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I've never been entirely clear on whether I'm okay with that ever-present proprietary microblogging service or whether I hate it. Certainly, on the principle of housing my own data, I don't use it -- there simply isn't enough necessity. Yesterday, however, I stumbled on a new project on GitHub called twtxt.

In the words that headline the repository, twtxt is a "decentralised, minimalist microblogging service for hackers." While the project is still in its infancy (one week old as of today), it seems to show decent promise of being an alternative to the big name services -- at least for those of us who aren't intimidated by a little old fashioned text.

In a nutshell, there are only three commands to know once you've gotten twtxt set up (which only takes a minute or two).

First, you follow other twtxt users by running twtxt follow <URL>, substituting the URL of a public twtxt file (for example, mine is at There are already two (or more) sites in existence which aim to provide an open directory of twtxt users (here and here), so you need not rely on happy coincidence to discover people to follow.

Having followed one or more feeds, executing twtxt timeline will net you the latest updates from everyone you've subscribed to.

Finally, if you have a public spot for your own twtxt file, you can easily run twtxt tweet "<STATUS>" to add your latest status to your twtxt file. Of course, you can do this without a place to host the file, but nobody can see it. This shouldn't be an issue, however, as anywhere you can host a plain text file for public consumption should work just fine (I've seen at least one hosted on GitHub gists, for example).

At the moment, the project is little more than a curiosity. There seem to be a handful of twtxt'ers actively using the tool, and there are still some challenges yet to overcome (identity authentication and user discovery among them), but there is promise here.

If you want to give the project a try, feel free to follow me with twtxt follow