Whether you have a blog hosted WordPress.com or you self host your own WordPress blog, the tools are there to use the platform for microblogging. I started microblogging using WordPress as an experiment almost two months ago when I got fed up with the advertisements and direction I saw Tumblr heading.
During this time, I explored different tools and posting methods provided by WordPress and WordPress plugins to see if I felt this platform performed as well as a platform like Tumblr. Overall, I’ll say with the right tools, this is a resounding Yes!
There are a few catches to it, however.
Pros of Microblogging with WordPress
I’ve discovered WordPress does several things well, especially in regards to embedding media from outside your blog. Here are some things I was impressed by:
- You can embed Tweets
— Positive Thoughts (@DailyQuotes10) April 17, 2015
- //platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsYou can embed entire Tumblr posts (!) using Press This
- You can embed Reddit comments
- You can easily embed YouTube videos
Also, just the typical pros of using WordPress:
- Basic WordPress.com blogs are free
- Lots of free themes and customization – even moreso if you self host
- If you self host, you have control over all content that you post and blog backups
- Self hosted blogs can never be deleted or removed without your permission
- Self hosted blogs often come with unlimited space for files and images – depending on your hosting package
- WordPress.com and self-hosted blogs connected to WordPress.com are connected to other bloggers in the WordPress network, allowing for Likes and Follows – similar to Tumblr
Cons of Microblogging with WordPress
Some cons to microblogging with WordPress:
- Still not quite as social-networky as platforms like Twitter and Tumblr
- Because of this, you will still need to connect and build a presence on other social networks to earn readers
- Self hosted blogs are not free – you have to pay for hosting space and maintain the blog on your own
- Free WordPress.com blogs have limitations, such as a 3 GB storage space, that Tumblr and Twitter hasn’t placed on users (yet)
Tools for Microblogging with WordPress
There are two major tools that make microblogging with WordPress work: the much-improved Press This feature and the Publicize feature. Both of these are provided to WordPress.com and self hosted WordPress blogs.
You drag the bookmarklet to your bookmark bar, which creates a Press This link. Then, whenever you’re on a page that has content, images or videos you want to microblog, just click Press This to pull up a blogging window, complete with embedded content from the other site. It also nicely creates a credit link to the site you’re sharing from, saving you time and ensuring your content is correctly sourced.
Using this can pull content from just about anything (including Reddit images and videos if you’re using the Reddit Enhancement Suite). It is THE tool that makes WordPress a microblog platform, and I’m very happy that it got a big upgrade with the last major WordPress update.
Publicize is listed under the Sharing options for blogs hosted on WordPress.com, and is a part of the Jetpack plugin for self hosted WordPress blogs. Remember how I noted that you’ll probably need to connect your WordPress blog to other social networks such as Tumblr and Twitter for more exposure? Well, this one biggest con can be overcome by setting Publicize to post to these social networks every time you publish something.
This makes your WordPress blog the center of attention, but still reaches out to other microblogging platforms to expose your posts to new readers. I do suggest you spend time building up connections with other folks on Tumblr and Twitter, which is something I did prior to launching my WordPress microblog, because those connections and supporting other community members are super important!