Sponsored Tweets API Challenge – Our entry

Hyder and I spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on our entry on the Sponsored Tweets API Challenge, a competition for developers and designers to make use of the Sponsored Tweets API. The competition aims at rewarding the best entry judged on

  1. Creativity
  2. User adoption potential (or actual)
  3. Revenue generation potential (or actual)

So, what did our entry consist of. Well, you might have heard of TweetRoll, the Twitter widget we had created some time back. We’ve used the Sponsored Tweets API to add functionality to the widget to automatically detect if you’re signed up to Sponsored Tweets. If you are, the widget will display a special section that shows your price per tweet and invites viewers to the widget to purchase a Sponsored Tweet. The new functionality embedded itself really nicely into the existing plugin and the upgrade will be transparent to all users.

What the marriage of functionality really results in, is to give Tweeters a platform to monitise their Twitter stream and to use their online presence to do so. The widget itself is available as a line of JavaScript, a WordPress plugin or even a Widgetbox widget. You can see the new functionality running on the left hand side of this blog; just run your mouse over the “Sponsor a Tweet” link in the TweetRoll widget.

Is it good enough to win? Well, keep an eye on the competition page and we’ll know in a few days. In the meantime, you can read more on the TweetBurn blog: Making Money with TweetRoll

Your personalised version of TweetRoll

If you’ve tried personalising TweetRoll recently you’d have noticed that you can now change the captions on the widget. This came as a request from @rogier_florjin who wanted to come up with a localised version of the widget to match the language on his blog. You’ll see a new section in the customisation screen now that will let you tailor your captions. So, if you want a French version of the widget:


Clicking on TweetRoll Me give you your widget:


Thanks go out to @sherrilynne and @cpierret for the translations. You can tailor the captions to say anything you like too, you’re not just restricted to different languages. And you can also change colours and choose from one of the different sizes.

So, what else would you like to see in TweetRoll?

Half a million reasons to be proud

tweetrollWhen was the last time you built something that was used half a million times? Well, @HyderJ and I built a widget for Twitter a few weeks ago and this evening we’ve reached the grand total of 500,000 widgets served. The widget let’s people show how many followers and friends they have on their blog or website and also shows some avatars of people you are following. It’s quite attractive and you can see it in the sidebar of this blog. Welcome to TweetRoll.

The data is provided by Twitter’s API and the call can be a bit expensive (takes a few seconds to get a response). For this reason, the results are cached for quick response. The caching also helps the widget scale better and minimises the number of API calls the site makes ensuring we don’t hit any API limits.  Our peak usage so far was around 60-70 widget calls per minute and our server hardly registered any load, so we’re happy that we should be able to take on a dramatically increase load. Bring on!

Time to crack out out our Mizuno drivers and celebrate by sinking a few on the golf course. Well, actually we have lots of plans for Tweetburn, so maybe I’ll just stay in coding huh? By the way, have you noticed that you can now change your size and colours and personalise the tagline on the widget?

TweetRoll update

We’ve just rolled out a new version of the TweetRoll widget which is the really cool Twitter widget you can alongside. With every luck you should see much difference but the widget will be better behaved with a greater selection of templates. Creating a Javascript widget that uses CSS for styling isn’t as easy as digital signage as it needs to live within an ecosystem you have no control over.

The great news is that we have some amazing plans of where we want to take the widget and the human-powered Twitter directory down at TweetBurn. So watch this space and go ahead, give the widget a whirl! You can grab it from down on the website, or if you’re using WordPress you can just installed the plugin.

TweetRoll widget for WordPress

I’ve created a widget to make installing TweetRoll even easier on a WordPress blog. Here how you can do it:

Go to the “Add New” option under plugins and search for TweetRoll:

Click Install and Activate the plugin. When you go to your Widgets page you’ll see a new widget called TweetRoll. You can add it to a sidebar and configure it by adding your Twitter username.

That’s all you need to do. You should now be able to see your Tweetroll in your sidebar.

Let mw know if you have any problems.

TweetRoll – Show your Twitter friends on your blog

Hyder and I have just completed putting the finishing touches on TweetRoll and have made it available to the world. It’s a widget you can add to your blog, website or any other webpage which lets you flaunt your Twitter details and show some of people you have started following recently. Adding the widget to your page is as simple as adding a single line of Javascript. The widget then runs off our server, asks Twitter for your details and presents them on a widget similar to the one shown alongside.

It’s my first initiative playing with the Twitter API and I’m pretty pleased with how quickly it’s come together. The Twitter API is pretty easy to use and thanks to Hyder‘s mastery of CSS the net result is an attractive looking widget that should look quite good on most people’s blog.

This is still the first public drop of the widget, so please feel free to drop me any comments as to what you’d like improved and what features you’d like to see. You can either leave them here or follow me on Twitter.