Microblogging is all the rage nowadays. Everyone and their cat is doing it. Literally, cats are doing it.
One of the more exciting aspects of WordPress development, Plugins and themes, is how to draw what we’re doing elsewhere on the web into our blogs so we can own them. Right now for most of us that means integration of Twitter into our WordPress sites.
Tweem is a new theme from the new WordPress theme shop called Shopping Themes. I recently received a copy of Tweem and gave it a spin. Read on for my thoughts.
Running a Twitter microsite with Tweem
The first thing to realize about Tweem is that, being a theme, it’s specifically designed for running on its own as something like a sub domain. Out of the box, Tweem will take over your site and place it’s tabbed interface front and center. You’ll still have a widget ready sidebar on the side, but all of your blog’s contents will be gone. In other words, this isn’t something you’ll want to use on any current blog you run. Install WordPress someplace shiny and new and call that your microsite.
The nicest thing about Tweem is the jQuery magic that causes the real time updating. Switching between tabs doesn’t require reloading the page either, which is nice.
In my testing Tweem didn’t seem to recognize the different tabs based on the URL I fed it. So while switching between tabs generates an “#tab1” or “#tab2” and so on in the URL field, going to that URL specifically won’t give you the tab you want; “#tab2” still gives me tab one. It would be nice to see the URL be a bit more friendly in future releases.
The theme options for Tweem are pretty straightforward, as they should be. The instructions page is concise and helpful. Having them on the options page is a big plus, as otherwise you’d have to open up a new tab or window just to read a paragraph or two from the theme website.
When considering the different options for bringing Twitter into a place that you own, this isn’t a bad option. What’s interesting is that it’s a theme option, which is a new twist. Alex King’s Twitter Tools is a popular Plugin option for something like this, although it works as more of a sync between Twitter and your blog, rather than as its own thing. There’s no reason you couldn’t use Twitter Tools along with Tweem, for posting straight to Twitter from the sidebar of your microsite. That’s a pretty cool way to leverage a currently popular social site while keeping all activity on your pages.
Keep in mind that this theme won’t do anything like archiving tweets using your WordPress database. It’s just a show and tell, and as tweets slip past the bottom margin they slip from your site. It’s not a bad thing at all, just a function you should understand.
Tweem is also completely GPL, so you can do with it what you please. I’d recommend that you do just that, too. Think up a clever sub domain for your site and stick this in it. I’d think of something better than twitter.yourdomain.com, though, because one day we will (probably) move from Twitter to something else, and there’s no reason to waste time on a domain like that.
Tweem is available from Shopping Themes for only $15. Shopping Themes is a cool new theme shop with lean, functional themes. If you feel that my review was helpful in your decision to pick up Tweem, you can use my affiliate link. If you’d prefer not to, use this plain old vanilla link to go check it out.
Have a new theme you’d like reviewed?
If you’d like to have your theme reviewed at Theme Playgorund, send a description and a copy to ryan at this domain. I’ll definitely take a look at it and consider giving you a bit of press.