I like to keep things simple, yet I like to be connected. However, with all the social networking options available, this can be time consuming to accomplish. Some software and services are available to help with this, and I came to find that the most obvious ones are either broken or don’t work as I would like.
Basically, I have 3 places to post things; here, a WordPress (well, technically a WordPress MU) blog, Facebook and Twitter. The latter two are excellent for keeping in touch with friends, acquaintances and colleagues. The former was put together as a place to share ‘more public’ things – e.g. solutions to problems that I may come across, bits of code, a resume, and other geeky predilections. Now, I’m not so naive to believe that data that I post to social networking sites are any ‘less public’ than what I post here – to the contrary, such data is probably more likely to get indexed and used to incriminate me, but the nature of the small status updates are less likely to make sense out of context and, by the nature of the character limits, can’t be used (as easily) to express complex thoughts or explanations. However, I digress….
My point is I wanted to make it so that if I update one of the 3, the other 2 would reflect the change. Getting WordPress and Twitter to play nice was the easy part – Twitter Tools is a great plugin that handles this elegantly and is quite flexible to get it to fit your particular needs. I’ve set it up here so that whenever I create a post, a status update is posted on twitter. Also, whenever I tweet, it creates a post here; fortunately, the plugin is intelligent enough so that an endless loop of posts and tweets do not occur. You can even tweet from the backend, though it’s not as nice an interface, as it doesn’t count characters as you type like Twitter does. Now, there are other plugins that allow you to update both Facebook and Twitter at once, but I didn’t care for them as much; in the end, I opted to try and get Facebook and Twitter to talk to one another.
Facebook has an official app that they developed to tie in to Twitter, however it only works for Pages (businesses/organizations), not Profiles (real, actual people). The folks at Twitter cooked up an app to update Facebook each time you tweet, however I could not get it to work. Google only readily turned up one other Facebook app, but that one requires you to add a #fb hashtag whenever you want a tweet to update your Facebook status (annoying!). I finally came across Tweetpo.st which works exactly as the official Twitter app is supposed to, though it has the option to use #fb hashtags if you’re in to that sort of thing. Additionally, it can work with multiple profiles, pages and twitter accounts so you can link them as you wish; a very nice feature if you happen to be a page admin.
Basically, the flow of information goes from this site to Twitter to Facebook, or from Twitter to this site and Facebook. It would be nice if status updates in Facebook would be tweeted or posted here to complete the circle, though I am satisfied with how things work currently. If I didn’t care what anyone else was up to, I could just log on here to let everyone know what I was up to. Actually, that’s not entirely a bad idea – it would certainly cut down on all the Mafia Wars and Farmville updates cluttering my Facebook feed, not to mention the DM spam I get on Twitter.