This doc shows you how to get started in a few simple steps.

  1. Go to the Happy Friends web page.

  2. In the right corner of the menu bar, you'll see a blue Twitter icon say says Sign on here. Click, a menu drops down. Choose the last command, Sign on Twitter.

  3. You're transported to Twitter, where you can give Happy Friends permission to access your account. It won't post on your behalf or read any private messages. You're just giving the app permission to ask Twitter, on your behalf, for the updates of the users you specify.

  4. When you come back, the first thing to do is to give Happy Friends a few people to watch. To do that, choose Add Friend in the Friends menu. Enter the Twitter handle of a user, and click OK.

  5. If you want to add a few people quickly, choose Add Suggested Friends from the Friends menu.

  6. When you want to see what's new, double-click on any of the friends to see their most recent tweets.

  7. When you put your cursor on a tweet, the full Twitter rendering of the tweet appears in the right margin, with pictures, videos, cards.

  8. There are icons in the left margin of the page

  9. When a name goes bold, that means there are new items underneath it. Happy Friends is checking periodically to see if there are updates.

At the simplest level, that's all there is to Happy Friends. But you can do much more with it.

The icons

Here's a screen shot of the Happy Friends app taken on shipping day. You'll see a set of icons in the left margin. Some will be familiar, the recycle symbol for Retweet, the left arrow for Reply, the star for Favorite.

The first icon, an up-pointing arrow in a circle will archive the tweet you're pointing at. It moves it from its current location to a calendar structure it creates at the top of the outline. When you see a tweet that you want to keep, you should archive it.

The last icon, the eye, takes you to the Twitter website to view whatever the cursor is pointing at. If it's pointing at a person, you go to the person's profile page. If it's pointing at a tweet, you go to the tweet in its full context, on

It's an outliner

You can organize it any way you want. The people don't have to be at the top level. You can create groups of friends. You can move the archive to the bottom of the outline. Outliners are tools for editing organization. This is the same outliner as in Fargo so it's a pretty good one, and is fairly complete.

We have an outliner how-to document that gives the basics of how the outliner works.

If you forget any of the commands, choose the Outliner Cribsheet from the Docs menu in Happy Friends.

Delete tweets when you've read them

It's a good idea to keep the lists under each person short. Archive the ones you want to keep around.

Where do we go from here?

Lots of places. That depends on the response to the product. I'll be listening carefully and watching what people do with it. I've really enjoyed making htis product. I hope you like using it!


06/24/14; 06:02:18 PM

This is a place to post questions about Happy Friends.

06/24/14; 04:32:03 PM

Here's the story of how Happy Friends came to be.

  1. I was thinking about mailbox-style readers. I want to do one for River4.

  2. Then I realized: Twitter is a river too.

  3. Wouldn't it be nice to have a mailbox-type reader for Twitter?

  4. It would! It turns out. Screen shot.

  5. Opens up a new way of using Twitter.

  6. For example, I want to follow @pmarca, but I often miss his tweets in the gushing river that is Twitter.

  7. So I made a box for him. I created it by choosing Add Friend from the Friends menu. I entered pmarca and clicked OK. His name, Marc Andreessen appears in my list of people I'm watching.

  8. When he posts something new, his mailbox headline goes bold. I expand it to reveal the new items. If it was already expanded, I collapse and re-expand. This avoids the (I feel) ugly effect of the thing I'm reading scrolling off the screen because something new had been posted.

  9. I get all his tweetstorms. I'm happy.

  10. I also added @FisolaNYDN, a sports reporter for the NY Daily News. He doesn't tweet that often but when he does, it's often news. He has sources inside the Knicks and he probably talks directly to Carmelo Anthony's agent. So Isola is a guy I want to keep tabs on.

  11. I added @karaswisher, a great tech reporter who doesn't post that often to Twitter. But when she does I want to see it. She's the perfect kind of person to put into your Happy Friends list.

  12. I know you're probably thinking this is like lists, and it is, a little -- but Happy Friends are not rivers, they're mailboxes. It's a fully-editable outliner. I can see the tweets as Twitter intended them, which is super nice because you get the pictures, and movies, and all the good shit. You get to see that by clicking on the headline. The Twitter display automatically refreshes. Plus I think there's a chance the Twitter management will love this because it makes Twitter fresh and new, yet respects the tried and true.

  13. Because it's an outliner, you can put the people anywhere you like. You can copy tweets and create new outlines out of them. Think of it as having an outliner to do what Storify does. It's the outliner from Fargo. So it's a pretty good one.

06/24/14; 08:23:54 AM

Last built: Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 4:40 PM

By Dave Winer, Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM.