Twitter recently revamped their official widgets and while you may have already falling in love with an unofficial badge or widget, I want to give you a few reason to consider going official because these are really slick.
There are two new goodies available for display on your website: Profile Widget and Search Widget
Profile Widget Improvements
Twitter made a few huge improvements to their standard profile widget.
- Infinite customization when it comes to size. The old widgets only had a few sizes but now you can fit your profile widget into any space you wish by inputting the exact sizes you want in pixels.
- Greater color flexibility. While the old widgets had a few pre-made themes, this widget lets you pick your own color the background and text for both the tweet and shell border individually making for even more customization. So now it’s really easy to match your Twitter badge to your site colors.
- Ability to loop old results. Instead of simply displaying your last tweet, this widget scrolls through all of your recent tweets, using older tweets to flesh out the list if you don’t have many posts. This can be very handy if you either aren’t very active on Twitter or if you are active only sporadically. The badge continually scrolls through everything recent making sure you always look like an appealing follow.
While a fantastic way to advertise your own Twitter feed on your site, you may also consider a profile badge for your favorite celebrity on your fansite or a badge for the official Bonanzle Twitter profile for your Bonanzle blog. Think outside the box for great uses for this slick little widget.
If you are looking at The Whine Seller right now (as opposed to reading it through an RSS reader) you can see an example of this profile widget in my sidebar.
The New Search Widget
There is a lot to love about the new search widget though you may need to think a little about how best to fit it to the needs of your blog or website. At its most basic, the Search Widget looks like the Profile Widget and has the same ability to loop old posts, the same customization options when it comes to size and appearance as the Profile Widget. The difference comes in the results.
Instead of displaying all of the tweets of a particular user, it shows a list of search results, with the added bonus that the results can be tweaked with several advanced parameters. For instance, as a quick example, here is a badge showing the search results for “nanowrimo OR #nanowrimo OR national novel writing month OR nano” for a great little widget of everyone currently talking about National Novel Writing Month.
This widget is very powerful. You can have results show by date, location (down to the miles), only links, and more when you use Twitter’s Search Operators in conjunction with the widget.
Not sure how to use the Search Widget on your website? Let me give you a few ideas. Set up a Search Widget to display. . .
- . . . only people chatting about your book from within 15 miles of your latest booksigning
- . . . a running scroll of people currently talking about your brand name, book, website, or product
- . . . a list of topics of interest to your readers, such as products your typically sell or news items you often blog about
- . . . a popular hash tag (such as #followfriday or #iceism ;-))
- . . . instead of every tweet you send out, use it to only display your retweets or links
Once you start to play with it, it’s easy to find a ton of powerful uses for this cool new badge.
Have any other great ideas for using these new badges? Have a badge that you prefer over these? Let us know below!