I realise I’m one of about three people who this affects, but it’s irritating nonetheless, so I thought I’d write about it.
I use Tweetpress with Twitter to upload pictures. Tweetpress is used instead of yfrog or twitpic, to share images on Twitter, but upload them to your own WordPress website. I do this so that they’re on my own hosting, on my own blog, and when people click them from my Twitter feed, they come to my site. I know this has contributed to the visitor numbers here, which have been growing ever since I started this blog on this domain.
It creates a nice photos page, with a load of thumbnails of my recent images. Lovely.
The problem now though is massive lack of support. Twitter for iPhone used to support it brilliantly, resizing images as it went, but they’ve scrapped this in their most recent update, so there is no longer an option for any custom photo sharing services. Bastards.
I’ve tried a shitload of other Twitter clients now including Twittelator (both free and Neue), Tweetings Lite, Tweetings for Twitter (paid version of Tweetings Lite), Echofon Free, Echofon Premium, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Tweetbot.
Of these, the only ones that support any form of custom image hosting is Twittelator, Tweetbot, and Tweetings.
Sadly, I’ll be knackered if I can get ANY to work properly.
Tweetings + Tweetpress?
Tweetings lets me put the settings in, I got it to upload the photo, but then it gives me an error.
“Image Upload Error
Provider responded with unknown content”
Nothing useful then. I’ve tried the same settings several different ways round, and get the same error each time. I’ve messaged Tweetings and asked if they could offer any advice, and have been told:
“there are proxy settings in Tweetings but I’ve never tried using the WordPress api with it. We require oauth for authentication though”
I have no idea about this. Isn’t oauth just used for Twitter? If I’m logged into Twitter, but posting images elsewhere, where does the oauth come into it?
While it uploaded the image to my site, it then produces the error, so refuses to tweet a working link to it. That’s not usable.
Having not really got anywhere replying back to them asking more questions, nor found any information about this on their website (what is it with iPhone app developers and never having any support forums or manuals? Maybe I’m not even using the app right?), I’ve moved on to something else.
Tweetbot has got fantastic reviews. Sadly, I lasted about 10 minutes with it.
Again, it’s got no decent manual or support forums. I’ve found the bit for setting custom image uploaders, entered my details, clicked done.. and nothing. It neither clears, nor fails. I can cancel back to the main menu, but it won’t accept anything I put in the box, or do anything else. I also can’t get it to mute hashtags – only Twitter clients. No idea why. I badmouthed the app on Twitter, and immediately got a message from tweetbot support saying:
“Drop us an email if you think we can help”
Two days ago I emailed them. No reply as yet. Not even a “thanks for your email we’re looking into it”. So today I thought I’d have a go at Twittelator Neue.
This has some plus points. It works – for starters. There’s no push and no mute options at all, but it looks nice and runs well. I’ve added the option for Tweetpress, and it’s accepted it. I’ve uploaded a test image, and it succeeded. Good job.
The new problem
However, when you upload a picture to Twitter, Twitpic, yfrog (and even when you uploaded to Tweetpress via the old Twitter app) it resizes the image. Using Twittelator Neue or Tweetings – while it uploads the image, and Twittelator Neue even tweets a link to it, neither resizes the image. My photo I took that I wanted to share with the world comes in at 2mb in size on my phone. And when I upload it with Tweetpress, that’s exactly what it uploads. A 2mb file at 1936 x 2592 resolution. That’s not really what I want when I’m out and about on my mobile phone.
Now I know I could get another app that would resize the image, but do I have to remember to do that before I upload every image? Why isn’t there an image quality option for uploads, like there is in Echofon? Or when you email an image off the phone? Or in WordPress’ app? There MUST be easier ways of doing this, surely?
This is how I ended up using Twitter’s official app for such a long time, as it’s the only one that seemed to work like I expected. While it had no settings for such, it would resize images to 1024×768 and upload them at a reasonable filesize. Well now that’s turned to shit, and there’s clearly nobody implementing it properly, I’m sorry Tweetpress, it looks like the end for you and me. It’s not me. It’s not you. It’s the ‘others’.
I’ve had it with this – I really have. I’ve had a good look around, and I don’t seem to be able to find an easy solution to this problem really.
