The emergence of Tweetmeme during the period I wasn’t blogging was interesting – I spent a fair amount of time reading content on sites, and even clicked the tweet buttons occasionally.
This post has now been updated with an official response from Tweetmeme – the features have now been added to the development timeline.
The Tweetmeme site is a useful content source, but this article is mainly about the Tweetmeme buttons.
Adding something to your blog, especially something that can encourage viral behavior and add social proof is highly beneficial, and doing it correctly, without asking for passwords offers huge advantages.
Twitter is also a medium that is marketing content tollerant, as long as the people following you are marketers, unlike Digg, Reddit, and to a lesser extent Stumbleupon.
Thus I have spent some time delving into the code and API for Tweetmeme and the existing WordPress plugin. It has just been updated, thus if you download the Tweetmeme plugin, it will be the latest version.
Important New Features
- Cleaned up cookie use a little, but it would be better if they set a cookie based on an action, rather than a display.
The original RFC for cookies states that browser support for cookies should be a minimum of:-
- 300 cookies in total
- 20 cookies per domain
- 4095 bytes per cookie
To be perfectly honest, I don’t want all those cookies, whether they are 1st party or 3rd party.
- Ability to brand the retweets with @andybeard etc, though you still get “via @tweetmeme” at the end
- The button is removed from excerpts using a filter on get_the_excerpt() – more on that to follow
However essential features of Tweetmeme and Tweetmeme Button are missing if it is going to be used by serious marketers.
Whilst I am not a huge fan of the @tweetmeme at the end of button tweets, it is something that users can just delete. However I have some additional problems / requirements / feature requests
1. The latest incarnation of Tweetmeme prevents the button, as standard, appearing on custom excerpts.
I can understand this from a user perspective:-
- This appears ugly on the page, and is useless if they are also using that for their page descriptions
However some people use custom excerpts and custom meta descriptions, and like displaying tweet buttons on their front page without adding custom filters to functions.php or hacking theme files. Can the options be expanded with a separate set for use on the_excerpt? I can also see people wanting to use different buttons on full page, excerpt and rss, and only have one button on the_excerpt, but top/bottom on both feeds and posts.
2. The Headlines Used
Currently there is no way to define the text that is being used within a tweet – the text used is the Title tag from the header of a page. Many blogs use various titles for different purposes
- In the header for SEO
- For the title of a post
- Various navigation elements
- Custom titles for RSS feeds
- Calls to action for Social Media
- Calls to action for Twitter, or what Tim wrote about a few months ago, Social Bites
I really need to be able to define the text dynamically for each button display.
3. The Links Used
Tweetmeme like tracking things. Guess what? So do I…
I don’t so much care about branding of the final tweet links – it would be a bonus, but I need to be able to track the way I want to track.
- Within my short URL software
- Google Analytics for various goals
- Possibly for use with affiliates
I understand that Tweetmeme need the permalink to associate with tweets, but couldn’t I provide that, in addition to the link actually used to generate links? You might end up generating a lot more short links, but you would know in advance, without having to check headers, that all those links are to the same URL.
4. My Tweeps Like To Track Too
As a person who might occasionally click on Tweetmeme buttons, there is one fatal flaw.
If I use my own link shortener, I can track the response rate. I like knowing which topics and headlines generate a response from my audience. If something proves to be popular, maybe I will repeat it for people in a different timezone.
Tweetmeem Buttons remove my ability to test the popularity of the content I post.
The solution is actually fairly simple:-
The tweetmeme buttons are quite happy to write cookies all over a users system, why not read just one cookie, a unique user ID for Tweetmeme as well. The default user ID would identify which URL shortener they prefer, and their API ID. If you want to be extra secure, you could store both of these in a cookie on the user’s computer, rather than store them yourself. Links would ultimately go through the following redirects
- Tweetmeme Bit.ly
- Tweep (any)
- Publisher Short (any)
- Permalink + parameters
- (optional) Publisher Short (any) / Permalink+Parameters
The observant among you would also notice that with all these parameters being set with each page load, it would be possible to split-test response to some degree. This level of functionality would add real value, and might even be looked on as a useful, modestly priced, premium feature – $10 per month/site or $30 per month/site unlimited? For tweeps it would have to be free.
Thus I think Tweetmeme is a great idea, but to be turned into something that not only remains on my blog, but which I might even be willing to pay for, it needs significantly more flexibility.
Tweetmeme could be turned into a masterful, measurable viral marketing tool, with just a few tweaks.
Update: Tweetmeme Marketing Features Coming
Sarah from Tweetmeme has just left this message in the comments area
Your suggestions have been added to our todo list here in the office so do look out for the new features you’ve requested. They will take us a while to do but they are coming.
We’re using your post as our guidance, and if you are up for it when we have something to show, would you be up for looking over it and seeing if there’s anything we’re missing? We would like to get it right and have a really strong offering for marketing experts so feedback and working closely with experts like yourself is essential really.
Lets keep the conversations going between us and if you drop me an e-mail then I’ll make sure you are on our early adopter program :)
I think this is a superb response and I want to thank Sarah, Nick and the rest of the Fav.or.it team for accepting my challenging post “head-on”.