Using Tweet This For the First Time

Hey there!  Now that you’ve installed your shiny new plugin, it’s time to read the instruction manual.

But first, I want to thank you for using it.  As you play with your new plugin, if you have any questions or encounter problems, let me know.  I don’t bite.

I recommend opening a support thread for this plugin on WordPress.org.  However, if you’d rather, you can also contact me privately and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Now, on to the instructions!

 

The Short Version

If you’re like me, you think instructions are annoying.  For us, I’ve included an abbreviated set of instructions below.  Skim it, then leap into the plugin with both feet.  What’s the worst that could happen?

 

The Theory

This plugin works using enclosing shortcodes.  Specifically, these:

Creating Shortcodes Easily

Since manually creating these shortcodes is a pain, the plugin includes a handy shortcode creator.  Simply click the cute little bird symbol in the top row of your WordPress post editor.

Tweet This TinyMCE Button

A nice window will appear making the process easier.  It also includes a character counter to ensure you don’t have too long of a tweet, and a preview of what the final message will look like.

A link for your post is automatically generated and appended after your message.  You can customize this automatic URL generation in the plugin settings (more on these soon).  You can also override this automatic URL in the shortcode creator.

If you specify default Twitter handles, default hidden hashtags, or default hidden URLs in the settings (I promise, more on the settings soon), these too will be appended to your tweet.  Any default Twitter handles, hidden hashtags, and hidden URLs can be overridden and removed in the shortcode creator.

 

 

Creating Shortcodes Manually

If the automatic shortcode creator isn’t your style, you can make them manually.  Place the text you want tweeted between the shortcode tags.

 

 

There are additional shortcode parameters available for overriding the default settings (more on those in the long version of these instructions).  Of all the arguments, the most commonly used are url and twitter_handles.

url is… well… a URL.  This URL is appended to the end of the tweet.  If omitted, the URL to your post is automatically used instead.  The automatic URL is customizable in the settings (getting there soon, I promise).

twitter_handles is a comma-separated list of Twitter usernames (including the @ symbol) which will be appended after the URL.  If omitted, no Twitter usernames are included unless you specify defaults in the settings.

 

 

Tweet This Settings

See, I told you I’d get to the settings.

The settings for the Tweet This plugin are under the Settings menu heading in your WordPress admin section.  You can also find a link to the settings under the plugin listing in your installed plugins list.

Since I’m keeping the instructions short, I will not detail every setting.  They are all explained on the settings page. If you’d like more information on them, check out this page: Tweet This Settings.

 

And that’s it.  Like I said, the short version.  If this wasn’t enough information, keep reading.  Also, let me know what information was lacking that made you read the long version.  That way I can improve the short version. 😛  Simply leave a comment or contact me privately.

 


 

The Long Version

In the short version, I said I think instructions are annoying.  I used that to justify the brief instructions.

Well, that disdain for instructions has gotten me into trouble more than once.

So, here is a more detailed guide.  Hopefully you won’t end up with a modern art piece instead of a chair.

 

The Theory

WordPress has a fantastic feature called shortcodes.

Shortcodes allow plugin developers like me to output complex contents in your posts simply.

Without shortcodes, you would have to write all the ugly code to make this plugin work every time.  With shortcodes, I remove this burden from you:

When you want to place a Tweet This box in your post, you put this where you want it:

 

Then, you put the text you want to tweet in the middle and use shortcode parameters to customize the result if necessary.  I’ll discuss this in more detail shortly, but for now, here’s an example.

 

 

Easy Shortcode Creation

But personally, I think that is still a horrendous pain.  So, the plugin has a handy tool which will generate all that nastiness for you in a simple and intuitive way.  Click the little bird icon in your WordPress editor:

tinymce-button

This will open up a dialog box.  Simply fill out the fields, check the character counter to make sure the tweet isn’t too long, and check your preview to make sure everything is copacetic.

Then, click Insert Shortcode.

 

What are The URL and Twitter Handles About?

By default, this plugin automatically inserts a link to your post in the tweet.  The form of the link is customizable in the plugin settings (keep reading, I’ll get to those soon).  The example above, for example, showcases using a shortlink.

The plugin settings also allow you to specify some default Twitter usernames, some default hashtags, and some default URLs to append to your tweet.

