Sarah Gooding · September 30, 2020 · 7 Comments

Jetpack 9.0, coming on October 6, will debut a new feature that allows users to share blog posts as Twitter threads in multiples tweets. A recent version of Jetpack introduced the ability to import and unroll tweetstorms for publishing inside a post. The 9.0 release will run it back the other way so the content originates in WordPress, yet still reaps all the same benefits of circulation on Twitter as a thread.

The new Twitter threads feature is being added as part of Jetpack’s Publicize module under the Twitter settings. After linking up a Twitter account, the Jetpack sidebar options for Publicize allow users to publish to Twitter as a link to the blog or a set of threaded tweets. It’s not just limited to text content – the threads feature will also upload and attach any images and videos included in the post.

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When first introduced to the idea of publishing a Twitter thread from WordPress, I wondered if threads might lose their trademark pithy punch, since users aren’t forced to keep each segment to the standard length of a tweet. Would each tweet be separated in an odd, unreadable way? The Jetpack team anticipated this, so the thread option adds more information to the block editor to show where the paragraphs will be split into multiple tweets.

“Threads are wildly underused on Twitter,” Gary Pendergast said in a post introducing the feature. “I think a big part of that is the UI for writing threads: while it’s suited to writing a thread as a series of related tweet-sized chunks, it doesn’t lend itself to writing, revising, and editing anything more complex.” The tool Pendergast has been working on for Jetpack gives users the best of both worlds.

In response to a comment requesting Automattic “concentrate on tools to get people off social media,” Pendergast said, “If we’re also able to improve the quality of conversations on social media, I think it’d be remiss of us to not do so.” He also credits IndieWeb discussions on Tweetstorms and POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) as inspirations for the feature.

For years, blogging advocates have tried to convince those who post lengthy tweetstorms to switch to a publishing medium that is more suitable to the length of their thoughts. The problem is that Twitter users lose so much of the immediate feedback and momentum that their thoughts would have generated when composed as a tweetstorm.

Instead of lecturing people about how they should really be blogging instead of tweetstorming, Jetpack is taking a fresh approach by enabling full content ownership with effortless social syndication. You can test out the experience for yourself by adding the Jetpack Beta Testers plugin and running the 9.0 RC version on your site.

Posted in News, Plugins

Tagged jetpack, twitter