My favorite sites using the Twitter API

I’ve long been a fan of Twitter, and despite the many naysayers it has become an integral part of many peoples web existence. Since Twitter shares their API with developers, it opens up a whole world of mashups and sites that take advantage of the huge network that Twitter is accumulating. This subject has been covered by people before, but I thought it would be fun to share a few of my personal favorites.


The best search tool for Twitter that I’ve found. One of my biggest annoyances about Twitter is that the Replies tab only shows responses with your username as the first word in the tweet (e.g., “@veronica talks about her cats too much”) and not responses with the username any where else (e.g., “sick of hearing about @veronica’s cats”). Tweetscan solves this by finding any instance of the word. It’s also really helpful for tracking hashtags, like #sxsw.


Takes the Tweetscan idea one step further by tracking entire conversation threads. You can see the divergent paths as the topic morphs and changes, and you can also see where comments of yours fit in with conversations already in progress. A new site on the scene, but one of the most useful.


This would be insanely helpful to me if I had a car. Alas, I do not, but I think this site kills two birds with one stone: you get instant traffic info, as well as the ability to vent your gridlocked frustrations.


Too lazy to read the news? You can read the outrage and support for the candidates here. Clicking on the individual candidates names will show you other ways to follow them online (i.e., Flickr, Facebook, MySpace) as well as their most recent tweets.


I’m not entirely sure how much of the Twitter API Ze Frank is using, but it’s gotta be worked in there somehow! When I first heard of Colorwars, I was not impressed. However, once I set aside my childhood fears of being chosen last for everything, I realized that it was a fun and interactive way to use Twitter. Not only that, Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV promised us presents if we joined veryGreenTeam.

Of course, there are many others that are fun but don’t really have much purpose other than to be entertaining: TwitterVision, TwitterPoster and Twitterholic come to mind. Tweetmeme is another one that has potential, but it almost always features non-English tweets, which makes it difficult for my monolingual brain.

Do you have any personal favorites that I missed? For a huge list of other sites and for more API info, head over to the Twitter Fan Wiki.

19 thoughts on “My favorite sites using the Twitter API

  1. TweetScan is far and above my favorite Twitter tool. I have several automatic searches configured that email me every morning with a collection of every tweet from the previous day that included any of my search words.
    Truly handy and helpful!!!

  2. @Todd – I mention hashtags. I’ll change the link, if you think that would be better!

    @Dave Joyce – Ah ha! I forgot about Strawpoll. Good one.

  3. There are about a million different trend tracking sites using the API… Why don’t any of them make the list?

    I use right now, but I’m sure there are better. Convenient for catching hot links early. does suck, but only because the tag cloud is dominated by common words. If someone build a cloud mapping app that excluded overly-common words (like “I” “day” “blog” etc.) and then mapped 2 word phrases, THAT would be neat.

  4. @derek – Pulse didn’t make the list because I’ve never heard of it. And Twitterverse isn’t there because I think it’s pretty useless, for the reasons you stated above. Great name, though!

  5. Great choices!

    Regarding hashtags, am I the only one who thinks it just clutters up Twitter (and minimizing the number of characters you have left in a tweet)? :(

  6. It’s amazing how twitter is still afloat in this IM/SMS world. When the nuance of Pownce, Jaiku and even Facebook Chat gets old, Twitter stays fresh! And Now adding Twitter to Friend Feed opens even more doors! Most of the info I appreciated on FF came from Twitter… Isn’t that ironic?

  7. Dvorak’s article was funny, but it was also true. Twitter is more or less a personal Post-It system that 100% of people can access and .0001% of people can or will care about or appreciate.

    Twitter seems most useful as a sort of mini-journal for jotting down random points of interest or fleeting thoughts, noting something to follow up on later (perhaps a social event of some nature), or, as is so often the case, rambling, as one would do in a bona fide journal.

    I think many folk this day and age don’t appreciate the catharsis that writing in a journal can provide. Journal-use amounts to talking to oneself, really, albeit through a pen or keyboard. Writing or typing out one’s thoughts does tend to elucidate feelings & clarify one’s perceptions more readily than simply mulling them over in the mind (writers will understand this very easily).

    So, you have my conclusion — all these people latching onto Twitter love it so much because it’s a sort of journaling system (they also like the social aspect, sure, but that’s another argument). It’s an outlet for mind-junk that would otherwise fade into dissolution. It’s valuable in that one aspect in and of itself, let alone the social features many folk tend to focus on.

  8. You don’t need a car to use Commuter Feed! We get lots of subway, train & bus reports too…

    Thanks for the writeup!

    PS: definitely should look into TweetPeek..

  9. Commuter Feed is a good idea, but the fact that you can’t receive messages dedicated to only your own specific city kind of kills it for me.

    If you were able to set it up so that you’d be getting texts from people telling you where traffic is so that you could avoid it it would be great. But as it is, if you activate mobile messaging from the account you’ll just get bombarded with messages about traffic from all over the world. Not as practical.

    I guess being able to check it online before you leave work is kind of useful. *shrug*

Leave a Reply