The CLI takes syntactic cues from the Twitter SMS commands, but it offers vastly more commands and capabilities than are available via SMS.

Code Quality Rank: L4
Monthly Downloads: 1,913
Programming language: Ruby
License: MIT License
Tags: Third-party APIs     Projects    
Latest version: v3.1.0

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Twitter CLI

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A command-line power tool for Twitter.

The CLI takes syntactic cues from the Twitter SMS commands, but it offers vastly more commands and capabilities than are available via SMS.


First, make sure you have Ruby installed.

On a Mac, open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app and type:

ruby -v

If the output looks something like this, you're in good shape:

ruby 2.3.1p112 (2016-04-26 revision 54768) [x86_64-darwin15]

If the output looks more like this, you need to install Ruby:

ruby: command not found

On Linux, for Debian-based systems, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install ruby-dev

or for Red Hat-based distros like Fedora and CentOS, type:

sudo yum install ruby-devel

(if necessary, adapt for your package manager)

On Windows, you can install Ruby with RubyInstaller.


Once you've verified that Ruby is installed:

gem install t


Twitter API v1.1 requires OAuth for all of its functionality, so you'll need a registered Twitter application. If you've never registered a Twitter application before, it's easy! Just sign-in using your Twitter account and then fill out the short form at https://apps.twitter.com/app/new. If you've previously registered a Twitter application, it should be listed at https://apps.twitter.com/. Once you've registered an application, make sure to set your application's Access Level to "Read, Write and Access direct messages", otherwise you'll receive an error that looks like this:

Error processing your OAuth request: Read-only application cannot POST

A mobile phone number must be associated with your account in order to obtain write privileges. If your carrier is not supported by Twitter and you are unable to add a number, contact Twitter using https://support.twitter.com/forms/platform, selecting the last checkbox. Some users have reported success adding their number using the mobile site, https://mobile.twitter.com/settings, which seems to bypass the carrier check at the moment.

Now, you're ready to authorize a Twitter account with your application. To proceed, type the following command at the prompt and follow the instructions:

t authorize

This command will direct you to a URL where you can sign-in to Twitter, authorize the application, and then enter the returned PIN back into the terminal. If you type the PIN correctly, you should now be authorized to use t as that user. To authorize multiple accounts, simply repeat the last step, signing into Twitter as a different user.

NOTE: If you have problems authorizing multiple accounts, open a new window in your browser in incognito/private-browsing mode and repeat the t authorize steps. This is apparently due to a bug in twitter's cookie handling.

You can see a list of all the accounts you've authorized by typing the command:

t accounts

The output of which will be structured like this:

  thG9EfWoADtIr6NjbL9ON (active)

Note: One of your authorized accounts (specifically, the last one authorized) will be set as active. To change the active account, use the set subcommand, passing either just a username, if it's unambiguous, or a username and consumer key pair, like this:

t set active sferik UDfNTpOz5ZDG4a6w7dIWj

Account information is stored in a YAML-formatted file located at ~/.trc.

Note: Anyone with access to this file can impersonate you on Twitter, so it's important to keep it secure, just as you would treat your SSH private key. For this reason, the file is hidden and has the permission bits set to 0600.

Usage Examples

Typing t help will list all the available commands. You can type t help TASK to get help for a specific command.

t help
Update your status
t update "I'm tweeting from the command line. Isn't that special?"

Note: If your tweet includes special characters (e.g. !), make sure to wrap it in single quotes instead of double quotes, so those characters are not interpreted by your shell. If you use single quotes, your Tweet obviously can't contain any apostrophes unless you prefix them with a backslash \:

t update 'I\'m tweeting from the command line. Isn\'t that special?'
Retrieve detailed information about a Twitter user
t whois @sferik
Retrieve stats for multiple users
t users -l @sferik @gem
Follow users
t follow @sferik @gem
Check whether one user follows another
t does_follow @ev @sferik

