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August 27, 2009

A Better Retweet Button Is Out There (via @jeresig)

Regardless of what side you are taking in the Retweet.com vs. TweetMeme skirmish I noted on Monday, if you are hosting a button on your blog that encourages readers to send your stuff to Twitter, and count the number of times it has been retweeted, you are probably using one of those two services. Both do a good job, no doubt, but there's an alternative which you can host on your own site, and is powered by bit.ly, the officially "Twitter blessed" URL shortener, which tracks total clicks on your share, not how many individual people have sent it around.


Two Examples of Code And the New Retweet Button

This week, I made the switch, after seeing it shared by Ben Golub of FriendFeed. Now, regardless of which post the button is on, it accurately shows the number of clicks I've gained through Twitter, and I have even configured it to say "(via @louisgray)" when you click the button to share a story.


What It Looks Like When You Click to Retweet from LouisGray.com

The script is very easy to edit and can be themed to match your site, says John Resig, the author of the button. He also says, "The number of retweets may be interesting to some but it's a poor indicator of actual traffic. Instead, the number of clicks coming in is shown instead (a much more useful number)." (Article) And I agree. Not all retweeting is created equal, after all, and for those of us not on the Suggested User List that Twitter has built, we don't have a built-in retweeting army.

I am keeping my TweetMeme ticker on the right side, to show total retweets in a given week, but for each new post, I'd rather own the code myself, and John's made a great alternative. You can get started by visiting his site at http://ejohn.org/blog/retweet/, or in case the site is down, as it was earlier today, at the Google Cache.