Bridging the Gap Between Your Blog and Social Media

This is the first in what I think will be several posts about my efforts to better inte­grate my content with social networks and make it avail­able wherever people are. Essen­tially I’m docu­ment­ing the process as I grad­u­ally figure it out, because while a lot has been writ­ten on the subject there is no good step by step guide avail­able so like every­one else I have to make it up as I go along.

My Blog Setup

I run my blog on a self-hosted Word­Press instal­la­tion. At vari­ous points I have consid­ered just going to Word​Press​.com but I enjoy being able to tinker too much and what’s what the self-host­ing lets me do.

Right now I have 65 active plug­ins running and 5 inac­tive ones that I use occa­sion­ally. Is this exces­sive? Prob­a­bly, but I said I like to tinker. The number goes up and down as I try things out, but it has been increas­ing signif­i­cantly recently because commu­ni­ca­tion between blog and social media accounts is complex.

At the core of my latest attempts is Indie Web Camp which has an IndieWeb plugin. This is actu­ally a compi­la­tion of a number of other plug­ins that collec­tively enable the core feature set I am look­ing for.

The Name of the Game is POSSE

Or as Indie Web Camp defines it Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndi­cate Else­where. What I want to be able to do, what I should be able to do, is create the post on my own blog and have it go every­where else. Why? Because re-writ­ing the same thing for each indi­vid­ual social media site is a ridicu­lous waste of my time, it’s not like I get paid for this stuff. Also because it’s my stuff and I want an archive copy.

There are a number of differ­ent ways to do this and in truth none of the ones I’ve tried so far are 100% satis­fac­tory to me so I have cobbled together a combi­na­tion. Let’s look at some of the options though:

1. Brid​.gy

bridgy_logoWe’re going to be talk­ing about Brid​.gy more in a bit but one of its func­tions is to publish your content to several differ­ent sites includ­ing Twit­ter, Flickr and Face­book. No Google Plus though, but that’s mostly Google’s fault for the lack of API. The other nega­tive is the posts do not look pretty. It works, but it’s sub-opti­mal from my perspec­tive.

2. Jetpack for WordPress

screenshot-1Jetpack is the Swiss Army Knife of Word­Press plug­ins. If you have a self-hosted Word­Press you prob­a­bly already have this. That’s a plus if you don’t like to have lots of plug­ins installed. There’s a func­tion in Jetpack called Publi­cize that will let you auto-publish your posts to Face­book, Tumblr, Twit­ter, Path, LinkedIn and Google+. It works, mostly (I have issued with the Face­book post­ing where it just randomly stops and I have to relink it) and the result­ing posts are reason­ably attrac­tive, even includ­ing an image. Unfor­tu­nately it will only post the excerpt of your blog and doesn’t let you customize how much text that is or anything else about it really. The big nega­tive for me is the fact it randomly stops work­ing, your mileage may vary.

3. Social Networks Auto Poster (SNAP)

This is the most power­ful of the three options and offers a lot more services to post to. Face­book, Tumblr and Twit­ter are there, but so is Flickr and Google+ and Insta­gram and Pintrest but you will have to pay to get those last three and $49 is a rather hefty fee when you’re not mone­tized. That’s a shame because there are far more config­u­ra­tion options avail­able here that control how your posts will look on the vari­ous sites. I love that flex­i­bil­ity but I’m also a cheap­skate. Also I have been unable to get Tumblr post­ing to work, I get weird error codes, I may figure it out even­tu­ally.

So what do I recom­mend. Well, the money doesn’t bother you then SNAP seems like the best all round. If, like me, you’re a bit cheap then you cobble things together. So I use  Jetpack Publi­cize for Tumblr and G+ while I use SNAP for Face­book, Twit­ter and Flickr and on top of that I use the Medium plugin to sync with Medium.

Limitations

Every­where you look you run into limi­ta­tions. There are other ways you can hack this together, auto-post­ing from your RSS feed, using IFTTT scripts, but the more exter­nal services you rely on the shakier the whole thing becomes.

One of the things you can’t do with this system for exam­ple is spec­ify a partic­u­lar Collec­tion on G+ or set of people on Face­book to share the posts with. It’s all or noth­ing.

Ideally I would prefer to send the entire post to Face­book and G+. I know that send­ing links signif­i­cantly reduces read­er­ship, but for the moment at least that’s not an option that’s avail­able to me, and post­ing natively every­where isn’t a cred­i­ble option.

But Wait, There’s More!

Of course syndi­cat­ing your content out from your blog is at most half the battle and arguably less than that. There’s still the matter of getting comments back again and then there’s IndieAuth. But I’ll leave that for future posts.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of eoghann.com. You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?

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