Emacs GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

5 ways to promote and Open Microblogging over Twitter

On the Free Software Foundation Latinamerica mailing list, there’s been a discussion about supporting and open microblogging and encourage quitting using twitter by setting the example.

The topic about closed network services and its risks is a very important issue that I will cover on a later post with detail or you can read more about it on the website. The following is an english translation of what I posted on the mailing list and I got a request to post it here on my blog. You can read the original email if you read Spanish.

About the discussions generated around the question of weather to use or not Twitter to support and Open Microblogging, I’ll explain some of the ways I’ve been promoting the use of for about a year.

  1. Word of mouth: As part of the free and open source community in Mexico, I get invited to give talks on several events. On my presentations and the material handed out, I always put on the first place and as a secondary link I put my twitter url, and sometimes I omit the second one. And when I talk about this little piece of information I always tell them the clear message: “use instead of Twitter” and I go ahead and talk about’s benefits and advantages. Being on a mass forum I think the message does get across to more than one.
  2. Start with your close ones: When meeting with my friends, collegues or other FLOSS enthusiast (and my girlfriend) I always mention and sometimes “insist” that they use for microblogging, and most of them have done so.
  3. Be positive and pragmaticWhen I mention (laconica) not only do I mention it because its free software, because many don’t care about the freedom issues. I mention the technical advantages it offers like:
    • The XMPP (Jabber) client that Twitter took down and has always offered
    • At the times where Twitter was famous for its downtimes, has been (and still is) very stable
    • Very recently Twitter integrated search, when has had it for a long time
    • has integrated groups and tags, where Twitter has some partial support for tags and no groups yet
    • The groups feature is the one very appealing. Since many use microblogging to ask open questions and expect to recieve answers, if you don’t have a large list of followers from that specific topic you’re asking about, its very improbable that your question gets answered or even heard (read actually). On this gets solved with groups: you send a message to a group or mark it with a tag and all of the people interested in that topic will get the message and most of the time you’ll get answers in seconds. This has worked for me a lot!
    • The fact that you can install your own instance on your server and follow anyone on any other instance of laconica. This way you are not tied up to a single provider and you have total control over your data.
  4. Set examples: I implemented a instance at my previous job for internal communication. Everyone got to see the advantages and features of and some even created accounts on Others just followed people on from the company’s account. This happened because they wanted better communication on the projects progress and were considering using Twitter. I mentioned that it was not a good idea to put internal communication on a third party server and that we could have “our own internal twitter” with free software and it got authorized.
  5. Contribute Lastly, instead of asking, wishing or whining about ways to post or update my microblogging acount, I decided to create the Emacs identica-mode, a way to view timelines and update from Emacs, my favorite application. Identica-mode has had good response from users and it now has more features than the original twittering-mode from which I forked the code. By the way, if you know elisp I could use your help to implement some features like: expand shortened urls to see where they lead (for security), see image links (twitpic, yfrogg, flickr) inline in the timeline list and many more
  6. I hope this could help as examples to promote open microblogging without having “religious” debates with people who do not, and will not, care about the freedom implications of proprietary (closed) network services. This arguments have worked for me to “convert” many to

    For the ones interested in free/libre network services you can read more about the topic at

Emacs GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source mode for Emacs logo is a free software microblogging service, similar to Twitter, based on the code base. I recently needed to update my status from Emacs, since its faster for me and easier. I’ve been using an an Emacs mode to update my Twitter account, but there was nothing to use for my account. And seeing there’s a Vim plugin, I thought someone, like me, needed an Emacs mode too.

So I forked the original twittering-mode to use it with the platform, using its Twitter compatible api.

System Requirements

  • GNU Emacs 22 or later
  • Linux, Mac OS X, BSD or any Unix based OS (requires wget)


Download the latest stable release of Emacs Identica-mode

Or get the latest development code from the Git repository at


Copy the identica-mode.el file to your Emacs elisp files directory (.emacs.d/ in Ubuntu)
Then add the following to your .emacs (or your preferred customizations file)

;;; mode
(require 'identica-mode)
(setq identica-username "yourusername")

If you want to authenticate using simple authentication, create a file ~/.authinfo with the following contents:

machine servername login yourusername password yourpassword

Replace servername with your server (if connecting to Identica service, use as server name), yourusername and yourpassword with your information.

You can also authenticate using OAuth, specially if you log in with an OpenID account which has no password. To use OAuth authentication (requires using oauth.el), add the following to your .emacs file:

(setq identica-auth-mode "oauth")

If you want to post from the minibufer without having identica buffer active, add the following global keybinding. Add this to send status updates

(global-set-key "\C-cip" 'identica-update-status-interactive)

Add this to send direct messages

(global-set-key "\C-cid" 'identica-direct-message-interactive)


To start identica mode type:

M-x identica-mode

the buffer ‘*identica*’ will appear and you can see your friends timeline.

Press the “i” key to toggle icon mode to see user pictures.

Identica Emacs mode

To view your replies timeline

C-c C-r

To view the public timeline

C-c C-a

To view your friends timeline (the default timeline)

C-c C-f

To view a user’s timeline

C-c C-u

To view a group’s timeline

C-c C-g

To view a tag’s timeline

C-c C-t

To refresh the buffer’s timeline press “g”.

To post an update of your status, press

C-c C-s

type your message in the minibuffer, and hit Enter. You will see ‘Success: Post’ in minibuffer.

Identica mode for Emacs - Update status

To send a direct message to a user, press

C-c C-d

On the minibuffer, you will be prompted for the username, then for the message.

To repeat (re-dent) a message, press


while the cursor is on the message’s line.

To favor a message, press the “F” key (shift f) while the cursor is on the message’s line.

Additionally, you while typing your message you can press <F4> key while the cursor is over a URL to shorten it using any of the following URL shortening services:, TightURL,, TinyURL, and To expand an short url in your timeline, position your cursor over the short url and press ‘e’ key, it will be replaced with the expanded version in a few seconds.

Hope it can be of use for anyone using Emacs for almost everything, like I try to do, and would like to hear some feedback.


If you have any ideas for features, patches or bug fixes, please add them to the identica-mode bug tracking list.

You can also help out if you’ve liked Emacs identica-mode and have some spare change. It would be great to support this project by making any kind of donation on the “tip jar” in appreciation of the hours invested on its development and improvement.


Apple’s WWDC Keynote effect

It is incredible the effect that Steve Job’s announcements have on the internets
tubez. The keynote is starting and there’s a lot of speculation about Twitter
coming down to its knees. Well… so far I can still access twitter.

There’s a lot of links where to get live updates:

But I prefer the IRC channel on, channel #macrumors where
I’m getting the latest and fastest updates on the keynote.

No, I’m not an Apple fanboy. I don’t have any Macs or ever had one. But I love
to be updated with the latest in technology. And like it or not, every Apple
announcement kinda changes the world.

Hope to see something like that happening with free software related news someday.


I’m on twitter


I tried to resist the twitter thing, but I just kept hearing about it and my curiosity won. I’m now on twitter:

I don’t know much about how it works or why it’s cool, so any tips are appreciated.