Jetpack is essentially a suite of plugins rolled into one package, which add many extra features to your WordPress blog – a number of which would only be otherwise available to WordPress.com users. I’ve been using it since I switched to WordPress last year, and have made a number of changes to the site as features have been added, such as being able to receive email notifications of new blog posts, comment using your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and display my latest tweets in the sidebar.
Jetpack 2.0 came out earlier this month, bringing with it sharing to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Yahoo! Updates. Until now, I’ve used a combination of WP-Twitter, Wordbooker and a couple of ifttt recipes to achieve this, so having one plugin (which was already installed) do this is attractive. I’ve been using it for just shy of two weeks now and I’m quite pleased with it.
Using Jetpack is definitely simpler – not only do you need to have fewer plugins installed (which improves speed and security) but it’s also more simple to set up. By contrast, WP-Twitter requires you to create a Twitter application for it to work, and Wordbooker offers a dizzying array of options. Of course, that complexity also gives you more control – you can configure WP-Twitter to post an entry’s tags as #hashtags in its tweets, for example, or use your own bit.ly keys for click analysis. But they’re overkill for non-power users who just want a simple way of promoting their blog posts.
And Jetpack does have a few tricks of its own. Its sharing can be set up on a per-user basis, so that blog entries are only shared to that user’s Facebook profile for example, and it will also support posting to Facebook brand pages.
Sharing posts is just one of the many features that Jetpack provides. I’d consider it almost mandatory for WordPress users.