Getting geeky with Twitterrific and AppleScript

I am most definitely a devotee of the social-networking message service . (Explaining Twitter's appeal is the topic of another story, one I haven't written yet.) But if you use Twitter, and especially if you use The Iconfactory's (free with ads, US$15 without) you might be interested in discovering some of the program's hidden features.

Before I begin, an aside: There are a lot of Twitter apps for the Mac. I've tried most of them, but I keep coming back to Twitterrific. Its simple interface does what I want, when I want. Some of the competitors offer interesting features, but none of them work well enough to tear me away from Twitterrific. I do have a wish-list for Twitterrific that's about a mile long--but again, that's another story. Despite my recognition of its flaws, Twitterrific's the Twitter app that works the best for me.

Anyway, on to the geek-out.

Filtering tweets

During the run-up to the election last year, I got really tired with seeing people use Twitter to argue about politics. Not that I'm not engaged in the political process--I vote in every election. But I find Twitter, with its 140-character limit, to be the death of nuance, and in my mind any political conversation worth listening to involves nuance. So I decided to nuke every single Tweet in my timeline that mentioned the candidates.

The good news is, I didn't have to resign from Twitter to do this. I just used Twitterrific's little-known text filter feature, which is accessible only via the command-line (or via a handy secret-preference utility such as ). This feature uses the pattern-matching syntax used in the Unix utility grep--read more about or if you're curious, or buy Jeffrey E.F. Friedl's excellent book to become a true grep maven. But the good news is, you don't have to be a regular expression wizard to craft a basic Twitter text filter.