Monitor Twitter Lists with ListiMonkey

I have actually been using ListiMonkey for a few weeks, ever since I heard about it from Steve Rubel. First I loved it, then I hated it. After several e-mail conversations with the developers and some tweaks they’ve made to the tool I love it again. If you’re at all interested in trapping information via Twitter, I think you’ll love it too.

Have you ever tried to monitor Twitter via its search-results-as-RSS-feeds? It’s tough. For the kinds of keywords I’ve tried to use, I got a lot of spam. It got so I couldn’t use the feeds; they were too spammy.

Enter ListiMonkey at ListiMonkey allows you to specify a Twitter list, enter the keywords for which you want to monitor that list, and then specify an e-mail address to which you want to get the results, and how often you want to get the results (hourly or daily). (It’s possible to follow a list and get the all tweets generated by not specifying any keywords, but I don’t recommend that — you’ll get lots of e-mail with lots of tweets unless you choose your lists very very carefully.) That’s it. There’s no registration involved. You WILL have to confirm your e-mail for each alert, of course.

Now, if you monitor a Twitter list, you’re obviously not getting as much as you’d get if you were monitoring the entire Twitter stream. On the other hand, if someone gets added to a Twitter list it’s because someone ELSE thinks they post stuff that’s worth reading. And you’ll cut down the spam level to almost nothing. You’re getting useful results, in other words.

ListiMonkey does have about 250 Twitter lists available, but I think you’ll have more luck finding lists using the TweetDeck Directory at Once you’ve found a list you want to follow, the obvious next question is what kind of keywords do you want to monitor?

This is what was tough for me in figuring out how to use ListiMonkey, and it’s one thing that’s changed a lot thanks to the developers. I found a couple of lists where I just wanted to find out what kind of links people were putting out there. I didn’t necessarily want tweets without links. So my first keyword monitor on ListiMonkey was just http.

Naturally this found all tweets that had a URL in them, and none without. But it also found retweets, checkins using FourSquare/Gowalla, pictures people were posting, etc. I didn’t want any of that. (And making sure I didn’t get that was important, for two reasons: one I didn’t want to get drowned in e-mail alerts and two, ListiMonkey limits its monitors to 100/tweets per mail. If I didn’t filter as closely as I could I would miss stuff.)

Initially ListiMonkey did not allow me to do complex queries like that, where I specified one keyword that I was looking for and a bunch of keywords that I weren’t. But that has been added in. So I did a lot of experiments where I looked for links to resources but not to anything extraneous, and ended up with a ListiMonkey query with several keywords:

http -4sq -gowal -rt -twitpic

That gets me e-mails from ListiMonkey that are full of resource-y link goodness.

When you get an e-mail from ListiMonkey, it’ll look like this:

You’ll get the tweet, of course, with the author and avatar, timestamp, and option to retweet or reply to the tweet (of course you’ll have to be logged in to your Twitter account to do that.) The e-mail also has links to edit your alert or delete your alert if it’s not working out for you.

One thing you should know: ListiMonkey is tracking the clicks on the links in its e-mail. You might think you’re clicking on a link when actually you’re clicking on . Just a heads-up if you’re concerned about link tracking (I’m not.) If it really bothers you, you can always highlight the link in the tweet and then copy/paste it to your browser.

You can learn more about ListiMonkey via its FAQ. ListiMonkey was a small shop project, and while there’s no charge for the service the developer is accepting donations. I think they’ve put together a great tool here; if you agree with me how about slipping them a few bucks via the Donate tool on the FAQ page?

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