When the guys at Design Chemical got in touch regarding their new plugin, I was skeptical. The idea of a “social stream” seemed rather gimmicky to me. But having checked out their demo site, I was suitably impressed, and decided to give the plugin a test drive on my own blog.
Here’s what my social stream looks like:
Pretty cool, right? As you can see, the plugin pulls in content from your social networks and displays it all in one rather spiffy wall.
You can also display your social stream as a feed, as shown to the right.
If you’re a social media addict, you’re not likely to be left wanting for choice in terms of what you can display:
Beyond the initial visual impact, there is a lot to discover behind the scenes. The multitude of customization options certainly come in handy, and perhaps elevate Social Streams above what might have otherwise been a rather ordinary plugin.
Take for example the sorting options. I initially had the stream set up to display 10 items from each source, sorted in date order. But because I am very active on Twitter, relatively active on Facebook, and less active elsewhere, my stream looked a little unbalanced. Fortunately, I was able to fix this by setting the stream to display the items randomly.
Here’s a peek at the settings screen:
You can also change the default colors for the social networks.
Setting up your stream is a piece of cake – just enter the relevant details into each box, change any of the specific settings to your liking, and you’re on your way:
It is clear that the developers have put a lot of thought into this plugin – every time I saw something I didn’t like, I quickly found a way to adjust the settings to my liking.
There was however one issue regarding setup – a clash of CSS. This was quickly resolved with a bit of custom CSS, but it would have been nice if the problem hadn’t raised its head in the first place. On the other hand, producing a plugin that renders perfectly across thousands of different themes is no easy task.
In short, I am impressed.
Whilst Social Streams doesn’t achieve anything practical in its implementation, it looks damn cool, and offers a great way of showcasing your social media activity. Whilst it is a premium plugin, if you want it, the $14 price tag is going to be largely irrelevant.