TwitReport takes the email that Twitter sends you when someone follows you and turns it into something more useful.
What does TwitReport tell me?
This is what TwitReport tells you about the new follower:
Full name (if given)
Bio, Location, URL (if given)
How many people they follow
How many people they are followed by
Total # of Favorites
When they joined Twitter
Total # of posts
Percentage of @Replies
Average posts per day
20 most recent posts (and a link to more if they have more than 20)
What sets TwitReport apart are the “Relationship Reports”:
Who do I follow who follows this new person?
Who do I follow who this person also follows?
Who follows both me and this new person?
You also get links to:
* Follow them
* Send them a DM
* Block them
* See a larger version of their picture
You can also, if you choose, get a DM with basic stats information when someone follows you. (You control whether these DMs are sent or not. See below.)
Compared to TwiMailer
TwiMailer recently launched with a much better PR campaign than TwitReport.
It actually does less than TwitReport does, as far as I can tell, with one exception: TwiMailer gives you a link to follow someone right in the email. TwitReports give you a link to the the new follower’s Twitter page and you have to click that, and then click follow.
TwiMailer does not give the “Relationships” information, nor does it make it easy to use with multiple Twitter accounts. It also does not offer “Block” links (something I assume will change soon).
Oh, and you don’t have to change your email address in Twitter.
TwitMailer and TwitReports are not competitors
I have no financial stake in TwitReport, just hours spent.
If TwiMailer would include all the TwitReport information, I would happily suspend development.
Ideally, though, this ought to be what Twitter is providing.
So How Do I Use It?
Couple of options:
When you get a “New Follower” email (like the one shown above), simply forward it to twitreport AT tntluoma DOT com. The only important thing is that you Do Not Change The Subject Line (adding a FWD: or FW: at the beginning is not a problem). [Update 2009-02-15: See note below under ‘Auto DMs of New Followers’]
Send a blank email to the above address with the Subject: twitreport foobar (where “foobar” is the Twittername you want to get a report for). This is helpful if you just want to check someone’s information even if they don’t follow you.
Setup an automatic forwarding rule in your mail program.
That last option is by far the slickest, and it’s what I do.
If you use GMail, all you need to do is setup a filter with the following criteria:
Subject: is now following you on twitter!
which should look like this:
and then click Next Step
Check “Skip the Inbox (Archive it) [Note: this is recommended but not strictly required. IMO it just makes sense to ignore the official email because the new one should arrive in a minute or two]
Forward it to (the above address, shown in the image)
Click “Update Filter”
Note: Gmail will not forward email that you have already received, so don’t ask.
A Note About Forwarding
Apple’s Mail program (and others) will let you create a “rule” to forward automatically, but it does not maintain the original Twitter headers, so you will not get the Relationship Reports.
Auto DMs of New Followers
@brookr on Twitter came up with a very cool idea. He asked if it would be possible to get a Direct Message (DM) whenever someone new starts following you.
Turns out this is possible, but there are very specific criteria:
You must be following @twitreport. The DMs will come from that account. It is a very low volume account which generally only gets very sporadic posts when I am tinkering with the scripts. Which I don’t expect to do very often.
You must be forwarding the New Follower Emails automatically. The way Gmail does it works, I don’t know about other methods. They must keep the ‘X-Twitterrecipientscreenname’ header intact.
What info is included in the DM? Currently it includes their Full Name (if given), Followers/Following/# of Posts, how many days since they joined twitter, and their Bio. Oh, and if their updates are ‘Protected’ it will tell you that. (Subject to change. Have a suggestion? Leave a comment below.)
Q: What if I want to follow @twitreport but don’t want the DMs?
Simple: change your email filter which sends the New Follower Emails so that it forwards to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ instead of ‘email@example.com’
otherwise the rest of this is pretty much useless!
There is an @twitreport account too, but you can leave comments, ideas, etc here too.
Version 1: Nov 2008
Based entirely on web scraping using ‘lynx’ and several commandline Unix tools
Version 2: Early Feb 2009
Begun to use API calls for most information. More information now available and less error-prone.
Version 3: 2009-02-15
* Notification emails now include the new follower’s Twitter Icon. If you’re anything like me, you may recognize people more by their icon than their name.
* Direct Messages now supported for new followers