Tracking Keywords in Twitter

Tracking the occurrence of keywords in twitter through one of the automated tools is a quick way to add value to your experience.

Brands often use this approach to track mentions of their products and companies, developers can use it to track mentions of their favorite languages, frameworks, and open source projects, and anyone can use it to track mentions of their hometown, their own twitter username (to make sure you don’t miss any @replies).

TweetScan is one of several services offering email alerts based on keywords
TweetScan is one of several services offering email alerts based on keywords

Personally, I’ve been using TweetScan to track these terms I’m interested in:

  1. Optaros
  2. open source
  3. Newburyport
  4. vegan
  5. jeckman

To avoid the “stalker effect” I don’t immediately reach out and @reply to anyone who mentions any of these terms, though I do often follow them to see if it is a common part of their conversation, which would suggest I might be interested in their stream.

Unfortunately, as the folks behind Tweetscan recently announced, they’re going to start charging for this service:

Tweet Scan is due for some improvements and the volume of queries and emails we’re handling isn’t sustainable on a hobby budget. So we’re going to start requiring a small annual payment to keep an account with us.

Please use the subscribe link below and let’s take this site to the next level! It’s $15 per year if you sign up by April 22nd. After that it’ll be $20 per year.

I can certainly understand the need to monetize an application that becomes popular and starts to generate a high volume of usage, but I’m not yet ready to pay for an account for personal use, so I found a few alternatives. (Note Tweetscan can also enable you to download you tweets since December 2007, and can be used as a live Twitter search engine).


TweetBeep also sends email alerts based on the mention of specific keywords in Twitter, and can track specific URLs, whether they have been url shortened or not. TweetBeep lets you set frequency of alerts as well.

(It seems, though I haven’t verified this yet in practice, that the alerts based on domains – so an alert set for any reference to or, for example – can’t be scheduled into hourly/daily as keyword alerts can, but are set to “live” – which may mean immediate? This might be an issue if you have a domain frequently referenced in Twitter streams.)


TweetLater, which is most well known for its “schedule a tweet for posting at a later time” feature, also provides a feature they describe as “Track keywords on Twitter” as part of their free account. They also provide other features:

  • Auto DM to new followers (which I find frankly annoying)
  • Automated following of folks who follow you (which I don’t do, but is not annoying)
  • Automated unfollowing of those who unfollow you (hmm, that might be interesting)
  • Vet new followers (this one I haven’t tried yet – not quite clear to me what it is except perhaps an easier way to act on new followers – follow, ignore, or block – rather than the one at a time approach twitter offers)

TweetLater also offers a professional / premium account for $29.97 a month which adds other features and is worth checking out for serious users.

What tools are you using to monitor the twittersphere?


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