Many people enjoy using Twitter, but like any social network, it has its drawbacks. Firstly, this is the lack of control over your data and privacy, and secondly, you will lose everything if one day Twitter suddenly goes bankrupt.
This is why, if you are looking to create an online community, you may want to consider creating one yourself on your website’s domain. It will be difficult to convince people to visit your site community on a regular basis since Twitter already has a built-in audience, but with some determination, you might be able to create something to call your own.
Start Tweeting with P2
There is a WordPress theme called P2 which was developed by the same development team that created WordPress itself. They use P2 to discuss issues among themselves, just like another office can use Slack or Skype.
P2 is very similar to Twitter in that you can post status updates and people can reply to those status updates. But, unlike Twitter, you cannot create your own profile page and your avatar is determined by your Gravatar profile. So P2 is not really configurable unless you have admin access to the website settings.
But for basic chatting and basic community building, it works great.
The topic itself is abandoned, in terms of updates, because there is a new version But the new version doesn’t look like Twitter, so I don’t use it. If you would like to use it, the direct download link for the theme is here.
There are some of you who will not install the original P2 for this reason due to the security implications of a theme that is not actively supported. But I like the Twitter-like interface, so I want to try the old version. It’s up to you if it’s worth the risk.
If you do, go here and download the theme. Now upload it to your domain and activate. I made a Twitter-like test page called Kipper to test various features.
Configure the settings
There aren’t many features here to “tweak”, but let’s take a look at them anyway.
First, the background color. I would be careful not to go too crazy about this because a lot of people are distracted by websites without white backgrounds. I know that. Maybe you can get away with gray, but I would go even further.
Or you can choose a background image. But if you’re not building Justin Bieber’s teenage community, I’m not sure polka dots or Santa Claus will create the right “image.”
I would advise to play it safe and keep everything white.
You can optionally hide the sidebar, making the entire Twitter-like structure full width. If you did that, you would lose some of the nifty WordPress widgets, but again, it depends on what you want the page to do.
I would change the Post hint. “What are you up to?” sounds completely disgusting. One from Twitter – “What’s going on?” so maybe something like that. I changed mine to “What do you mean?”
And I would suggest disabling the post titles, otherwise they will look like blog posts and not the Twitter updates you post. But this is a choice of personal taste.
Another final tweak is to go into WordPress settings and change the permalink structure so that when someone clicks on the status update permalink, it is as short as possible. I would suggest using the title of the post.
Allowing people to register
Allow people to sign up
One of the things that will really make people think about the safety of people is that you need to allow people to register accounts on your WordPress website in order to be able to use P2. But as long as they have a proper “role” in WordPress, the rest of your site will be fine. No one with the status “Author” will be able to change themes, plugins, etc.
On the left sidebar of WordPress, go to Settings – General and check the box Anyone can register. Also make sure the default role is member.
Now go to P2 settings and check the “Allow any registered member to post messages” checkbox. Without these steps, no one will be able to publish anything on your network.
If people have a Gravatar account – and they use that to register on your site – the image associated with the Gravatar account will be the avatar on your site. If they don’t want to create a Gravatar account, you can set the default avatar logo by going to Settings> Discussion.
Now, when someone wants to register, they simply go to the login page of your WordPress site and click â€œRegisterâ€.
You can see who signed up by going to “Users” on the left sidebar of WordPress. You can also use this area to manually register people.
Adding status updates
Add Status Updates
After someone signs up on your site, they just need to go to the P2 page and a box will appear at the top of the screen, just like on Twitter. Then they just need to enter what they want and save it.
After that, other registered users will be able to reply.
You can also add images by clicking the Add Media button.
Editing and Deleting Status Updates
Edit and remove status updates
On Twitter, you have the option to remove a tweet directly from the page. But in theme P2, in order to delete or edit a status update, the person who posted it (or anyone with admin rights) must do so from the Posts section of WordPress.
If the status update is a thread response, they are saved in the comment section.
Make your community private
Make your forum private
Finally, you may not want to make your site public on a search engine if you are discussing something personal.
To prevent this from happening, open the FTP program and open your domain files. Now open the Robots.txt file. Inside, you can already see a section called “User-Agent”.
Under “User-Agent” enter:
Disallow / YOUR SITE NAME P2
In my case, I typed:
Disallow / kipper
This stops Google crawlers from indexing Kipper’s pages on their next visit.