Integrating the distributed commentspace of Twitter into your blog

Last Monday I wrote a blog post on Vampire movies in IMDB and Breyten notified me on Twitter that he wasn’t sure his comment came through on my blog because of a BackType error. I used the BackType Connect plugin for WordPress to integrate tweets related to the blog post into the commentspace. Conversations are increasingly moving from the blog commentspace to distributed commentspaces on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as analyzed with colleague Carolin Gerlitz. 0 comments has become 12 tweets and 4 Likes. This has also been noted by Jill Walker Rettberg who tweeted about whether there is a WordPress plugin to include Twitter mentions of a blog post in the light of the death of blog comments, or rather the migration of blog comments to other platforms.

Unfortunately, when Twitter acquired BackType, the plugin also stopped working. While developers have created a new plugin, this new plugin requires a BackType API key which can no longer be requested. Time to find a new plugin to integrate conversations on my blog. BackType itself suggests Disqus but I am not comfortable replacing my commenting system with an external system by a third party. I found two suitable options: one is a plugin by Benjamin J. Balter and the other is a plugin by Topsy. I went for the Topsy plugin because it is very versatile as it includes both a retweet button and Twitter trackbacks. For now I have only enabled the Twitter trackbacks in the comments as I am already using Twitter’s own retweet button. I could consider switching to Topsy’s retweet button as I can use my API to track my retweets.

How to use the Topsy button to only include your blog post mentions and comments on Twitter?

  1. Go to Settings > Topsy
  2. Go to Button Placement > uncheck all boxes with “Display on page”
  3. Go to Trackback Comments and check Enable trackback comments

That’s it!

The only downside? The old BackType Connect plugin supported conversations from Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, Reddit, Hacker News and other blogs while Topsy only supports Twitter. If you know of a WordPress plugin that still works and functions similarly to the BackType Connect button, please let me know in the comments or mention this post on Twitter ;)

6 thoughts on “Integrating the distributed commentspace of Twitter into your blog

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  2. Thanks, Anne – just what I needed. I’ve installed it, but I notice that although I see the full text of the tweets from my editing view of a post, the reader only sees the name of the person who tweeted it. Can’t figure out why, and I see it works perfectly for you – I don’t suppose you came across this problem?

    1. Actually it looks like new tweets show up corectly, it’s just the ones tweeted before I installed the plugin that are messy. So all is good – thanks!

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