Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

Social Retrofit for an Intranet: Twitter Widget

This post looks at how to make a traditional – that is, static and impersonal – Intranet come to life and embody social engagement features without throwing the entire edifice out and starting over. (Not that there’s anything wrong with adopting a new platform: it’s a bigger project, and costlier, but the new generation of social Intranets are pretty compelling).

In the previous post, an external blog got hacked into a website through the use of iframes. “Hack” really is the operative word, and the approach is more evidence that a wholecoth solution is preferable when possible. However, there are many ways to season an old Intranet to enliven it a bit, and in this post we’ll look at the variations of Twitter widgets you can easily embed to make your site – internal or external – a little more social and dynamic.

Twitter itself does all the hard work in creating a Twitter widget. On the Twitter site, there’s a page that enables you to easily create four different kinds of dynamic feeds:

  • Profile Widget: Display your most recent Twitter updates on any webpage. The image at left is an example.
  • Search Widget: Displays search results in real time! Ideal for live events, broadcastings, conferences, TV Shows, or even just keeping up with the news.

  • Faves Widget: Show off your favorite tweets! Also in real time, this widget will pull in the tweets you’ve starred as favorites. It’s great for moderation.
  • List Widget: Put your favorite tweeps into a list! Then show ’em off in a widget. Also great for moderation.

Below is a “Search Widget” which provides a real time feed of tweets containing the words “social” and “intranet”. There’s also a “List Widget” on this site, which shows a feed of Softjoe members’ tweets, accessible at the Twitter Feed link in the menu or here.

To create your Twitter widget, go to, and choose the My Website link on the left. There you’ll see the four kinds of feed reiterated above; choose the feed type of your choice, and Twitter offers you a set of simple controls to set up things like color, size, title, etc. Each page can show you a real-time preview of the widget as it will appear on your site.

When you’re done, click the button that says “Finish & Grab Code”, and you’ll get an edit control that has about 33 lines of code that you can copy and paste into your web site.

You can see an example of a Twitter widget in action here.


Written by tstaley

August 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Intranet

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