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Add Social Proof to Your Blog With TweetBacks

tweetbacks.gifIn this post Dan Zarrella tells us about a new tool he’s created for bloggers – TweetBacks – a tool that allows you to add instances where your blog has been mentioned on Twitter to your blogs comments section.

A few days ago, I created the first implementation of TweetBacks (see the WP plugin here), which is a porting of the idea of trackbacks to Twitter. By first reverse engineering a bunch of the most popular URL shortening services, it then searches Twitter for Tweets that link to your post. These Tweets are then displayed under your original post (either above or below your comments section).

Beyond simply adding a new layer to the conversation and allowing your readers greater flexibility in how they choose to respond to your content, it also adds an important factor in “going viral”: social proof. By showing your readers how many other people have also liked your post enough to share it, you tap into a powerful human tendency towards imitation.

I’ve written about the power of social proof in viral and social marketing before, but this is one of the most direct and effective ways to accomplish this. Tweets are a lower-commitment, easier way to share content than either traditional commenting or blogging, and therefore lowers the bar for your readers to join in the conversation.

Something like 3/4 of all ReTweets include a link, effectively making them a form of TweetBacks. I plan to integrate TweetBacks into myReTweet mapping system, moving towards a more general understanding of ReTweets. If you’re using my javascript-based implementation of TweetBacks, that system will be able to include your blog and content, and you’ll also be able to visually and granularly track its spread through Twitter.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Sounds like a great tool for helping posts go viral. Retweeting is definitely become a primary method of making content viral.

    Overall great idea because having your content tweeted about is the same as having it mentioned somewhere else on the web and getting a trackback to your blog.

  2. An awesome ideea! congrats Dan Zarrella

  3. This is such a cool idea!, you can already tell its going to be huge!!, even for my blog;))

  4. This is great. I’ll definitely be including TweetBacks in my blog.

    Nice job

  5. Great idea for a WordPress plugin, thanks for your hard work. Now to implement it on my blog…

  6. Finally!!! I’ve contacted several developers willing to *pay* for this plugin to be written! 85% of the comments on our blog posts are now left on Twitter, completely fracturing the conversation.

    Thank you Dan! ♥

  7. Very effective method. I plan on implementing Twitbacks rather soon :D

  8. Really looking forward to trying this plugin out.

    To me, Tweetbacks are as important as trackbacks. I was hoping someone would come up with something like this!

    Thanks, Dan!

  9. There really seems to be no end to the number of ways people are using Twitter :) The plugin sounds good but would all those tweetbacks (assuming there are any!) not start taking up alot of space on your blog?

  10. Ooooh, very cool. I like this idea! Not that my posts get retweeted with much regularity, but a girl needs goals, right?

  11. Cool concept, thanks for the introduction!

    Gonna have to further Twitterize my blog. :)

  12. Hmm…yet another new widget to ponder upon it’s possible longevity in the market.

    I think it’s time I start looking at the twitter api and writing some stuff for BlogEngine.net and Blogger.

    Nice guest post Darren, and I’ve found a new blogger to follow. Cheers!

  13. Sounds like a great idea!

  14. This is an awesome idea and I am glad Dan took the bull by the horns and developed this plugin. Is it java script?

  15. Brilliant idea!

    We will be adding the plug in. THANKS!

  16. I’d really like to try this but I keep getting a Server Not Found at the URL given for the plugin. Short-term problem?

  17. Something like this could replace blog comments altogether ? Definitely worth a go, would be great if the @ addresses were clickable but it is in beta after all.

  18. I can’t find the plugin searching on 2.7!

  19. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for the wonderful post.

    Looks like Dan has a great plugin which is sure to be a BIG hit within the blogging community. A definite must try.

    P.S.: Got a thumbs up on StumbleUpon and a Digg too.

    Best Wishes,

  20. Dan, you rock! This was a much needed tool. Thanks for being awesome, innovative, and informative!

  21. Thats a really neat WP plugin…got to check it out..

  22. Very cool…

    One important thing: Latency is an issue.

    I resolved this by turning on WP-cache on my WordPress blog.

    Better use selectively on specific posts than on all posts as it is pretty slow, but WP-cache plugin should solve the problem.

  23. I realry want to know how I can work with social & viral marketing campaigns,

  24. Amazing Idea!!! Jack Humphrey actually talked about this as well.

  25. That’s real cool, I would like to check that out.

  26. That is an amazingly brilliant idea. As someone who is getting a little numbed out with all the “tweakage” of web 2.0 … this actually makes sense AND is out of the box.

    I will be installing it post haste! :)

  27. Wow, that is fracking brilliant. Kudos, and thank you!

  28. I will have to try this out… seems like a smart idea!

  29. Great idea, thanks – heading off to explore it now.

  30. I feel that Twitter is going to replace Google soon. I read a lot of posts and most of them are about Twitter or its supporting services. To what extent that twitter can go in the future. You should add a poll to see how

  31. Just wondering if this is compatible with blogger…

  32. This is a great plugin for wordpress and one that i have just downloaded.

  33. Yoast (http://www.yoast.com) has just released a self hosted tweetbacks plugin for wordpress. This saves all tweets to your DB instead of just displaying them via javascript.

    In addition, I myself have written “Tweet Stats”, which adds two widgets to your site: “Most Tweeted Posts” and “Recently Tweeted Posts”.

    More info here:


  34. I need to migrate away from Blogger, this sounds like a great networking tool!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  35. great, now i can start using it……..

    thanks ……….

  36. Social proof is an important element in social marketing and the ability to display how many Tweets a blog post has received would certainly be strong social proof of the “quality” of your content!

  37. A great concept, and I thinkl ‘social proof’ is an important guide to quality and context for readers.

    However the way one displays, say 50 tweets and retweets in terms of screen real estate concerns me slightly – a collapsible or threaded approach might be ideal, especially with so many people now using mobile devices to interact online.

    Regards, David

    PS: I covered this plugin on my blog today, incidentally, along with discussing ‘Twittar’, which shows Twitter Avatars on WordPress comments. See http://twurl.nl/ey1vxu

  38. This plugin is very powerful, and genius. I’m heading to my blog to experiment with its abilities and features now. Thank you for sharing!

  39. interesting!

  40. Wow I just installed it, it’s great!

    Love the idea really!

  41. Thanks for pointing out the plugin. I’m going to check it out :)

  42. I will following your suggestion cause very important…thanks

  43. interesting idea. i will go and try it first.

  44. I tried out the plugin and it broke my image uploader. No idea why, but disabling the plugin fixed the database error while trying to upload an image.

  45. Sounds like a neat idea, but I may wait to implement based on Chris Jacobson’s comment unless someone else can offer a verified solution.

  46. I installed the plugin but haven’t had a chance to see it in action yet. Repairing my site after a hacker changed my theme layout this weekend :( I can’t wait to see if Twitter enhances my blog friends visits.

    Twitter: WendyMerritt

  47. what a sweet little idea. i love little tools like this that are simple and just make sense.

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