If the default URLs, Twitter handles, and hashtags aren’t suitable for your tweet, they can all be overridden or removed under the numerous Options sections in the shortcode creator.

 

Manual Shortcode Creation

If at any time you’d rather manually create a shortcode or alter it later, you can use the example I used earlier as a guide.

 

The text you want tweeted goes between the shortcode tags.  The optional parameters urltwitter_handles, hidden_hashtags, and hidden_urls function the same as the options did in the shortcode creator.

Omitting url means the URL to your current post is automatically appended to your tweet.  This automatic URL is customizable in the plugin settings (I swear, I’m getting to those soon).  If the automatic URL isn’t to your liking, you can manually enter a URL with the url parameter.

Omitting twitter_handles means the default Twitter handles from the plugin settings are used.  By default, there are no default Twitter handles.  If you want to alter the included Twitter handles, simply use the twitter_handles parameter to specify a comma-separated list of the handles you want.

Omitting hidden_hashtags means the default hidden hashtags from the plugin settings are used.  Be default, there are no default hidden hashtags.  If you want to alter the included hidden hashtags, simply use the hidden_hashtags parameter to specify a list of the hashtags you want.

Omitting hidden_urls means the default hidden URLs from the plugin settings are used.  By default, there are no default hidden URLs.  If you want to alter the included hidden URLs, simply use the hidden_urls parameter to specify a list of the URLs you want.

 

If instead of overriding default values for those four items, you decide you want to remove them, add the parameter, preceded by remove_, with a value of true.  For example, to remove ALL defaults, the shortcode would look like this:

 

 

 

Plugin Settings

As I promised repeatedly, I’ll now discuss the plugin settings.

Plugin settings can be found under the Settings section of your WordPress admin menu.

Tweet This Settings Menu

There are several settings available, and more are added from time to time.  I’m not going to analyze the settings in exhaustive detail here.  You can find a detailed analysis of all of them here: Tweet This Settings.  Most of them are likely self-explanatory anyway.

I do want to draw attention to a few main items I referred to above.  The default Twitter handles, default hidden hashtags, and URL customization.

 

Default Twitter Handles

Tweet This Settings - Default Twitter Handles

This field should contain a comma-separated list of Twitter handles (including the @ symbol) you want appended to your tweet.

You can put your site’s/business’ Twitter handle there, your own, or some random person you feel like promoting.  It’s the same format for Twitter handles discussed above, and you can see the example beneath the field.

 

Default Hidden Hashtags

hashtag setting field

This field should contain a list of hashtags (including the hashtag symbol) you want appended to your tweet.  Hidden hashtags will not be visible in the Tweet This boxes on your site, but will show up when the users click the link to Tweet your message.  Just like the Twitter handles and URL.

 

URL Settings

By default, the plugin uses your post’s normal URL as specified in your site and permalink settings.

However, this is often far too long of a URL for a Twitter post.  For those with too long URLs, you can enable the use of shortlinks.  Shortlinks are important, especially on Twitter.  If you need help getting started, check out another post on this site: The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress Shortlinks.

Once you have a shortlink system in place, configuring Tweet This is a breeze.

To enable the use of shortlinks with this plugin, simply select “Yes” next to “Use Shortlink?”

Tweet This Settings - URL Settings

 

Remember, the automatically generated URL can always be overridden when creating the Tweet This shortcode too.

 

Are Settings Changes Retroactive?

Yes.  Any settings changes made will apply to all Tweet This boxes.  If you change the default Twitter handles, for example, every Tweet This box that relied on the default Twitter handles will reflect the change.

Overridden settings in the shortcodes will still override the new settings however.

 

Happy Tweeting!

That’s all there is too it.  I recommend checking out some of the other posts on this website for other ideas and more information regarding this plugin.

If you have any questions, found something I didn’t explain, or have suggestions on how to improve the explanation, please tell me.

There is a comments section below.  Or you can contact me privately.

Thank you for using my plugin!

John Morris

 

 

3 Comments


  1. You won’t believe this but after a year of blindly using your plug in I actually read your instructions today and I wish I had done it earlier. I finally understood what tweeting was all about.

    Thanks for this wonderful plug in and even more wonderful set of instructions!

    Reply

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