As part of Elon Musk’s not-so-secret plan to drive Twitter into the ground, the company recently rejiggered the pricing for API access for developers, raising the cost for enterprise-level access from free to a minimum of $42,000 per month. You wouldn’t want it to be easy for publishers to post their content on Twitter, would you?
That new level was both prima facie ridiculous and financially infeasible for companies like Automattic, makers of WordPress and the Jetpack plug-in that enables automatic social media sharing of posts. Automattic turned off the option to post to Twitter in Jetpack and said it would add the capability to share posts to Mastodon and Instagram.
I’ve used Jetpack to post TidBITS articles on Twitter and Facebook for years. Despite the hoopla about social media, neither the impressions nor subsequent engagement has ever been more than a drop in the bucket of TidBITS traffic or conversation. We see about 200–500 views per post on Twitter, while Facebook posts average 100–300 views. While those numbers seem low, clickthroughs are even worse: Google Analytics tells me that social media accounted for just 1.64% of TidBITS traffic over the last year. Unimpressive though those numbers are, they took no work to generate, thanks to Jetpack.
However, Jetpack has now stopped posting our articles on Twitter. My initial reaction was, “Good riddance!” I was prepared to leave Twitter entirely. But, although this breakage was an excellent opportunity to drop Twitter like the rotten potato it has become, I couldn’t help wondering if there was an alternative way of posting TidBITS articles on Twitter for free. It wasn’t worth anything to me other than the time spent scratching an intellectual itch.
Some research showed that the social media management service Buffer still offers a free plan for three channels, whereas competitor Hootsuite has only paid plans. Because the raison d’être of both is to post to social media, they are either unaffected by Twitter’s enterprise pricing changes or have decided to absorb the cost increases.
But how to get TidBITS articles into Buffer’s queue automatically? Just as I’m unwilling to pay anything to post to social media, I also refuse to do any ongoing work to make it happen. If it’s not automated, forget it.
Initially, I gravitated to the automation services IFTTT and Zapier, which I think about periodically even though neither has ever actually solved a problem for me. That has continued to be true because even though both claim to be able to bring in a WordPress post and send it off to Buffer, neither proved capable of logging directly into my WordPress server. Zapier also recommended its WordPress plug-in, but I passed since it hasn’t been updated in a year and has only two stars, with multiple users claiming it doesn’t work at all. IFTTT and Zapier remain options for blogs hosted on WordPress.com that can’t install plug-ins, assuming you can get them to log in.
However, I quickly found the WordPress to Buffer plug-in, which has 4.5 stars and was last updated a week ago. After my developer installed it, it took me just minutes to connect to my Buffer account and configure WordPress to post to Twitter. It has a Pro version with additional features that costs $39 per year, but none of the extra features seem necessary for my setup.
As a bonus, Buffer and the WordPress to Buffer plug-in now support Mastodon, so I also set up and connected a TidBITS account there. If you’re using Mastodon and want TidBITS headlines in your feed, follow us at
Finally, curious about what was happening with our posts on Facebook, I visited our Facebook page and discovered that something caused Jetpack to stop posting to Facebook after March 2023. No one has apparently noticed or at least mentioned it to me. Since I was goofing around in Buffer anyway, I set it up to post to Facebook and turned Jetpack’s reposting service off entirely.
While part of me wants to kick social media to the curb entirely, I’d feel bad for the people who like seeing TidBITS articles in their feeds. So as long as posting TidBITS articles on social media remains free and automatic, I’ll keep it going.