On Tuesday, 10up released its Autoshare for Twitter plugin. The plugin is designed to automatically tweet blog posts as they are published. By default, it will send the post title, featured image, and link to Twitter. Users can also add a custom message. The plugin is available in the WordPress plugin directory.
If you threw a rock into a crowd of WordPress plugins, you would likely smack a social-networking extension. The WordPress plugin market is crowded with similar plugins, so it would make sense if this one flew under the radar. Plus, powerhouse plugins like Jetpack provide similar functionality, such as the Jetpack Publicize feature. Yet, with the prevalence of similar plugins, Autoshare for Twitter is worth checking out.
Many similar plugins work with multiple social networks, but 10up’s plugin is designed specifically for sharing via Twitter. For users who only need a solution for that specific social network, it is a solid solution for version 1.0.
10up originally built the plugin to provide the company’s clients more control and customization than they found in existing solutions. “Recognizing its widespread potential, we decided to follow our own best practices for managing open-source software by releasing it as a free plugin on the official WordPress plugin repository,” wrote Jeff Paul, Associate Director of Open Source Initiatives at 10up.
The plugin works with both the block and classic editors. When in use with the block editor, it is added as part of the pre-publish check system as shown in the following screenshot:
The custom message box tracks the number of characters so that users do not go over Twitter’s character count. The plugin also displays a message in the Status & Visibility panel to let users know if a post was shared on Twitter.
Overall, the plugin does its job well (sorry to folks who were bombarded with some test tweets earlier). It would be nice to see similar one-off solutions that are specific to other social networks. I often find myself in need of such plugins without dealing with a full array of social networking options.
The plugin is also available on GitHub for others to contribute. Currently, there are several open issues that would improve how the plugin works.
Setup Is Not User-Friendly
The biggest downside to the plugin is there are no links, no admin help tab, and no instructions on how to set up the Twitter Credentials on the plugin’s setting screen. The page simply has some text fields for things like an API Key, API Secret, and so on. These are not user-friendly terms, and will likely be confusing for many. Not to mention, similar plugins can connect users at the click of a button. For a plugin that does nearly everything else right, this is a missing piece of what would be a near-perfect release.
The plugin is ideal for power users or developers who want to set up Twitter sharing for a client. In the current version of the plugin, users need to set up a Twitter Developer account and create a Twitter App. This generates the API keys and necessary tokens for using the plugin.
The plugin does have an open ticket on GitHub for a better onboarding process, which could solve this issue. Therefore, the team is aware of and actively working on making this smoother in a future version.