Promoting Old Posts

Weblog Tools Collection recently spotlighted a WordPress plugin to automatically tweet old posts. It seems like a good way to bring attention to a site’s archives, as long as it’s used sparingly. The frequency can be as high as once an hour, which IMO is a good way to lose all your followers, but one post every few days seems like it might be reasonable and even interesting.

I’ve already got a setup in place to show a “flashback” post on the front page, but most of the blog’s traffic seems to come from searches these days. Every once in a while I’ll happen to look at the front myself and say, “Oh, yeah, that was a good one!” and post a link on Twitter or Facebook.

This new plugin posts automatically, and picks an article at random. That’s helpful, because it can find old posts that I’ve forgotten. On the downside, because it’s random, there’s no quality control. It could just as easily pull out something completely inane that was funny for about a week five years ago as it could dredge up a forgotten gem. And there’s always the risk of promoting “Happy New Year!” in August — which is exactly what happened when I tested it on Speed Force.

You can filter out categories, but I think it might be more useful to filter on tags. Sure, it can take a while to go through the archives tagging posts that you feel are worth a second look, but it would certainly improve the signal/noise ratio with this scheme. Even better, there’s a lot more you can do once you’ve tagged your “classics.” Highlight them on archive pages, list some of them in the sidebar, build an index, etc.

Hmm, this might be an interesting project at some point.

Update (August 23): Well, I’ve disabled this for now — on both blogs — because of the lack of control. I’d rather forget to post “Hey, remember this?” than have it clutter up people’s accounts with old linkblogging digests or something similarly pointless. When I have time, I should work on that classics project, both tagging posts and hacking on the plugin.

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