When people talk about Twitter plugins, they are usually referring to tools that integrate a blog and a specific Twitter account. Twitter plugins can vary when it comes to features. Some of the basic functions that a Twitter plugin can provide include cross-posting blog entries and tweets, identifying readers who also use Twitter and aggregating analytics.
A Twitter plugin can make tweeting a blog post easy for readers who want to share the blog post with followers. With plugins such as these, web addresses can be shortened automatically, and reposts can be one click away. A Twitter plugin also can make it so that any Twitter posts referring to a blog can be shown directly on that blog, as well as on Twitter.
Some plugins help blog owners by having new blog entries posted on the Twitter website as soon as a blog is updated. Links can accompany the Twitter updates so that followers easily can find their way back to the original blog post. Alternatively, a blog owner can install a plugin that automatically creates a new blog post whenever his or her corresponding Twitter account is updated.
Plugins can be installed to show readers which blog posts have been tweeted about recently and which posts have been tweeted about the most. In addition, some plugins can offer to cross-post a reader's comment on both the blog and a Twitter account. They even can let other blog readers know which users have tweeted about a blog's entries. Plugins can publicly list blog readers and commentators by showing their profile pictures in comment sections or sidebars.
In addition, a Twitter plugin can help blog readers tweet directly from a blog. Readers simply have to enter their post into the field designed to update Twitter statuses. A command to update will result in their own Twitter statuses to reflect the entry. Similarly, certain Twitter plugins can be installed that link Twitter accounts to blog comments. Links to personal Twitter accounts can be found alongside a commentator's name and his or her personal comment.
A Twitter plugin also can offer analytics functions. Certain plugins can tell a blog owner which Twitter followers have visited his or her blog, how they found the website and what their behaviors are regarding the post. Plugins such as these can help a blog owner better advertise his or her blog across Twitter and other social media networks. They also can help build relationships between Twitter users and blog owners.