Twitter is great for starting conversational threads by including @username in front of any tweet. If you recall from a previous post of mine, @ replies are not a built-in feature of Twitter. Rather, it’s a convention created by the masses. Therefore, Twitter’s support for @ replies is limited.
The Twitter web interface does include a “Replies” tab, which is a nice way to quickly see all replies directed towards you. Problem is, it often misses replies.
Only at the beginning
The “Replies” section of the web interface only includes messages that begin with “@username.” For example, in my case, anytime someone writes a tweet that starts with “@Matthom,” that tweet will show up under the “Replies” section.
But what about when someone includes “@Matthom” in the middle, or towards the end of their tweet? For example:
Going to see The Dark Knight. @Matthom, will let you know how it is.
This tweet will not show up under my “Replies” tab.
Not only that, but quite often people will unintentionally mis-spell my username, probably because they are twittering from a mobile device, where it’s harder to type accurately.
For example, this tweet will also not show up under my “Replies” tab:
@Mathom see you in a bit.
Notice my Twitter username is mis-spelled.
A great solution to both of these problems is to use search.twitter.com, formerly Summize.
search.twitter.com will show you real-time Twitter results for any search query. For my case, I set up a search for @ replies directed towards me. The results, however, include variations of my Twitter username:
The bottom two seem to be the most common mis-spellings of my username. With search.twitter.com, I can now pool together all of these tweets into one stream, so I will never again miss an @ reply that was mis-spelled.
It also searches the entire tweet for my keywords, so even if someone puts “@Matthom” at the end of their tweet, search.twitter.com will still catch it.