InstaGone: Using Filters with Tweetie for Mac

If, like me, you’re still using Tweetie for Mac despite it being terribly out of date and if, like me, you’re growing increasingly weary of the never ending flow of orange-tinted hipster Instagrams showing up in your timeline, here’s something that might help. In one of the last releases of Tweetie for Mac, before the company behind it was bought out by Twitter, the beginnings of a filtering system was added. No user interface to the functionality was ever built so it’s kind of a hidden feature, but with a little Terminal (s aapl) magic we can still use it to block what seems to be an ever increasing volume of noise in the Twitter stream.

Since there’s no way to set the filter terms from within the Tweetie preference pane we have to fire up the Terminal app and add them directly. What we’ll be doing is simply using the “defaults write” command to build an array of terms that Tweetie will use to filter out tweets that should otherwise be showing up in the timeline. There are four basic commands for managing the filter. All quoted terms are merely examples, so feel free to change them to whatever you’d like to hide in your Twitter stream:

  • Add a term to be filtered out: defaults write com.atebits.tweetie-mac filterTerms -array-add “”
  • Review the terms you have in place: defaults read com.atebits.tweetie-mac filterTerms
  • Delete all terms you’re using: delete com.atebits.tweetie-mac filterTerms
  • Define many terms at once: defaults write com.atebits.tweetie-mac filterTerms -array “” “” “”

Once you’ve defined the filter terms you want, just restart Tweetie for the changes to be implemented. Now, any posts that would normally show up in your timeline which contain those terms will instead be hidden from view. No more Foursquare, Gowalla, or Instagram. They’re all fine services I’m sure, but not everyone wants to see their links all the time.

This will also come in handy for blocking the latest #QuirkyMovieTitleMeme or for what I’m sure will become a deluge of links from the new Ping Twitter integration. Looking at the URLs used for the Ping links it seems like just adding “” to the array of terms should keep those Tweets at bay. Use that with some caution though, as that will also remove any non-shortened App Store links as well.

It’s a shame to have to jump through these hoops just to get a filter working. I suppose I could pick up one of the more up to date twitter clients for Mac but there’s just something about the usability of Tweetie that keeps me coming back. Hopefully we’ll see a Tweetie 2 for Mac come out soon that will make this kind of workaround unnecessary, but I won’t be holding my breath.

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