WordPress and Blackbird Pie: “There was a problem connecting to Twitter”

I have been using WordPress longer than a lot of people. I think I first moved from Windows Live’s blogging platform to WordPress around 2007. Because I’ve been here a long time, I’ve got some plugins that have been around for a long time. One of those is the Twitter Blackbird Pie WordPress Plugin.

The Blackbird Pie plugin was great when it came out. It let you use an embed code to add a live tweet directly into a post. It looked something like this:

[blackbirdpie id=”507693704581500928″]

The id was the unique id for one individual tweet. Twitter was just getting popular and this seemed really cool.

Later, Blackbird Pie got smarter and you could just give it the URL for the tweet on Twitter’s site.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/sympmarc/status/507693704581500928″]

The WordPress crew noticed the Blackbird Pie plugin and they even added it to WordPress in 2010. Instead of using the [blackbirdpie] embed code, you could just drop the url directly into your post. But dang it, it still wasn’t working for me.

I assumed the problem was that Twitter kept changing their interface and APIs and Blackbird Pie stopped working, regardless how you used it. For probably a couple of years now, all my Blackbird Pie -enabled tweet links have been broken. Each one has been showing the message “There was a problem connecting to Twitter”.

I’ve tried quite a few times to fix this, but I’ve gotten nowhere. All of the forum posts out there say things like “It was such a great plugin. Why doesn’t it work anymore?” The owner of the plugin seemed to give up on it, too.

WordPress 4.0 “Benny” came out today and I immediately upgraded, as I am want to do. One of the things I noticed in the release notes was that Twitter embeds are supposed to just work natively. “Well, why haven’t they been working on my site?”, I asked myself.

I don’t know why it occurred to me to do it, but I decided to uninstall the Blackbird Pie plugin. Presto, change-o, all was right with the world. Well, with tweets embedded in my test post. The problem was the Blackbird Pie plugin itself!

You can fix this on your blog by searching for all of the Blackbird Pie embed codes and switching to plain old WordPress embeds.

  • Go to Plugins and Deactivate and/or Deletel the Blackbird Pie plugin
  • Search for all of your posts with the [blackbirdpie] embed code by going to http://YourWordPressBlog/wp-admin/edit.php?s=blackbird
  • For each of those posts, edit it and copy the url to the tweet
  • Delete the embed code line
  • Paste the tweet url into your post

That should do it!

Tweeting Old Blog Posts: Useful or Annoying?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Today I asked a question on Twitter that I’d like to also ask here so that I can get longer replies (if anyone has one). Recently, I realized that some of my old blog posts get questions or comments that (at least to me) tend to be interesting and/or useful. So I figured I’d start tweeting links to posts that were getting the attention.

However, it occurred to me that it could be annoying to people to get those old links cluttering up their Twitter stream, so I asked:

http://twitter.com/#!/sympmarc/status/1983387321499648

(BTW, showing the tweet above is my first attempt at using the new Bring Tweets To Your Content method recently rolled out by WordPress using Twitter BlackBird Pie. Very cool.)

I got several responses, which basically all said “Useful, but tell us why you are tweeting it.” Some were sent by DM, but here are a couple of the public ones:

http://twitter.com/#!/jbhoward/status/1984852966506496

http://twitter.com/#!/sharepointac/status/1994061011484672

What do you think?