Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Twitter & Pidgin

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a tool designed to answer one question "What are you doing?" Some call it "micro blogging" or "blogging for the ADD," but I like to think of it as a global chat. It's a way for you to keep up with others, get to know people, and expand your network.

The concept is:

  • You sign up.
  • You follow people and read their "tweets" (a message on Twitter).
  • People follow you and read your tweets.

What is Pidgin?

Pidgin, formerly known as "Gaim", is a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once.

For example, if you have a GTalk account, you can use Pidgin as you IM client.

<Random side story>
For a long time I used Trillian and my multi-protocol IMer but certain features you have to pay for, like XMPP. At the same time I was looking for a portable IM'er (I'm a portable app
nut, but that's for another post). Then I came across Pidgin Portable and I was sold. (Later "Unofficial" versions can be located at Vane Parole)
</ Random side story>

Where the two shall meet!

In Twitter under "Settings > Phone & IM"

Twitter can send tweets to three IM account types that support XMPP (GTalk, LiveJournal, Jabber).

A couple of pitfalls.

Twitter only allows 140 characters on each tweet. Pidgin, out of the box, doesn't count characters. However, you can add the Character Counting plug-in.

If you have an away message up, and you get a tweet, Pidgin will auto tweet back with your away message.

Final Thoughts

I think the combination is quite nice. There are richer Twitter clients out there, but for what I need Pidgin serves me well.

Come children, follow me into a brave new world of communication, and addiction.


  1. @poorna My pleasure.

    For anyone else.. if you have questions about Twitter or Pidgin please feel free to post your question as a comment. I'll do my best to answer it for you.

  2. Ciao,

    i can't see "Settings > Phone & IM" on my twitter options, xmpp is still alive?


  3. @h-bes, thanks for the comment

    I don't have the definitive answer to that question.

    My gut feeling is "XMPP no longer lives." Only because I can't seem to find the documentation that used to be on twitter. It's like it never existed. My best Google searches haven't returned anything promising either.

    I hope they haven't completely killed XMPP, but again my gut feeling is they have.

    If I find anymore information I'll make another blog post about it.

  4. Apparently it's been dead for at least two months now.

  5. AHHHHH . . . Boo Hiss . . . I was SO much looking to make many of my social softwares come together. And so we wait . . . I HAVE seen some PERL implementations, but I don't want to have to run the PERL environment on my home computer.