
- You reply to that comment on your site, and broadcast it back to Twitter.
- The other person (or multiple people) reply to that comment.
Previously we would have missed automatically importing the replies in step 4 above. Now we catch them.
We walk a fine line with the amount of content we try to find and import. In particular we want to make sure we don’t set up rules that allow Social to use up all of your API requests checking for comments on your broadcasts. However, we do want to bring in as many relevant reactions as we can. We were able to make this change without requiring an additional API hit. We are able to look for additional data in the API requests we were already making.
You can now send customized broadcasts to each account in a single action – each account has its own form that you can edit. By default, the first broadcast message for each service (Facebook, Twitter) is editable while any others are in “copycat” mode. They will all be updated along with the edits to the first message unless you click the Edit link for the ones you want to customize. We think this is a good compromise between convenience and control, and hope you like how it works.
The account management forms have been streamlined and cleaned up, on both the main Social settings screen and the user profile screen. For example, Facebook pages are always displayed so they can be selected, etc. We also consolidated the selection of “default” accounts into the main accounts list. We hope this makes these pages easier to understand and use.
Some of you have post broadcasts that get a ton of Likes and Retweets. These are cool to see in the (condensed view in the) comments list, but not as meaningful in the comments RSS/Atom feeds that WordPress generates. We’ve added some code to suppress these types of “meta” comments in the feeds.
When you have lots of comments, they come with a lot of in-page image requests. This can cause your site to load more slowly than you’d like, so we implemented support for the Lazy Load plugin. Install and enable this plugin, and the avatars for your Social comments only load when scrolled into view.
Social now functions as a platform for other social WordPress plugins. You can choose to disable any features that you don’t want on your site and just use the connections to social networks. Expect a new release of Twitter Tools, built on Social, very soon.
Of course we also fixed all of the bugs we were able to reproduce. This includes making Facebook comment importing more consistent, along with a number of other fixes and improvements.
A quick word about Google+ integration (by far the most requested feature – tracked here). It’s something we want to do and plan to do, but until Google+ has a write API we can’t attain feature parity with our Facebook and Twitter integrations. My guess? We’ll see a Google+ API featured next month at Google I/O.
Want to build cool WordPress integrations like this? We’re hiring.
This post is part of the project: Social. View the project timeline for more context on this post.
RT @alexkingorg: Announcing Social 2.5 for #WordPress. Sorry about the long blog post, we created too many awesome new features. http:// …
#wordpress : Social 2.5 http://t.co/QaPTHnum
Social 2.5 : http://t.co/637mlPq5 http://t.co/e9RwwLje #wordpress #wp
Alex King: Social 2.5 http://t.co/R0MYJWGh
New on @alexkingorg: Social 2.5 http://t.co/flXe2pMS
Alex King: Social 2.5: I’m very pleased to share version 2.5 of Social with you. Brought to you by our good frie… http://t.co/VDdy033x
And where do we get this?
This looks INSANELY useful – I’ll give it a test! http://t.co/PPjpcx1O
I was just thinking I wanted to add this sort of integration! RT @alexkingorg: Announcing Social 2.5 for #WordPress. http://t.co/poCVOyxa
Never mind. I found it. It works a lot better than the SEO Facebook comments plugin. It doesn’t drag the loading of my site down and suddenly my server resources are back down to a dull roar.
Social is a WordPress plugin that connects your WordPress site to Twitter and Facebook in really interesting ways. http://t.co/44FuQxPc
Alex King: Social 2.5 http://t.co/eQvEVOsv :: @web-designs.gr
Social 2.5 looks like _the_ way to turn your WordPress blog into the central node your online life. http://t.co/T1pvQ5nd
@mattwiebe I was noticing that plugin. Impressive list of features and abilities.
@iChris Their favepersonal theme also integrates it quite nicely: http://t.co/lxvgu2oU
Wow! RT @mattwiebe: Social 2.5 looks like _the_ way to turn your WordPress blog into the central node your online life. http://t.co/Oj7i2BaQ
Social 2.5 http://t.co/FsxFY4zk #wordpress < I am going to try this!!
