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Improve Your Tweetmeme Setup For Better Results

A couple of days ago I have removed my do-it-yourself Tweet-it button and put the button from Tweetmeme (↑) on this blog.

Social Media Service Tweetmeme
Dreaming of 44 retweets. :-)

It's more encouraging for website visitors to retweet a story that already has been retweeted a lot. People follow the crowd.

Besides that the button looks pretty, too.

Update Dec. 12, 2009: I have added a blog post about the Tweetmeme Wordpress Plugin.

However, as simple as it is to put a button on a blog or website I still got it wrong.

Browsing the Web I can see that I am not alone.

Therefor I decided to write a short article about how to get Tweetmeme up right.

The problem on my site was as follows:
  • Blog visitor clicks the tweetmeme button
  • A new window opens
  • (If they have not done this previously, they need to authorize tweetmeme for their twitter account. Eventually they also need to login to Twitter.)
  • The following text is suggested for being retweeted:

Retweet easily with Tweetmeme
Tweetmeme, with the wrong setup

Do you spot what's wrong?

At first, it should be my twitter username that's retweeted, shouldn't it be.

Secondly, the text is not really informative or encouraging a retweet, isn't it.

Thanks to Andy Beard (↑) for shooting a quick email to me and pointing this out. Andy is someone whose suggestions got picked up by the tweetmeme developer team (↑) after his blog post in May, 2009. Now Andy uses Tweetmeme on his blog.

Setting Up The Tweetmeme Button Correctly

Obviously I have screwed up this rather simple task. Shame on me.

As I really want to keep this post short I stick with the exact implementation on my blog. There are more than one ways of implementing the Tweetmeme functionality on a website. You can figure out the rest by consulting the Tweetmeme Help pages on their website.

I am using the Retweet Button (↑) based on JavaScript.

It only requires a simple cut and paste of code into your website template or static (X)HTML file (and obviously some thought.)

Users of Wordpress blog software have the convenience of managing this with a Wordpress plugin instead.

Here is the HTML code needed for Tweetmeme

<script type="text/javascript">
tweetmeme_url = '';
tweetmeme_source = 'yourtwitteruser';
tweetmeme_service = '';
</script><script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

I am using 3 JavaScript variables to configure Tweetmeme (and another trick which I will mention further down the line.)

tweetmeme_url = '';

The button grabs the URL of the page. That means if you have more than one button on a single page—like on a blog index page—you need to specify the URL of the post. That's what this variable is here for.

The URL must not be a redirected URL, like from but a regular webaddress returning a 200 OK HTTP status response code.

tweetmeme_source = 'yourtwitteruser';

The default user—and many webmasters leave it that way—is 'tweetmeme'. Change it to your user.

tweetmeme_service = '';

This is a list of the URL Shorteners that we are currently supporting:,,,,,,,,,

My choice is “”.

There is an additional variable for a compact button, but I never have noticed anyone using it.

Now the button is configured correctly and suggests the following text for the retweet.

Tweetmeme, correct setup.

Done, almost.

Tweetmeme Title - Two More Issues

After fixing the configuration I noticed that the "headline" in the retweet-it-window did not change. I still got the title of my blog suggested rather than the title of my blog post.

That's because the "wrong title" was already indexed at Tweetmeme. An entry for this index is created at the first time a new URL shows up. Either on Twitter or vie a Tweetmeme button.

A quick test confirmed that theory, and later I found the corresponding section in the FAQ and the remedy of the problem.

Fix Broken Titles In The Tweetmeme Index

Other users have had that same problem before as I could see at the Tweetmeme Button FAQ (↑).
Why is TweetMeme not picking up the correct page title?

TweetMeme caches page information (including the title) to reduce load on the site that is using the button. If you have updated your page titles, you can force TweetMeme to update by using our ping service (↑).

This worked like a charm and I had updated the wrong post titles in the index within a couple of minutes.

Now that issue is fixed.

Tweetmeme Ping Service

I got the wrong post title in the tweetmeme index from my blog post drafts. My blog returns a “soft” error page on posts that are not published yet. The title of those is “E-Biz Booster Blog”. Now I have disabled the display of the tweetmeme button on drafts. That's what tweetmeme picks up.
Tip: Check the tweetmeme text after publishing a new page. If necessary, correct it, and do a ping.

Check your workflow. The button only should be displayed on finally published pages.

After changing the title of a page you need to ping tweetmeme.

But I am still not entirely satisfied.

The Retweets Could Be Simply Too Long

Tweetmeme will use all 140 characters Twitter allows if necessary.

Tweetmeme and long post titles

Personally I try to keep all my tweets at 120 characters maximum length. This makes it easier for my followers on Twitter to retweet it.

While a person can click through to the site and use the Tweetmeme (or any other) retweet button there, some prefer to acknowledge twitter users in the retweet chain—especially if some authority twitter user is involved. E.g.,

RT @big_shot_authority RT @unknown_dude: “Great Story Of A Nobody!”…

I don't think too much about it. I simply leave some extra space.

Changing The Headline For Tweetmeme

To avoid abuse tweetmeme is restrictive in what you can do. You can cut down your title. Nothing else. You cannot even exchange a single character or change the order of words.

You can use an HTML meta element to specify an alternative title. What I currently do is to drop the blog title.

For example:
Google Wave - Forget Plain Text Emails | E-Biz Booster Blog


Google Wave - Forget Plain Text Emails

You achieve this by adding a XHTML meta element into the head section of your website page.

<!-- static XHTML pages -->
<meta name="tweetmeme-title" content="Google Wave - Forget Plain Text Emails" />

<!-- Wordpress template -->
<meta name="tweetmeme-title" content="<?php wp_title(''); ?>" />

<!-- Serendipity Smarty template -->
<meta name="tweetmeme-title" content="{$head_title}" />

Details are described in Customising Button Title (↑).

Don't forget the new title must be an exact subset of the title in the HTML title element of the webpage.

An Even More Retweet Friendly Tweetmeme Tweak

Later today I will add a function in my blog template which cuts the that guarantees that truncates the title so that the entire tweet string won't exceed the 120 character limit I care about.

It's a bit unlikely that I will ever hit that limit, but who knows. Let's figure out how long the blog title can be.

“RT @johnfurst ”
(14 characters, including trailing space)

“ ”
(22 characters with the spaces)

120 - 14 - 22 = 84

I need to truncate the page title down to 84 characters. Here is what I do in Serendipity. Wordpress users are most likely using the plugin. No need to give them code.

<!-- Serendipity Smarty template -->
<meta name="tweetmeme-title" content="{$head_title|truncate:84:""}" />

A tip for Serendipity users: The Smarty truncate function puts '...' (three periods) at the end of the truncated string (included in it's specified length). This would violate Tweetmeme's restrictions of not modifying the string. The second parameter "" (empty string) overwrites that behavior and leaves the string unmodified. The function cuts off at a word boundary.

Voilà, that's it.

Tweetmeme also offers a premium analytics package for Twitter (↑) but I do not currently intend to use it.

John W. Furst


E-Biz Booster Blog on : Setup Tweetmeme Button On a Wordpress Blog

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Recently I have described how I fixed a wrong setup of the tweetmeme button on my blog. I manually modified the blog template and I only mentioned briefly there is a Wordpress plugin for Tweetmeme. Acknowledging Wordpress as the most popular blogging p


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