Check out your Twitter timeline, or leave a tweet yourself, from the comfort of the command line. Whether you’re a long-time console junkie or an aspiring one with a love for social media, TTYtter is a worthwhile diversion and possibly a Twitter client you’ll love to use.
No one will ever accuse us of under-covering Twitter. We’ve reviewed every Twitter client you’ve ever heard of, and a few you probably haven’t. What we haven’t done, so far as I can tell, is teach you to take advantage of Twitter entirely from your command line. It’s time to correct that.
TTYtter does everything you’d expect from a Twitter client – a view of your timeline, an easy way to respond to and/or retweet, a search function and more. For obvious reasons, inline pictures and videos are not supported, but everything that can be done with just text works.
How It Works
It’s about what you’d expect – your Twitter timeline, on the command line. Here’s mine:
It’s a little busy, sure, but it works. Every Tweet is assigned with a number, as you can see above. You can use this to respond to tweets; more on that later.
At the bottom of your timeline is a place where you can type a tweet or enter a command. By default, anything you type that isn’t a command will automatically be pushed out to your followers. Are you afraid you’ll send something out accidently? Then turn on the “verify” function:
Another simple command: “/search“. You can use this to run a standard Twitter search, which is particularly useful for hashtags. Here’s me exploring what’s happening in my town, #boulder:
There are many more commands; you can type “/help” to see a brief list of them:
Read through that and you’ll get a handle of using this program quickly. If not, you should really read every word written at the TTYtter homepage.
If you’re a Linux user – and, let’s face it, most people interested in this probably are – you can probably find the “ttytter” package in your distro’s package manager. Lazy Ubuntu users can simply click here to install TTYtter.
Alternatively, you can download the TTYtter script directly. It’s just a single Perl file. Make it executable and you can run it from the command line yourself on most Linux systems.
Mac users – you can run the file by using the “cd” command to get to the folder where you put TTYtter, then typing
Remember that however you decided to install this software, you’re going to need a browser to log into Twitter and get an OAuth key.
Q. Why bother with a command-line based Twitter client?
A. The fact that you’re asking me that suggests, to me, that you are not the target audience for this app. Simply put, this is cool. It’s about as lightweight a Twitter app as you’ll ever find. If you work in an office where Twitter is blocked, you can easily connect to your home computer using SSH and log into Twitter using this command line tool.
Additionally: if you’re a programmer or an IT guy, TTYtter grants you the magical power of making Twitter look like work.
Q. I can’t figure out how to install this. Can you explain precisely how I can install it? I won’t leave you any details about my computer, just to be helpful.
Q. Come on! You’re supposed to help me. Can’t you come to my house and set this up for me?
A. It’s a cliche and potentially evil answer, but if you lack the intellectual curiosity to figure out how to install this yourself you’re probably not the sort of person who would enjoy using it.
Q. Forget that guy; I’m sure he’ll figure it out. I’ve got a worthwhile thing to say to you and the entire Internet. Is there an easy way I can do that, preferably without leaving this page?
A. As always, you can do that in the comments below. I look forward to the conversation.