Comment with your Twitter/Facebook profiles

I’ve finally started upgrading the back end of this blog to start tackling the increasingly important issue of connecting with the discussions posts can prompt in a myriad of places.

Whereas discussion was generally confined to the Comments section in days of old, now it can spring up on Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed etc.

As a commenter, I’ve found Backtype to be useful for aggregating the comments I’ve made, but when it came to starting to tie it all together here, Disqus was an obvious, and easy choice to install and start using.

All of the comments made directly have now been imported into the new system, and I’ve added the ability to post with your Twitter and Facebook usernames, as well as importing discussion around a post from locations like Friendfeed. You can even post a video comment via Seesmic.

I’ve also installed a Disqus widget to show the Top Commenters, Recent Comments and Popular Comments, so you should see that start to hopefully fill out in the next few days in the right side bar.

In addition, I’ve also started combining my saved bookmarks by posting to both Diigo and Delicious, to provide some cloud-based backup and to see which is the best route for publishing any links I want to share – as well as looking at which plugins/widgets might be contributing to long loading times.

All aimed at providing a better service to you, the readers that make all this worthwhile, so let me know if there’s anything you’d suggest, or things you think I should definitely keep or get rid of!

More ways to shorten your urls and post links

tr.im is the latest in a fairly substantial list of services which offer to shorten your links to make them more compatible with microblogging sites like Twitter.

After all, when you’ve only got 140 characters to play with, you don’t want to be posting a lengthy website address – and even better, many of the newer services also include tracking of click-throughs. Particularly useful for marketing professionals to see whether it was their link which got traffic to their content.

tr.im works with Twitter and Indenti.ca and will automatically update your status. It tracks stats, allows comments on your urls, and your account keeps a history of your shortened urls (You can log in with your Twitter details). One of the main ways it stands out from other url shorteners is by offering to retweet popular shortened urls – bonus traffic!

Some of the other popular url shorteners are:

TinyURL is just about the grandaddy of url shortening. It does what it says on the tin, via the website or bookmarklet.

SnipURL: Shortens URLs, allows you to see how many people have clicked on them, and has useful options including showing the long url in brackets when the shortened url is copied – handy if people might mistake your url for a phishing scam etc.

Bit.ly: I started with tinyurl but switched to Bit.ly. It keeps stats for your urls, and splits them between Twitter (seperating out individual pages e.g. those clicking from twitter.com/home and twitter.com/badgergravling, and also those from 3rd party applications. Plus it records any conversations and retweets on Twitter and Friendfeed, comments, and metadata. It’s interesting that Twitterfeed (auto RSS posting to Twitter) seems to be using Bit.ly now. And most interesting is that you can set a custom term for your shortened url address – which can only be used once, so it’s yours forever if you pick a good one!

Some that I haven’t tried, and can’t in any way vouch for,  include:

Notlong:

Shorterlink

Doiop

Shorl

Shorttext

Tinypic (for images).

Zurl

Curio.us

Get-URL

and many many more. Interesting several that I’d heard of appear to have folded due to a combination of problems with hosts or spammers using their service. It’s important to make sure you check who is posting a shortened url before clicking on it, just in case – and obviously be aware if the link takes you to a site requesting any type of login information.

To see all the available url shorteners we’ve encountered, check out the Microblogging tools section.

New WordPress 2.6 arrives – one month ahead of schedule…

I know all the tech news type blogs will have covered this in-depth, but the new version of WordPress, 2.6 ‘Tyner’ has arrived one month ahead of schedule and looks awesome.

Post from anywhere is going to be incredibly useful, particularly in a blogosphere still worrying that microblogging is quicker and easier.  The wiki tracking of edits could be really helpful on my group blog over at www.140char.com, meaning that group posts could now be properly collaborative. Plus little things like wordcounts and image captions that make a big difference.

Having spent a lot of time on Blogger, I’m so glad I made the switch, even if it meant sacrificing my Google Page Rank for while!