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Create Your Own Twitter-style Group Blog With P2

Would you like a great way to post stuff quickly online and communicate with your readers?  Here’s how you can use the P2 theme to transform WordPress into a great collaboration and communications platform.

What is P2?

WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms, and we have looked at many ways you can use WordPress to publish content online.  But WordPress can also be a great platform for microblogging, similar to Twitter or group discussion boards.  Most default themes are designed around regular blogs, but P2 is a special blog theme designed to transform your site into a communications platform.  It’s easy to setup and use, so let’s look at how your group can use P2 to stay in touch.

Get a Blog for P2

First, you’ll need a WordPress blog to run P2.  If you’ve already got a free WordPress.com blog, you can use it, or you can signup for a free one.  Check out our article for more info on Setting up a Free WordPress.com Blog.

P2 works much different than standard WordPress themes, so you’ll likely not want to use it for your main site but instead will want to use it for a separate project.  If you already have a WordPress.com blog but would rather keep it the way it is, go to the My Blogs tab on WordPress.com and click Register another blog.  This will give you a brand new blog you can use with P2 for free.

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Enter a name and title for your new blog, and click Create Blog.

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Alternately, if you have your own server or hosting account, you can run P2 on WordPress from your own server.  Check out our articles on how to Quickly Install WordPress With Softaculous or Install WordPress Manually via FTP.
Once again, make sure you use it on a blog that you want to devote to P2, so if you want to use this for a side project, you might want to install WordPress on a subdomain on your server, like p2.yourdomain.com.

Setup P2 On Your Blog

Once you’ve got a blog to use, it’s time to setup P2.  As mentioned before, P2 is simply a theme that runs on WordPress, so here’s how to add it to your WordPress.com or self-hosted site:

- WordPress.com

Once you’ve got a WordPress.com blog to use with P2, login to your dashboard and open the Themes page from the link under Appearance on the left-hand sidebar.

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Enter P2 in the search box, and click Search to find the theme on WordPress.com.

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Click Activate under the P2 header to immediately start using P2 on your blog.  That’s all there is to it; it’s extremely easy to start using P2 on WordPress.com blogs.

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Self-hosted WordPress

Installing P2 on a self-hosted WordPress blog is a bit more difficult.  To install P2, login to your site’s WordPress Dashboard, and select Themes under Appearance on the left-hand sidebar.

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Select the Install Themes tab on the Themes page.

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The easiest way to install P2 is to simply search for it in the search box.  When the results load, click Install under the P2 preview image to install it directly on your blog.

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Click Install Now in the popup box to confirm you want to install P2.

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Once its installed, click Activate under the installation info to begin using P2.

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Using P2

P2 is very easy to use, and once you’ve activated the theme, it’s fully ready to use.  Just open your blog, and post anything directly from the page itself; no more messing with the WordPress dashboard to get a post out.

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There are separate post options for status updates, blog posts, quotes, and links.  You can also upload and insert pictures, videos, and more directly into P2 posts.  This makes it very quick to post almost anything to your blog, though again, P2 is best for short-form notes and updates.

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Here’s how some of the different post styles look.  Not your typical WordPress blog, eh?

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Posts and comments will automatically appear on the page, and you’ll receive a notification when something new is received.  This makes it easy to stay on top of an ongoing conversation.

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You can reply to comments and posts inline without refreshing the page.

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If you love keyboard shortcuts, P2 is great for you.  It includes shortcuts to browse through the posts, reply, hide comments, and more.  These will be easy to use if you’re used to keyboard shortcuts on Google Reader and similar sites.

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P2 is a great way to post your own stuff quickly, but it is really useful when multiple people are posting.  This way, you can use it like a group chat or discussion board, and everyone in your team, class, business, or more can post stuff for everyone else to see.

To enable this, select the Theme Options under the Appearance menu.

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If your blog is running on WordPress.com, you’ll see the option to allow any WordPress.com member to post.  Note that anyone can register for a WordPress.com account, so this would let nearly anyone post to your site.  Alternately, you can add multiple authors to your site, but still leave the public posting option turned off.  This will let everyone in your group post updates, pictures, and more, while allowing other visitors to read and comment on posts.

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On Self-hosted sites, P2 lets you allow any registered member to post.  This is a great option if you’re using P2 for a support forum or similar site, or if you want to make your blog private as described below.

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Make Your WordPress P2 Blog Private

If you’re using P2 for private group or business discussions, you’ll likely not want the whole world reading what you post.  So, you might want to consider making your site private.  This works differently depending on your setup, so follow the directions below for your blog:

- On WordPress.com

It’s easy to make your P2 blog private on WordPress.com.  Open the Privacy page from the Settings menu on the left.

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Now, select the last bullet to make your blog private, and click Save Changes.

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Visitors will now be required to login with their WordPress.com account before they can view and add to your P2.

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Once your site visibility is set, you can enter user’s WordPress.com usernames to allow them to view and add to your P2 blog.  Note that a free WordPress.com blog may only have up to 35 users; for unlimited private blog users, you’ll need to upgrade for $29.97/year.

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- On Self-Hosted WordPress

If you’re running WordPress on your own server or hosting account, you won’t be able to set your blog as private by default.  There are several plugins you can use to make your site private, however, so let’s look at adding the Absolute Privacy plugin to make our P2 private.

Head over to the Plugins section on the left menu, and select Add New.

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Enter Absolute Privacy in the search box, and then click Install Now on the Absolute Privacy plugin description.

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Confirm that you wish to install this plugin.

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Finally, click Activate Plugin after it has installed.

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Now, when someone visits your site, they’ll be redirected to the WordPress login page.  You can create new accounts for your users manually, or if you want to let people register and access your P2, open the WordPress Settings page in your Dashboard and check the Anyone can register box.

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Conclusion

No matter what size of community or group you’re communicating with, P2 makes it easy to keep all of your discussions on the page.  It’s especially easy to use on a free WordPress.com blog, so we think this is a great option even for users who may already have their own hosting service.  P2 shows that WordPress can be used for a wide variety of sites beyond traditional blogs, and we’re excited to see the great ways you can put this to work today.

Links

Get More Information About P2

Signup for a Free WordPress.com Blog

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  • Published 07/9/10

Comments (7)

  1. Yogesh Malik

    I love P2 theme, it is so simple and efficient, i use it to archive my tweets.

  2. Deathgleaner

    I use P2 for my private group blog.

  3. Joseph Scott

    Nice write up on getting started with P2. I like that you cover using both WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

    When using this on WordPress.com you can also get updates via IM – http://im.wordpress.com/

  4. sky

    wow..it’s so great..is P2 free??

  5. Bjarnovikus

    @sky:
    P2 is 100% free

  6. Simone

    Does anybody know how to make VISITORS submit posts to P2 without any login? Thanks!

  7. Kate

    I have the same question as Simone. I want my visitors to be able to submit posts without any login. Please help!

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