The only iPhone Twitter apps that allow for setting of image size/resolution before upload (e.g. Echofon Pro), DON’T support custom image providers.
I still can’t get Tweetings to actually tweet a link, but as far as image uploading goes, if you use Tweetings or Twittelator to upload images to custom providers, it doesn’t resize the images. 2+mb file uploads, and enormous resulting resolutions. No use for anyone on a mobile.
I’ve tried using WordPress’ official iPhone app, with little success. The quick photo upload option doesn’t resize it at all (nor ask you if you want to). Whether you use that quick option or go through it the long way, there’s still no option to manually share a link with Twitter at the end of all this. Why does WordPress have no ‘share’ options for Twitter/Facebook/etc.?
I tried using the Postie plugin (and similar) to email a photo directly to WordPress. The theory is you email a photo, it creates a blog post. Problem with this is that it doesn’t update straight away, so it might be 20-30 minutes (or another time that you set) before your picture shows up at all. Also, it seems to have a habit of landscape images in portrait (by rotating them for no good reason).
I’ve tried using the Tweet Images plugin (apparently used by Stephen Fry on his own blog), instead of Tweetpress. I can’t even get this to work, but from the comments on the plugin author’s website, it appears this doesn’t resize the image before upload, which leaves me with one of the same problems I had to start with.
I looked at the Twitter Image Host plugin, which would allow me to create my own img.ly-style photo sharing site, sorta. Technically it allows you to set other Twitter users, so friends/colleagues could also post to the same picture sharing site. I’ve still got the problem of it not being resized anywhere though. If it’s going to end up in enormous resolution, it’s not a workable solution.
I looked at Posterous (which has the ability to auto-tweet). However, while you can email the image to them, and they’ll tweet a link – they tweet the link to your Posterous site, not my own site, which is no better than what I had using Twitpic/whoever.
So my temporary workaround (until I can find a better solution) is this:
- Email photo to Flickr2blog service (part of Flickr’s own offering). At the point of emailing, I can choose between small, medium, large, original size, etc. and am told how large the file size is that it’s transferring.
- Flickr accepts the photo, creates a WordPress post on my site, and embeds that image into it.
- Automattic’s Pushpress plugin is running on my site, (PubSubHubbub) which pings Dlvr.it telling it that a new post has been created.
- Dlvr.it is set to tweet ONLY things that Flickr has created (Flickr has its own cut-down login), and thus it does.
This isn’t perfect because:
- It’s slow. Although the image appears on Flickr almost instantly, and then the blog post is created seconds after that, there’s a delay of around 3-5 minutes, from my testing so far, before Dlvr.it delivers it to Twitter. I’m not sure how I can remedy this. Why, given that the post is created and WordPress is capable of pinging servers after updates, can’t it also tweet a link to it at the same time? WordPress’ social media functionality by default is poor.
- It’s fiddly. Far more so than it needs to be, because Twitter clients have no option for FTPing files, nor do most of the apps support custom providers, nor do the ones that do provide any way of modifying the image before upload, etc.
- It’s bound to go wrong. And when it does, I will never work out while away from my computer, which bit isn’t bloody working.
- The actual images are still hosted on Flickr. My initial aim was to have all MY pictures on MY hosting. At least it’s embedded into my site, so viewers don’t get bombarded with spam adverts for “secrets to teeth whitening discovered by a mom”, like the sort of shite you get on some photo-sharing websites.
- While you can add tags to Flickr during the email-to-Flickr part of the process, those tags do not get copied to the WordPress blog post it creates. You can’t specify WordPress categories either. I can probably get around this by setting WordPress’ default category to something like ‘tweeted photos’ – and changing it manually every time I write a post – but it’s hardly ideal.
- Because of the last problem, you have to email to Flickr with the subject line set to exactly what you want Dlvr.it’s tweet to say. If you’re over 160 characters at the end of all of it, tough. And you won’t know until the tweet goes out.
I’ll probably end up tweeting less pictures, and when I do, tweeting about 20% of them to my own site (own site/flickr), and just using Twitter’s own service the rest of the time, because sometimes I just want the easy option. I’ll be moaning about them removing custom image API settings while I’m doing it though, make no mistake.