For the past couple of weeks, I've been experimenting with Twitter. That is, I'm not really micro-blogging about my breakfast or anything like that, but I have been thinking about how to integrate Twitter into various parts of my online presence.

My initial reason for trying out Twitter was for the purpose of promoting the website for my father-in-law's paintings, and in that vein, my first bit of technical Twitter work was to create a simple form in his admin area where he (or I) could submit updates. I also installed a plug-in for the website's blog which posts an update to Twitter whenever a new item is posted.

I have other ideas for integrating Twitter into his website in a very automated way. However, as getting my father-in-law to help promote himself online is like convincing Ephraim to be quiet at church, I've really lost a lot of motivation for such updates.

Nevertheless, I've also had some thoughts regarding my own website and as kind of a foundation for future Twitter work, I wrote a little script in PHP, based upon some example code, which facilitates posting tweets. The only thing that I do with this right now is provide a form for those with a Cox Family account, so that they can tweet from my website. (Only Cassey and I have Cox Family accounts. A Cox Family account is also used to provide a personal feed reader, and login administrative functions.) I added the Twitter application to my Facebook account as well. I never used to update my Facebook status much, but I figured that as long as I was going to try Twitter, I could kill two birds with one stone.

My latest achievement, however, was to create a nucleus plugin that will tweet whenever I (or Cassey) blog, or even whenever we comment on a blog. Both functions can be turned on and off for each user of the blog software. I had to write my own plugin because I found that the only twitter plugins that existed for nucleus, were for the purpose of adding a recent tweet list to the sidebar. (Something I may want to do at some point... but maybe not.) Since the plugin doesn't already exist, it would make sense for me to contribute my work, which on top of everything else, is also an excellent promotional move.

One thing I've discovered while adding comment and blog update tweeting to my blog, is that one doesn't really want to import all of one's tweets to Facebook. Tweets are often of a very trivial nature and can occur very frequently. Importing them into Facebook, then, becomes a great way to annoy all of your friends with a barrage of minutiae they could care less about. I know that I'm not the only person to have made this discovery, as, searching for a solution, I found this was something of a hot topic. An old friend, Jonathan Howard, was also having similar problems at the same time.

Unfortunately, there really aren't any really good solutions at the moment. I found one filtering plugin, but it's not really very customizable and, even worse, it's not even working. (Twitter has a bug in their search tool affecting newer users, and the plugin seems to rely upon this search tool... not sure why.) Sounds like a problem just begging for a solution and an app that people will have a need for. (So, either a really good idea for a project of mine, or a near certainty that I'd be duplicating effort that is already underway elsewhere.)