I love Twitter entirely too much. You get tiny snippets of insight into other people’s minds. You get a great big meme factory where new hashtags are born and die every minute. And you get instant or delayed communication with anyone else on the service, depending on your intent — sometimes you can talk to no-one in particular, and someone will probably answer regardless. I honestly had no idea how enthralled I would have become with what I thought was a trite and passing fad, where I can usually find some nugget of wisdom or bright shiny smile to turn a day 180 when it’s going otherwise horribly.
And since I’m a Linux guy, I’ve been naturally drawn to the Linux-based Twitter clients… repeatedly, as it turns out, because I’ve been burned by them before. But the beautiful thing about open-source software is that it’s always improving incrementally. Sometimes the increments are pretty damned huge, at that. As with Gwibber’s latest incarnation, packaged with the Ubuntu Lucid Lynx beta that I installed on my work laptop a few days ago and integrated into the indicator applet, huge doesn’t begin to describe it.
Finally I have a Linux-based Twitter client that is attractive, functional, notifies me on @-replies and DMs, and can connect to Facebook and (when at work and Facebook is inaccessible) fail on it gracefully without forcing me to remove the connection from my accounts list. I no longer have to rely on Adobe AIR and TweetDeck (the memory hog), or Twhirl (which is sorely lacking in functions). Since it’s programmed in Python, and the source is readily available, I could tweak it to my liking if I so choose, without even recompiling it. It’s not a memory hog, it supports multiple columns like TweetDeck (a feature I JUST discovered!), and it’s not eating up all my processor cycles or API calls doing, for what I use Twitter for, approximately nothing. And did I mention it’s attractive as hell with the default Human theme?
Not that Twitter’s the most productive use of my time, certainly. I mean, if you look in the screenshot, everyone’s favorite mechanical reptile is live-tweeting shaving his head. And it’s like a giant link aggregator where everyone gets to submit links to everyone else’s feeds. And you should know, you probably clicked a link in my Twitter timeline to get here. Roughly 70% of my traffic comes from it.
What a strange service Twitter is, when you think about it — blogging in 140 chars or less. But doesn’t it put a smile on your face now and again?
You can probably check the newest Gwibber out prior to the Lucid launch if you’re feeling daring, or try out one of their older versions from your distro’s repositories. Their PPA is right here. Not sure what you’ll have to do to get it working on other distros, as I honestly haven’t played with anything but Ubuntu in over two years, but I’m sure it’s possible.