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Twitter widgets, plugins and scripts - oh my!

David Chartier

I seem to be going gaga over web services lately. After dropping my .Mac personal blog for Vox, Twitter is another new-ish service that has also weaseled its way into my daily activities (they launched this past summer). While there are a few explanations for what Twitter really is and does, I like to think of it as a 'status message for your life.' At Twitter's site you can enter a few words or a sentence or two about what you're up to (much like the status message in your chat app), and receive updates when your friends change their status. But it doesn't have to stay at the site. You can embed your Twitter updates in your blog and use them as your Adium status. Twitter lets you receive updates on your phone or even over IM, and you can use both of those to send your own updates back to Twitter. It might sound silly before you actually try it out, but it can easily become addicting if you let yourself surrender to the fun and sign up.

If you're getting hooked like me, some users have started a Twitter Fan Wiki to round up all the fun tools that are coming out of Twitter's quickly growing community. While there is stuff here for everything from Windows Smartphones to WordPress widgets and even Ruby scripts, there are some great Mac-centric tools that I really like. The first is the Adium plugin I already mentioned, which lets you embed your Twitter message as your available/away status in Adium. If you want to be able to use Twitter for both an away and an available message, be sure to give them different names, like 'Twitter Away / Twitter Available.' The next two are Dashboard widgets, of course. Twitgit allows you to see a list of your friends' status and enter your own, while Twidget is a straight-up box that simply lets you enter a status. Finally, there's Celly, which seems to do nothing more than pull down random Twitter status messages from across the public channel.

With these tools in your belt, you should be able to spend a lot less time when letting people know what you're spending your time on. Isn't redundant technology grand?

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