Blog Post

How to Monitor Real-Time Information on Twitter

In earlier posts, I provided some tips for improving your Twitter efficiency and mining Twitter for information. While both of these provide useful ways to utilize Twitter, you also need to be prepared to respond to other people quickly. Twitter is a short-attention-span medium, where tweets that are minutes old may already be obsolete. You don’t want to skip over any important information or miss the chance to respond. Here are my top three real-time monitoring tools for Twitter.

Don’t Underestimate Twitter Search

For simple monitoring, this is the way to go. If you only want to monitor a single keyword or a small number of keywords, you can easily use the built-in Twitter search in your web browser. You can even use a fairly complex set of search operators to construct great searches. It updates frequently and lets you know how many new items have arrived since your last refresh. It also displays the number of new items right in the browser tab to make it easy to notice without paying much attention to the page.  Sometimes you just can’t beat simple and unobtrusive.

Twitter Search Monitoring

My Favorite Real-time Twitter Monitoring Tool: TweetDeck

TweetDeck runs as a desktop application with Growl notifications that alert me when something important happens. You set up columns with all of your followers, groups of followers, @replies, direct messages, custom searches, trending topics and more. I have my TweetDeck set up with several custom searches that look for my name and organizations or projects with which I’m involved. These searches generate alerts whenever someone posts something new on Twitter that matches my search criteria. The searches are similar to what you would find on Twitter search, and you can use Twitter’s advanced search operators for more complex searches. The biggest limitation is that TweetDeck can only use 10 columns, so I occasionally find myself bumping up against the limit when I try to add another search column for a new project.


Browser-based Twitter Monitoring: Monitter

Monitter certainly looks better than many of the similar browser-based online monitoring applications for Twitter (TweetGrid, for example). It works much like Tweetdeck. You add a column for every search and can add complex searches using the Twitter advanced search operators. Monitter can also use more than 10 columns. I haven’t bumped up against the limit, but there might be an upper limit to the number of columns. The downside is that it seems to be a little slow to update, and at times I’ve had it freeze up, leaving me waiting for new information.

Monitter Twitter Monitoring

Regardless of which tool you select, make sure to take advantage of the advanced search operators that Twitter supports. There are some cool options, including negative/positive attitudes, posts with links, posts asking a question, and much more.

What are your favorite real-time monitoring tools for Twitter?

20 Responses to “How to Monitor Real-Time Information on Twitter”

  1. Big fan of TweetBeep. It will monitor twitter for your brand, keywords, or URL (including shortended URLs) and email you daily, weekly or in real time when any of those terms get mentioned.

    I’m in no way associated with TweetBeep, just like their product, a lot.

  2. Adeel Ahmad gives you Twitter search results side-by-side with Google search results. Which is awesome if you’re looking for what people are talking about and sharing now, with links to deeper information from Google.