WordPress has just added a feature to its blogging software that, in theory, looks like a winner. It’s supposed to break up blog posts that are longer than the 280 characters allowed in individual tweets (almost there…) into threads. And, according to the company that makes this software, it will do so in an elegant fashion. So let’s see.
The first issue, and nearly a showstopper, is that I’m required to use the “blocks” editing system that WordPress has been pushing on its users for a while now. I’m totally accustomed to the old system’s simple editor, which lets me focus on the words and, when I need to, drop an image into the post. But I’m an old, unreconstructed blogger from ancient times, as we like to refer to the years from 1999 to roughly 2010, when social media became, more and more, the primary outlet for a lot of us.
I started this post with a screen shot from Twitter (actually TweetDeck), reduced slightly and embedded into the post. I’m not sure how it’s going to look yet in Twitter, but it looks OK in WP for the moment.
I’m going to click the JetPack link in the upper right to see how the Twitter integration works. (It was already working well for posting single tweets.) I see that it gives me some useful options, not least a) a way to customize the introduction message; and b) decide whether to post the entire thread on Twitter or simply link to this post there. (I’d like the option to forego the introductory tweet and just post the thread directly.)
When I preview the thread I see that WordPress often, but not always, breaks up the post into single sentences from the blog post. That’s not optimal, but I can understand the logic.
It also lets me edit where those breaks will not occur — I don’t see a way to force a break. That’s not ideal. I tried it and some of the breaks further down got wonky.
I’d also like to have WP automatically put in indicators of where I am in the thread, e.g. 1/x, 2/x, 3/x…10/end to give a reader a better indication of where the particular tweet comes in the sequence, and to be another alert that it’s part of a thread or, if I get ambitious, a tweetstorm.
Whoops, I see in the last one that it broke in the middle of the sentence, adding ellipses at the end of one tweet and the beginning of the next one. So much for my theory that it does complete sentences.
This seems to work pretty well, overall. I’m planning to give it more of a workout soon.