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00 twitter logo.jpgCall me old fashioned, call me a caveman but until recently, I haven’t found any solid reason to use Twitter. I even have to go to Wikipedia to find a reason.

According to Wikipedia, Twitter is:

a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers.

So, based on the definition, I see tweeting as nothing but mass short text messaging of a user’s current status. Some people might find the activity fun, but that’s just not my cup of tea. I wanted to find out other benefits from the service that turn millions of users to tweet actively everyday.

Six Reasons To Tweet

Reading further on the Wikipedia page, I found out that there are six categories of tweets: news, spam, self promotion, pointless babble, conversational, and pass-along value. A few of these might serve as a good enough reason for me to start exploring.

Standard usage of Twitter requires users to log in to the site to be able to post and follow tweets. Not very friendly for real-time status updates. That’s why users always try to find other more comfortable ways to tweet.

01 Twitter Home.jpg


During my first few days of exploring Twitter, I found some geeky methods to issue a quick tweet under Mac. It’s a combination of using Quicksilver/Google Quick Search Box (QSB) to post and GeekTool to display the tweets.

The Quick Tweet Post

If you are a Quicksilver or QSB user, you can post quick tweets using only a few keystrokes. Quicksilver needs an additional script or plugin to make it work with Twitter, while QSB comes with the feature built in.

The basic steps of using either Quicksilver or QSB to tweet are more or less the same, but since Quicksilver does not get along well with Snow Leopard in my Mac, I used QSB instead.

Here are the steps to issue your quick tweet:

First, you need to set up your Twitter account in QSB. Click on the little arrow on the right side of the QSB window and choose Preferences (or use Command + Comma while the QSB window is open)

01b QSB Preferences.jpg

Then click the Accounts tab, click Add Account and choose Twitter from the Account Type.

01c QSB Twitter account.jpg

With your Twitter account set up, you can continue with the quick tweets.

  • Invoke QSB (using Command + Space or hit the Command key twice)
  • 02a QSB write post.jpg

  • Write down your micro-post and then press the right arrow button.
  • 02b Quick post.jpg

  • Choose “send Twitter status” action
  • 02c Send tweet.jpg

  • Hit enter to send the post

The Display

Tweeting is not only posting personal micro-blogs but also about following others. There’s a perfect GeekTool GeekTool - Display System Information on Mac in Style GeekTool - Display System Information on Mac in Style Read More script to display your friends’ tweets on your desktop called Twitterbuddy.

Download and unzip the installation package to a location in your hard drive. You have to install the script by double clicking the install.command file inside the Twitterbuddy folder.

The installation will run in Terminal.

03a Terminal Install Twitterbuddy.jpg

Use command

twitterbuddy -h

in Terminal to get the list of available (GeekTool) commands.

03b Terminal Twitterbuddy command.jpg

The basic command would be:

/usr/local/bin/twitterbuddy -u username -p password -n x

Change “username” “password” and “x” with the appropriate value where “x” is the number of tweets that you want to have displayed.

The Fix

New Twitterbuddy users might get this connection error: “Could not connect with twitter: Did you specify a username and a password?“. That’s because the script will only work with the older versions of twitter.gem (version 0.44 and below), while the installation process will download the latest version of twitter.gem (version 0.77 at the time of writing).

06a Error Message

To fix the problem, you have to manually uninstall the latest twitter.gem and install the older one.

Go to RubyForge: Twitter: Project Filelist page and download version 0.4.4.

Open Terminal and type this command:

sudo gem uninstall twitter

And hit enter

Then continue with this command:

sudo gem install

drag and drop the downloaded file to Terminal window to complete the command, and hit enter.

06 Terminal - un-install Twitter Ruby

After this re-installation, everything should work fine.

07 Twitter Status

Note: Some users have reported that their Twitterbuddy installation requires a restart before working properly.

The Clients

If you prefer the no-hassle way, you could just use a Twitter client to post and follow tweets. Two alternatives that I found are: Twitterific and Tweetie. Both are available in two versions: free ad-supported version and paid version.

What about you? Do you tweet? What is your favorite tweeting method? Share using the comments below.

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