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Sidetalking: WordPress asides

WordPress Sideblog plugin
I really like the idea of having microposts that are one or two sentences in length as they would be a neat way of sharing links or making announcements about the site. I was looking for a way to incorporate microposts in a WordPress blog and discovered there are a couple of different approaches available.

The clunkiest way is to set up a separate WordPress installation specifically for a miniblog on a sidebar or footer. I immediately ruled this out as it would mean I’d have to update yet another blog whenever WordPress was patched. It also seemed like overkill.

There’s Twitter, of course, which is all about microposts and little asides. I didn’t particularly feel like relying on an yet another external web app so Twitter was out. Still, if you’d like to try Twitter for this, get Alex King’s Twitter Tools plugin which republishes Twitter updates on your WordPress blog.

Another approach is inline Asides. It doesn’t seem all that hard to implement but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I was keen on publishing my asides, microposts and tiny updates on the margins of my blog, either on the sidebar or the footer.

The final approach, and the one I went for, is Sideblog, a WordPress plugin by Kates Gasis. It’s one of the easier methods of adding miniposts or asides to a WordPress blog. Simply upload the plugin, edit the sidebar (or footer) and configure the plugin options.
WordPress Sideblog plugin options
You can configure the Sideblog plugin to select a categories to be published as asides, exclude asides from feeds, determine the number of asides shown and the display format.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a way to exclude asides from the Recent Posts lists. It’s a minor issue.

The major issue is bug-related. There are reports of this plugin causing problems with some WordPress setups and the latest version may not necessarily be the greatest.

I faced no problems running version 4.3 on but I can’t say I’m confident enough with the plugin to upgrade or try it here.

Posted in Blogging, WordPress.