Jetpack Plugin

A couple of days ago (when I started writing this post), I was looking to add social sharing buttons to posts. In the process of searching for options (of which there are so many it makes it difficult to choose), I discovered that the Jetpack plugin that I already had installed, but not activated yet, does this and a lot more.

I activated it without really knowing what was going to happen or what it was doing. It asked me first to connect to my WordPress.com account. It would seem that the Jetpack gives lots of features that are available through WordPress.com. Full information is available here https://wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/ and here http://jetpack.me/.

For me this is useful, as I am very familiar with wordpress.com, and I can imagine it would also be the case for a client who has previously used wordpress.com, but wants to move to self hosting for more control – ie control without losing features.

The sharing option that I was interested in is just one of 36 features. You can control all of the features via the plugins menu, setting links on the plugin row. However some features, such as the sharing, also have a item on the dashboard left menu (Settings → sharing).

Things worth noting

With Carousel active, any standard WordPress galleries you have embedded in posts or pages will launch a gorgeous full-screen photo browsing experience with comments and EXIF metadata.

Publicize allows you to connect your social media accounts and automatically publish to those sites when you publish a post. Personally I feel there are pros and cons to this. Whilst it means you don’t have to remember to post, the message defaults to the title so if you want to do effective messages you should really edit it to make sense for the platform that you are posting to. Also I have found that particularly for twitter and facebook it is more effective to post a good image and then add text with a link than to just have the auto posted message.

Shortcodes allow you to easily and safely embed media from other places in your site. With just one simple code, you can tell WordPress to embed YouTube, Flickr, and other media. Enter a shortcode directly into the Post/Page editor to embed media. I can’t put a list of short codes as they are being implemented. To see this list look at on the wordpress.com help pages.

WP.me Shortlinks – Instead of typing or copy-pasting long URLs, you can now get a short and simple link to your posts and pages. This uses the super compact wp.me domain name, and gives you a unique URL you can use that will be safe and reliable.

Site Stats – presents them in the same way as on WordPress.com with a menu item on the left dashboard item.

Postscript

Two days after linking to my wordpress.com site I have now had a message saying that I can authorize the ability to manage the site from wordpress.com. This is also a pros and cons feature, I think. If it means that wordpress sites hosted elsewhere are still connected to the wordpress blogging community and appear in the freshly pressed pages and wordpress reader, that is a definite bonus. I can’t help feel that there is some kind of monitoring going on as well, which I am naturally suspicious of. I will have to see how it goes.

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