Latest Twitter Hacks

I’ve started using specialized search feeds and a secondary account to keep up with valued information.

For those who don’t know, I use twitter to tell other people what I up to, and to track what my friends are up to. Lately, the scope of people who I am interested in following has grown very large, to the point that twitter has become like an IRC channel. Needless to say (at least it seems needless to me) I don’t keep up with everything everyone says.

But I do utilize a few hacks to make sure I don’t miss anything I really want to see.

Search Feeds

Twitter automatically tracks anytime someone begins a tweet [message/post/update] with “@dydimustk”, but will ignore “@dydimustk” anywhere else in the tweet, and it doesn’t even try to track “dydimustk”. So I went to terraminds.com, searched for dydimustk (note the lack of an @), and subscribed to the RSS feed.

I’ve also done this for a few other words or phrases that I want to keep track of: olpc, xo, emacs, benedictine, eln, TwinCities, weknow, lifecamp. Since terraminds is a little generous in it’s search algorithm, I search for some other words using tweet scan, which is more literal. I track “coworking” in tweet scan, because terraminds will include co-working, coworkers, and coworker in its results.

Secondary Account

I follow many people in twitter who I do not know personally, or have had very few interactions with. But I still consider them friends because they share common interests with me, and teach me new things everyday. I also use twitter to stay in touch with close friends and family (who, of course, teach me new things everyday as well), but can quickly get lost in all the noise. So I created a secondary twitter account to follow only my close personal friends, and a few people who I want to follow closely (and would hope to call a close personal friend someday). Twitter gives you two rss feeds for your account: your posts, and your posts with friends. I subscribe to the “[user] and friends” feed from that account, which gives me peace of mind that I’m not missing any of my friends tweets.

Better DM

Twitter already allows me to have direct messages sent to my mobile phone. And while it also allows me to track my own name, I can’t get those w/out turning on messages from everyone I’m following and everything I’m tracking. There are times that I want to turn on updates to my cell phone, but they are usually brief; I’ll turn them on when I’m going to be away from the computer for a while, but still want to follow through on a conversation that was started.

So, I’ve had to hack my own solution. I use Aaron Swartz’ rss2email to pipe a feed of a terraminds search for “dydimustk” to my cell phone’s email address. Now, anytime someone mentions my username anywhere in a tweet, with or without an @, I’ll be notified.

Do you have any twitter hacks that help you keep track of conversations you don’t want to miss?