New tricks: Letting the Twitter stream flow

April 30th, 2009

Guest entry by Christian McDonald, technical solutions manager for the Austin American-Statesman

Twitter’s search engine kicks. There was a collective cheer in the Twittersphere when Summize was brought into the Twitter family. It’s the fabric for hashtags and any other trend unfolding in our lives. Capturing such phenomena on a news web site can be a powerful way to show how news unfolds.

At the Austin American-Statesman, we’ve had a couple of occasions to use the jQuery plugin Juitter to pull Twitter search results onto our sites, most recently for our Swine Flu news aggregation site. It is an easy and quick way for a developer to display the power of a Twitter search in real time.

While Juitter isn’t especially hard to get going, it does require a developer’s access to the site you are running on. You have to be able to upload javascript files, and call them into the published html pages where you are displaying the results.

Juitter developer Rodrigo Fante has decent enough instructions on how to use Juitter on his site, but I did make some modifications for one project to show a Tweet’s @username and icon together, and to remove the superfulous “Read it on Twitter” link. You can see an example here, and download the system.js and jquery.juitter.js files that power have the changes.

(And big thanks to @stephromanski for pointing us to Juitter for a SXSW project, and to @andynguyen for implementing on our site.)

Christian McDonald shares news developer insights on

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Entry Filed under: New Tricks,Twitter

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  • dan360man

    Here's an example of one of my properties, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, using Juitter. It was for a story about Swine flu in Florida.

    It works.

  • Gina Chen

    I love the idea of this. I've been looking for a tool like this for my personal journalism blog (although I think it has great value for news sites, too.) because I really like the idea of giving people the twitter experience in context.

    When you excerpt a tweet or paraphrase it, you lose some of the context, the relationship, the conversation of twitter.

    Any idea if it works on Word Press blogs?

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  • cmcdonald

    Gina, the site described above is a WordPress blog. We used a custom widget (HTML) to place the juitterContainer div. The necessary .js files were ftp'd to the host server and called into the Header template.

  • Jason Forthofer

    Christian – thanks a bunch for this info. I've been looking for this information for 3 months now. Awesome! Love how the stream automatically updates too!

  • Andy

    Any idea on how to include the date/time of post?
    I'd love to be able to show that below each tweet.

    Posted 6 days ago
    Posted 1 hr ago

  • graceglmcooke

    Toby has been a friend, client and design associate of mine for around 10 years. We have collaborated on dozens of projects together and he took my little running “R” and helped brand it into something special. My web page heading was created from elements hrsaccount which he designed a couple of years ago. I'm the most picky client anyone could ever have and it's very hard for me to find something that I like well enough to stick with. Toby hit a home run for me.

  • Josh

    Can you insert the container div into the body of a WP page using the html tab on the editor? Or do I need custom html widget as you describe?

  • cmcdonald

    That should work, though I haven't tried it. We just used a custom html widget because we wanted it in the wrap and not as main content.


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