Note: If the first user does not follow the second, t will exit with a non-zero exit code. This allows you to execute commands conditionally. For example, here's how to send a user a direct message only if they already follow you:

t does_follow @ev && t dm @ev "What's up, bro?"
Create a list for everyone you're following
t list create following-`date "+%Y-%m-%d"`
Add everyone you're following to that list (up to 500 users)
t followings | xargs t list add following-`date "+%Y-%m-%d"`
List all the members of a list, in long format
t list members -l following-`date "+%Y-%m-%d"`
List all your lists, in long format
t lists -l
List all your friends, in long format, ordered by number of followers
t friends -l --sort=followers
List all your leaders (people you follow who don't follow you back)
t leaders -l --sort=followers
Mute everyone you follow
t followings | xargs t mute
Unfollow everyone you follow who doesn't follow you back
t leaders | xargs t unfollow
Unfollow 10 people who haven't tweeted in the longest time
t followings -l --sort=tweeted | head -10 | awk '{print $1}' | xargs t unfollow -i
Twitter roulette: randomly follow someone who follows you (who you don't already follow)
t groupies | shuf | head -1 | xargs t follow
Favorite the last 10 tweets that mention you
t mentions -n 10 -l | awk '{print $1}' | xargs t favorite
Output the last 200 tweets in your timeline to a CSV file
t timeline -n 200 --csv > timeline.csv
Start streaming your timeline (Control-C to stop)
t stream timeline
Count the number of official Twitter engineering accounts
t list members twitter/engineering | wc -l
Search Twitter for the 20 most recent Tweets that match a specified query
t search all "query"
Download the latest Linux kernel via BitTorrent (possibly NSFW, depending on where you work)
t search all "lang:en filter:links linux torrent" -n 1 | grep -o "http://t.co/[0-9A-Za-z]*" | xargs open
Search Tweets you've favorited that match a specified query
t search favorites "query"
Search Tweets mentioning you that match a specified query
t search mentions "query"
Search Tweets you've retweeted that match a specified query
t search retweets "query"
Search Tweets in your home timeline that match a specified query
t search timeline "query"

Note: In Twitter API parlance, your “home timeline” is your “Newsfeed” whereas your “user timeline” are the tweets tweeted (and retweeted) by you.

Search Tweets in a specified user’s timeline
t search timeline @sferik "query"


  • Deep search: Instead of using the Twitter Search API, which only goes back 6-9 days, t search fetches up to 3,200 tweets via the REST API and then checks each one against a regular expression.
  • Multi-threaded: Whenever possible, Twitter API requests are made in parallel, resulting in faster performance for bulk operations.
  • Designed for Unix: Output is designed to be piped to other Unix utilities, like grep, comm, cut, awk, bc, wc, and xargs for advanced text processing.
  • Generate spreadsheets: Convert the output of any command to CSV format simply by adding the --csv flag.
  • 95% C0 Code Coverage: Well tested, with a 2.5:1 test-to-code ratio.

Using T for Backup

@jphpsf wrote a blog post explaining how to use t to backup your Twitter account.

t was also mentioned on an episode of the Ruby 5 podcast.

t was also discussed on an episode of the Ruby Rogues podcast.

If you discuss t in a blog post or podcast, let me know and I'll link it here.

Relationship Terminology

There is some ambiguity in the terminology used to describe relationships on Twitter. For example, some people use the term "friends" to mean everyone you follow. In t, "friends" refers to just the subset of people who follow you back (i.e., friendship is bidirectional). Here is the full table of terminology used by t:

                          |                         |                         |
                          |     YOU FOLLOW THEM     |  YOU DON'T FOLLOW THEM  |
|                         |                         |                         |                         |
|     THEY FOLLOW YOU     |         friends         |        groupies         |        followers        |
|                         |                         |
|  THEY DON'T FOLLOW YOU  |         leaders         |
                          |                         |
                          |       followings        |


Timeline List

Shell completion

If you're running Zsh or Bash, you can source one of the bundled completion files to get shell completion for t commands, subcommands, and flags.

Don't run Zsh or Bash? Why not contribute completion support for your favorite shell?


The twitter gem previously contained a command-line interface, up until version 0.5.0, when it was removed. This project is offered as a successor to that effort, however it is a clean room implementation that contains none of the original code.


Supported Ruby Versions

This library aims to support and is tested against the following Ruby implementations:

  • Ruby 2.4
  • Ruby 2.5
  • Ruby 2.6
  • Ruby 2.7

If something doesn't work on one of these Ruby versions, it's a bug.

This library may inadvertently work (or seem to work) on other Ruby implementations, however support will only be provided for the versions listed above.

If you would like this library to support another Ruby version, you may volunteer to be a maintainer. Being a maintainer entails making sure all tests run and pass on that implementation. When something breaks on your implementation, you will be responsible for providing patches in a timely fashion. If critical issues for a particular implementation exist at the time of a major release, support for that Ruby version may be dropped.


If you are running t on a remote computer you can use the flag --display-uri during authorize process to display the url instead of opening the web browser.

t authorize --display-uri


Copyright (c) 2011-2020 Erik Berlin. See LICENSE for details. Application icon by @nvk.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the t README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.