How-to: Setup your own Twitter photo site with WordPress

There are plenty of capable third-party services that make uploading and sharing mobile photos simple and easy, such as Twitpic, yfrog, and Flickr, to name a few. But what if you want more control over how the content is displayed, and perhaps more importantly, where and how the images are stored (i.e. control over your intellectual property)? Look no further than (a self-hosted install of) WordPress.

Creating and managing your own ‘Twitpic’ with WordPress is (relatively) easy, especially if you are already familiar with WP, or better yet, have an existing WP-powered site where you want to share and store your images. NOTE: The following guide assumes that you are generally comfortable with the basic operations and functionality of a WordPress site, and that you have a smartphone – Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry.

Lets get started. First, here’s a very short list of things you will need: 1. a self-hosted WordPress site, 2. a Twitter account, and 3. WordPress for Android (iPhone or BlackBerry). Once you have WordPress up and running on your personal domain, you’ll need to add (either directly within WP, or manually via FTP) a couple WordPress plug-ins to enable the Twitter functionality and use of shortened URLs – Twitter Tools and Twitter Friendly Links.

  • Twitter Tools will enable your site to automatically post new photos on Twitter once you publish a new photo on your site. Once the plug-in is installed and activated, navigate to the plug-ins settings page:

    1. Enter your Twitter account credentials (the plug-in will be switching to OAuth very soon);
    2. Select ‘yes’ for “Enable option to create a tweet when you post in your blog?”;
    3. Select ‘yes’ for “Set this on by default?”;
    4. Save the options at the bottom of the settings page.

  • Twitter Friendly Links turns your site’s ordinarily long URLs into much more manageable, aka more tweetable, links. This allows you to better customize your shortened links, rather than relying on other third party shorteners or resorting to other workarounds. You can choose whatever options you’d like, but be sure to enable the “fix” for Twitter Tools at the bottom of the Twitter Friendly Links’ settings page.

Now that you’ve installed and configured WordPress and the necessary plug-ins, you’ll need to install WordPress for Android/iPhone/BlackBerry. Once installed, configure access to your WordPress site and adjust all the options to your liking (e.g. photo size, text placement, etc).

Finally, all that is left for you to do is to capture a photo with your smartphone. Once you’ve taken that Pulitzer Prize winning image, use WordPress for Android/iPhone/BlackBerry to upload and publish the photo. If everything has been setup correctly, as soon as you publish the new post via your mobile device, the image will appear on your site and a shortened link to the image will automatically be posted on Twitter. Done and done.

For me, setting up my own mobile photo sharing site – – was not so much about replacing Twitpic/Flickr entirely (where I still upload “throw away” images from time to time) as it was asserting control over photos that I really like and want to be displayed and stored in a particular way. If you’ve already got a domain, use WordPress, and enjoy photography…this is a no-brainer.

*The information and/or opinions contained in this post are entirely my own and in no way reflect the views of Twitter, Inc.