3 Great Plugins for Embedding Tweets into Your WordPress Site

3 Great Plugins for Embedding Tweets into Your WordPress Site

By this point, Twitter is an inescapable fact of online life – you may not use it yourself, but there’s a whole world of information being traded and discussed out there that your readers can benefit from.

Embedding tweets into articles on your WordPress site is a great way of connecting what you’re saying to the broader discussion while making sure readers don’t have to head out to an external site to get that information.

A picture of eggs emblazoned with the Twitter logo.

WordPress have made this even easier by adding Twitter to their oEmbed whitelist, meaning that all it takes to embed a tweet in your post is to paste the tweet’s URL in a new line, as long as your site is auto-embed enabled. (As of 3.5, all WordPress sites automatically have auto-embed enabled, with no setting to turn them off. For versions older than 3.5, auto-embed can be found in Administration > Settings > Media.)

Across multiple tweets, though, this can become a clunky and space-consuming method – especially with the image previews that Twitter automatically throws into the embed code. Thankfully, for users who want to curate a collection of tweets into the one WordPress post, there are other options that are readily available and easy to use.

Using the In-built Twitter Widget

An example of the in-built Twitter widget service.
Also, the default widget search is for #corgi, which is nice.

Twitter actually provide their own service to build a widget that’s ready to put into any WordPress post out of the box. Head to their widget creation page and choose the category you want (user timeline, favorites, a list, or a search) and work from there. The resulting code can be inserted into the plain-text editor of a post, but if you notice anything you’d like to tweak once it’s been implemented, you have to return to the creation page and make a new one.

(Thankfully, they provide an option to turn off auto-expanding images, and even include a “safe mode” which can filter out profanity and media marked as including sensitive content.)

Tweet Blender

Tweet Blender is an excellent plugin that sets up a widget streaming tweets across multiple defined search terms. By throwing it in a post, you can keep readers updated on the latest discussion while also keeping them on your site.

Tweet Blender's filters failing to allow only English tweets.
Tweet Blender’s filters don’t always live up to their promise.

Inserting a widget into your post is a simple matter of placing a <form> into the plain-text editor of your post and editing the search configurations directly from the HTML – use the main widget settings to filter out replies, retweets, and the spam that inevitably shows up in any popular topic. (These filters aren’t always that effective, though – check out the picture for an example.)

The plugin also caters for a universal blacklist, but doesn’t allow you to customise blacklists by individual widget – to ensure your stream displays exactly what you need, you’ll just have to rely on Twitter’s handy list of Search Operators. Widgets automatically refresh the search every 60 seconds, but to save API requests from multiple readers accessing each search term, Tweet Blender collects a cache of tweets that can be individually cleared at will from the settings.

Fetch Tweets

Fetch Tweets is another plugin that streams Twitter searches – but instead of relying on your Twitter account to process oAuth requests like Tweet Blender, it looks to connect directly to your Twitter, requiring Consumer and Access codes attainable by creating an in-platform app. (Even if you’ve never done this before, it is a fairly straightforward process, but the Fetch Tweets FAQ does little more to help you through it than link you to the page and set you free.)

A comparison of a dedicated Fetch Tweets page with an embedded Twitter timeline.
Top: A dedicated Fetch Tweets page. Bottom: The same rule in a post. (Both screencaps using Twenty Thirteen.)

Unlike Tweet Blender’s all-in-one-post widget style, Fetch Tweets gives you the advantage of being able to construct individual search rules which can then be identified using their ID number, or categorised under different tags. Each rule creates its own published post that can be linked to directly or embedded in a different post using shortcode – which can itself be used to mix and match IDs or tags.

This leads to a wealth of options for tweaking every search. Want to bring together searches on “WordPress” and “developers”? Make them both the terms for the one rule. Or make them separate rules, so you can keep them for discrete searches, then put both of their IDs in the one shortcode. Or tag both rules as “WPDEV” and use the tag shortcode to bring together “WPDEV” and “BPDEV” tweets.

On the style side, Fetch Tweets also provides you with templates that can be modified through their stylesheets and PHP to tweak the look of whatever you’re preparing.

A capture of the Rule Management page for Fetch Tweets.
Fetch Tweets’ Rule Management page.


Rotating Tweets

If space is at an absolute premium in your posts, but you still want to provide readers with a bit of variety in your embedded tweets, give Rotating Tweets a look. This plugin also streams Twitter searches, but with a twist – it only displays one tweet at a time in an animated “rotation”.

This is another plugin that works through connecting to Twitter as an app – which means that if you were thinking about using it in conjunction with Fetch Tweets, you’re out of luck, since the oAuth conflict causes a fatal error. However, it also does coach you through the app creation process on its plugin page, which is convenient for anyone who’s never done it before.

Rotating Tweets runs off shortcode configured with parameters right there in the post, including setting the timeout length for each tweet, the ability to turn off retweets and replies, and the option to mess with whether or not it displays bundled Twitter information like timestamp and screennames. The animation (and the subsequent sense of constant movement in your posts) may not be to everyone’s taste, though.

An image showing the animation used in Rotating Tweets.

Other Options

The following plugins throw up compatibility issues with the latest WordPress install, so unless you’re running a version older than the listed compatibility, it’s best not to bother with them. But we’ll go ahead and include them here in case they decide to update them in the future. As Livefyre has just acquired Storify, for example, that’s a distinct possibility.

Storify

Compatible with: 3.4.2 and older

For anyone looking to bring together a specific collection of tweets, whether you’re curating a hashtag or archiving a conversation, Storify is an excellent tool – and can be used to combine these tweets with other content in the one package.

A sample of a Storify featuring corgis.
Being able to pick and choose which tweets to display is also a big plus.

The Storify plugin connects directly with your account on the Storify website, letting you insert stories you’ve already made, or make stories directly from the WordPress dashboard. These stories are drag-and-drop collections of social media content from around the web, including tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and Flickr and Instagram photos.

If your WordPress install is too new to support the plugin properly, though, you’re not out of luck. For a story you’ve created, you can use the service to export it directly to your website – although Storify will ask for your admin details. You can also try directly implanting the embed code available on the Storify website into the plain-text editor of a post. (If neither of these work, try consulting the Storify Knowledge Base.)

Inline Tweets

Compatible with: 3.5.2 and older

Inline Tweets is a step up in style from Tweet Blender, but a big drop in functionality from both Tweet Blender and Fetch Tweets, only letting you stream tweets from a particular user or embed a single status update.

Instead of using Twitter’s script, which includes link excerpts and all the regular Twitter functions available to logged-in Twitter users, Inline Tweets parcels <div> or <li> elements with CSS class attributes that can be modified individually in a style sheet – enabling you to hide irrelevant classes, like a tweeter’s username in a timeline composed solely of their tweets.

Image credits: Feature image: Garrett Heath, Rotating Tweets image: mpntod.