Twitter Back

Twitter Back is an application which will allows you to backup and restore the list of people you are following on Twitter. It came about from a comment by @rockyd who mentioned that Twitter was randomly removing people from friends lists. I'd heard this before from other sources so figured it wouldn't be too hard to write an app to grab the list of people you are following.

Mainly out of courtesy, I don't want to annoy people by unfollowing then following again, I haven't done a full test of dropping and restoring all my friends but from the partial tests I have done it seems to work ok.

This app probably won't be maintained much as it does what I want but if anyone sees any useful additions or spots any bugs feel free to let me know and I'll see what I can do.


download twitter back version 1


Twitter Back is written in ruby so you need ruby and the ruby twitter gem installed.

To install the twitter gem run

sudo gem install twitter

That should install the gem and any dependencies

Twitter Back needs to be executable, to set this run

chmod u+x twitter_back.rb


Twitter Back has 2 main commands, backup and restore. Backup grabs a copy of the list of people you are following and stores them in the specified file. Restore reverses this operation and re-follows everyone in the list you give it.

Something to watch out for here is that by default you only have a limited number of API hits per hour. The status command shows you how many you have used and when they will next be reset. At the moment the limit is 100 so if you try to restore over 100 people you will probably run up against the limit. If you do just chop the file down and run it over a number of hours.

If you are already following someone and try to follow them again it doesn't appear to affect the relationship so if you loose some friends you should be able to run the whole backup file through again without any problems. This is only from brief testing but seems to be the current position.

Usage: twitter_back [OPTION]
	--help, -h: show help
	--backup x, -b x: backup your friend list to the specified file
	--restore x, -r x: restore your friend list from the specified file
	--status, -s: report on the number of API hits you have remaining
	-v: verbose


As already mentioned, you have a maximum of 100 API hits per hour so if you want to restore a large following you will need to break the file down into small chunks.

If you find any bugs or want to report any problems you can contact me.

Ruby Doc

Twitter Back is commented up in Ruby Doc format.

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