Manton Reece has published “Setting up WordPress” to the micro.blog help pages to provide an extended introduction on using the CMS for microblogging.
As microblog posts don’t have titles (just like tweets) he advises to leave them blank and “if necessary update the post template to not include the title in HTML or the RSS feed.” As I’ve outlined elsewhere, I personally don’t like having multiple posts listed as “(no title)” as it makes them difficult to manage in wp-admin.
This is why I decided to automatically replace blank titles with the date/time on posting. As well as being an obvious choice (posts are easily identifiable) micro.blog ignores titles in this format meaning they display correctly. This is fine for micro.blog but what if you want the rest of the world to see no title?
This is where you have to update things to not include the title as I did with the RSS feed and have now also done with my JSON Feed (I completely forgot I had it setup) by editing the plugin to check for post formats in the same way as for RSS.
It may seem like a lot of aggravation adding the title only to remove it again elsewhere but that’s just the way I wanted it set up.
Others have used my solution due to issues such as WordPress automatically inserting the post ID as the title even if it has been left blank. But, as Manton points out:
”You may find that some feed readers don’t gracefully handle posts without titles, often inserting “Untitled” for the title because they expect something to be there. If you see this, the best solution is to email the developer and ask for them to address it. Working around the issue with fake titles — dates, numbers, or portions of the text — will only ensure that client developers never improve their apps to handle title-less posts.”
An item title isn’t listed as a requirement in the RSS spec but most feed readers treat it as such leading to ugly displays. Feedly uses the beginning of the post content which looks particularly awful so, at the end of last year, I submitted this suggestion to their uservoice forum to properly support title-less items.
If there are any Feedly users out there I’d appreciate if you could head on over and vote for this suggestion (it does require you to sign in.) The more votes it receives the more likely they are to consider it for future updates.