Alex King: Social 2.5 – I’m very pleased to share version 2.5 of Social with you. Brought to you by our good f… http://t.co/1JiYal8x
Post on Social 2.5 from Alex King http://t.co/nJDEhX4I
[…] Force has gotten a little more Social. So to speak. We’ve been sending new posts to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr for a while, but until […]
Social 2.5 for #WordPress – long blog post, but many awesome new features! http://t.co/uiEGOIzn via @alexkingorg
RT @TomRaftery: Social 2.5 for #WordPress – long blog post, but many awesome new features! http://t.co/KIp3LLBF >> gotta try it out!
Social plugin for WordPress by @alexingorg updated to v2.5. http://t.co/rZ0XfZV7 Been using this for a while – it’s excellent.
easily connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts (no need to create apps through their developer sites and copy keys around – this feature enabled directly by MailChimp)
I have no interest in working with Mailchimp.
Is that necessary to use this plug-in?
MailChimp runs the service that allows for nice simple OAuth2 authentication with Twitter and Facebook. I believe Social is the only WordPress plugin that makes setting up a connection to Twitter and Facebook so easy, and the service MailChimp provides is what enables this.
#WordPress plugin Social 2.5 is out http://t.co/06gpGejg
[…] I’m very pleased to share version 2.5 of Social with you. Brought to you by our good friends at MailChimp (see their blog post), Social is a… Read More […]
Social 2.5 is a WordPress plugin that connects your site to Twitter and Facebook in interesting ways. http://t.co/u00aSysU via @sharethis
Social 2.5 http://t.co/NY016Qxq
Wow… This looks really useful… Think I may have to experiment with it on @aussietheatre
@alexkingorg – Thanks for #Social. To everyone else: amazing integration between #Wordpress and social media. http://t.co/cQ5IQAgt
#followmejp Alex King: Social 2.5: http://t.co/qhHF5F0y #sougofollow
Alex King: Social 2.5 http://t.co/je1szhEY #wordpress #wp
Alex King: Social 2.5: http://t.co/8hWcM2iB
[…] few days ago, Alex King announced the release of the new version of Social plugin for WordPress. It’s one of those that can broadcast your blog posts to Twitter and Facebook. But not […]
(A test post..)
A great plugin!
Testing a second time, now with my FB account.
I think this is a great service, but now that I’ve seen it in action on my site, and watched it pull in 18 comments from a FB thread, I’m wondering if there will be an initial backlash to using it. So many people see FB as their private space where they don’t have to worry about posts circulating on the the wider net, so there may be an initial surprise when people see their FB comments opened to the world.
Kudos for developing this. I hope it’s successful!
[…] of our FavePersonal theme for WordPress (the theme you see on this site). This release includes the new 2.5 version of the Social plugin as well as updates to Carrington Core and other libraries and code changes to use new best […]
[…] ver ambos funcionando e as características de cada um, visite os sites: Livefyre e Social. O Social é o que está ativado no Voo Tático agora. A pesquisa vai até 15 de agosto.Leia […]
Just tried your plugin out, and so far, I love it! It was disappointing to see all of the commentary on my blog posts go to social networks over the past three years, and leave my blog comments section an echo chamber. This really helps.
Question: do these comments “stay” in the WordPress comment database, or, if I ever deactivated the plugin, do they all disappear, including the comments where a user logged in with name/email/website?
One of the reasons I don’t use Facebook comments, etc. is because once that is deactivated, I lose ALL comments. That one reason is why I stumble on with the built-in WordPress comment system.
I have not intention of deactivating this plugin, but knowing that once in a while WordPress chokes and I have to deactivate and remove plugins, I would love to know that I won’t lose my comments that were created during this plugin’s reign if it’s removed. Which comments stay when the plugin is gone?
This is the first post I’ve used it on. Love what you’ve made. Thank you for making it!