Social Networking

Connecting WordPress to other social media is one of the hottest areas of plugin development these days and it's hard to keep up with new offerings. In Lesson 24 I talked about how easy it is to display your latest Tweets on your WordPress site and plugins are available that can help make it even easier.

Here, I want to talk about two other functions that plugins can provide with respect to social networking:

□ Letting visitors easily use social media to let others know about your site

□ Letting you easily repurpose your WordPress content on your social networking accounts

Visitors can share what they've found on your WordPress site if you install one of several multifunction plugins. Through a single button visitors can share your content by instant message, e-mail, social bookmark, or posting to Facebook or Twitter. Three of the simplest plugins that do this are Add to Any, ShareThis, and Add This. Some plugins target specific social networking tools. Twitter is hot right now and more and more plugins like the TweetMeme Button are becoming available. What's nice about this plugin is that it sits at the top of each post encouraging people to Tweet about the post, with a bubble showing how many people have already done that.

The other group of social networking plugins aims to make life easier for website owners who want the same information they just posted to their site to appear on their social networking account. Plugins such as Twitter Tools integrate your posts with your Twitter account, and plugins like Wordbook do the same for Facebook.

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