Breaking news… Two days ago I was customizing my twitter widget as normal and yet today, WordPress suggested I upgrade to the new Twitter Timeline widget as the old one is getting the boot. It promises greater customization – so I thought I’d check out what’s on offer.

The Twitter Timeline is already available in your widget page. Once you drag it into your sidebar to activate, you’ll need to follow a link to twitter to create your new widget. The page looks like this, so you can see there are loads of cool new options available:

Twitter Widget Creator

 

Auto-Expand Photos

It might look great, but do consider whether having too many images loading on your page is going to put off impatient readers. Also, just one photo will block room for other tweets – some might consider that a wasted opportunity to show what you’re about.

Theme

Light or dark. Unless the background to the dark theme miraculously matches your existing blog theme, I’d leave it light.

Streaming Your Favorites

Whether you tend to favorite useful links or just stuff that’s awesome, you’ll automatically be adding a little authority or personality to your blog using this option.

Link Color

Huzzah! Remember when I explained how to customize your link colors to match your blog header? Now you can tie your tweet links into the scheme as well. Sweet!

List

Displaying recent tweets has always been good for showing who you are, but the regular widget can potentially become clogged with random, personal, silly or not-particularly-relevant-to-your-reader tweets. However… listing people who have similar interests to you and therefore probably similar interests to a reader who is, after all, visiting your blog, will give that reader something useful, and they’ll remember you for it.

Search

I haven’t quite grasped why giving readers access to a hashtag search bar would be useful for anything other than causing them to e-wander back to twitter, so bear that in mind. (Unless they happen to start a #yourblogisawesome hashtag, of course).

Comparing features: Before and after I de-selected Auto-enlarge photos, customized my link colors and removed the border.

Comparing features: Before and after I de-selected Auto-enlarge photos, customized my link colors and removed the border.

Once you’ve created your widget in twitter, you need to copy the URL link of that page into your WordPress Twitter Timeline widget editor. From there you have a couple more options such as removing the border, (which I think is a great idea as I doubt it’s curved edges match your other widgets), and you’re done. And one of my favorite bits – people can now tweet straight to you from your blog! Talk about connecting you with your audience.

So… has anyone given it a try yet? And what do you think – great new features, or just a fix on something that wasn’t broken to begin with?

 

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