Twitster: Twitter Groups For Your Site


I’m really psyched to release the first public beta of Twitster into the wild today.

But first, let me tell you a story.

I work a lot with the Movable Type community. It’s a small community, but there are some really talented developers and designers doing some really cool stuff. One day I sat back and realized that the community actually felt smaller than it was. The cool stuff that everyone was doing was happening in all different places, so it was hard to see the “bigger picture”—to get a finger on the pulse of the community.

Then I noticed that there was one common denominator for almost every community member: everyone was talking about their projects, questions and breakthroughs on Twitter. There was a greater conversation happening but no one was capturing it, no one was bringing these disparate pieces together to create something larger than the individual posts.

The obvious key was to track these conversations using hash tags. I checked out, but it doesn’t let you publish tagged tweets on your own site. The other problem was that if you follow a tag on, anyone can use a tag for any reason. If you’re following #mt you might get posts about Movable Type, Media Temple or Montana. I wanted the ability to pick a hash tag and then control who could contribute to my Twitter group.

You may also be thinking “Can’t this can be done with a Twitter app like TweetDeck or EventBox?” For the most part, yes. The problem is that those things aren’t being published on your site—they’re great for individual users to follow hash tags, but they make mass publication of these groups really difficult. I saw this first hand at SXSW ‘09 when presenters were running TweetDeck maximized on the big screen… not exactly ideal execution.

So I set out to build Twitster, an application that would let you publish the tweets of everyone you’re following on your own site and—perhaps more importantly—let you filter that feed for particular topics. I began work and built out much of the design and basic development, but I’m no codemonkey, so I asked my good friend Byrne Reese to help spearhead the technical development of Twitster.

And that’s what I’m happy to give you today: the first public beta of Twitster.

Here are some important links to help you get started with Twitster:

Download Twitster v.1.0 beta 4