Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
“Modern” homepage design increases pageviews and reader comprehension, study finds
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 29, 2013, 12:32 p.m.

If you use WordPress, you too can have tweetable sentences like in that New York Times SNL story

This plugin lets you pre-select certain tweetworthy sentences in your posts .

You may have noticed a few days ago that The New York Times continued its admirable attempts to innovate in how news site’s article pages should look. In this piece on auditioning for Saturday Night Live, Times staff highlighted a number of quotes from the piece and made them individually tweetable. It looked like this:

nytimes-tweetable-text-snl

(Andrew Beaujon had a good writeup at Poynter.)

I thought that was a nifty idea and wanted to see if I could make it work here at Nieman Lab. Turns out I could! You can see the first couple examples if you scroll down a bit in Caroline’s just-posted story on Localore:

niemanlab-tweetable-text

Now you can do the same on your WordPress-based site.

Most of the work here is done by a year-old WordPress plugin called Tweetable Text, written by Salim Virani. (You can see it in effect on his site.) It does the job, but there were a few things I wanted to change: improving how the highlighted text and hover buttons are displayed; avoiding its use of Twitter’s tweet button code; and allowing the text-to-be-tweeted to be different from the exact text that is highlighted in the story. So I made those and a few other small changes in Salim’s code; you can check out my new version of the WordPress plugin right here.

How to use it

— Download this file; unpack it, and upload tweetable-text.php to your WordPress plugins directory. Activate the plugin in your WordPress interface.

— Make sure you’re using Font Awesome, the awesome icon font, which is required to generate the little Twitter bird at phrase’s end. You can do that by simply adding

<link href="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/font-awesome/3.1.1/css/font-awesome.css" rel="stylesheet">

to your site’s <head>. (If you don’t want to use Font Awesome, you can either delete the &thinsp;<i class='icon-twitter' style='color: #ed2e24;'></i> on line 36 of the plugin — or replace it with a call to a Twitter-bird image. Or just change the layout however you’d like!)

— Then, in any WordPress post, if you want to make a sentence or phrase tweetable, wrap it in [tweetable] and [/tweetable]. So for example, the paragraph pictured above looks like this on the backend:

Schardt says that [tweetable]finding creative journalists with an awareness of what technologies are available to them is half the battle.[/tweetable] The advancements themselves outpace the average newsroom’s awareness and ability, but funding continues to be overwhelmingly aimed at furthering these platforms — while journalists struggle to keep up.

— If you want the tweet text to be something other than what’s literally between those [tweetable] tags, add an alt parameter like this:

Schardt says that [tweetable alt="This is actually the text that will show up in the tweet."]finding creative journalists with an awareness of what technologies are available to them is half the battle.[/tweetable] The advancements themselves outpace the average newsroom’s awareness and ability, but funding continues to be overwhelmingly aimed at furthering these platforms — while journalists struggle to keep up.

— If you want to add hashtags to the tweet, you can also add a hashtag parameter:

Schardt says that [tweetable hashtag="#journalism #publicmedia"]finding creative journalists with an awareness of what technologies are available to them is half the battle.[/tweetable] The advancements themselves outpace the average newsroom’s awareness and ability, but funding continues to be overwhelmingly aimed at furthering these platforms — while journalists struggle to keep up.

(You can use alt and hashtag together if you want. Or you can just include your hashtags within your alt text, if you’d like.)

My instinct is that this is a tool to be used sparingly; littering your stories with calls-to-tweet is likely to have the same impact as throwing 80 social sharing buttons on a page: annoying your readers. But I think I’ll be trying this out a bit — specifically on stories with great quotes that are just begging to be shared. (And by all means, make my code better! Would love to hear how you’re using it or how it could be made better.)

POSTED     Aug. 29, 2013, 12:32 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
“Modern” homepage design increases pageviews and reader comprehension, study finds
A new report from the Engaging News Project shows that users prefer modular, image-heavy homepage designs.
Newsonomics: The halving of America’s daily newsrooms
If you’re lucky enough to have the right deep-pocketed owner buy your paper and steady it, you’ve won the lottery. If you’re in a town whose paper is owned by the better chains, or committed local ownership, your loss will probably be mitigated. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
Gimlet wants to become the “HBO of podcasting” — here’s what its founder’s learned trying to get there
Alex Blumberg, CEO and co-founder of Gimlet Media: “People who like public radio like podcasts, but people outside of public radio also like podcasts. So let’s find those people.”
What to read next
1119
tweets
New Pew data: More Americans are getting news on Facebook and Twitter
A new study from the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation finds that more Americans of all ages, races, genders, education levels, and incomes are using Twitter and Facebook to consume news.
542Putting the public into public media membership
Getting beyond tote bags and pledge drives is critical to the sustainability of public media. Is there an alternative vision of membership that relies on relationships more than money?
538How Upworthy is using data to move beyond clickbait and curation
After hiring Amy O’Leary from The New York Times, the site has started using user data to inform its original content production.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Grist
Las Vegas Sun
Talking Points Memo
Ars Technica
Crosscut
La Nación
PolitiFact
The Orange County Register
Davis Wiki
Newsday
INDenverTimes
Placeblogger