Twitter Followers Monitor

Warnings and Know Limitations

To be able to keep track of any Twitter account even if it's not yours and you don't have its security credentials, this app makes extensive use of the anonymous Twitter API.

Apps using this API anonymously are limited to a maximum of 150 calls per hour.

This limitation affects the things you can do with the Twitter Followers Monitor, and essentially these are the limitations you, as a user, will have:

· Maximum 500,000 followers:

I've estimated that the maximum number of followers that can be monitored with this app without reaching the API limit under an hour is half a million.

This refers to the added followers of all your monitored accounts.

This is just an arbitrary limit, and it will really depend on the rate of changes your monitored accounts have. For example, if you're monitoring an account with just a couple of thousand of followers and suddenly lots of them get added (or lost) then it is easy to reach the API limit quickly. In that case you must wait until the next API reset.

This app is intended to be used with relatively small accounts in the order of thousands or tens of thousands of followers. So, Lady Gaga, no luck this time! ;-)

· Maximum 20 accounts:

Each individual monitored account forces at least one call to the Twitter API, so I've artificially set up a limit of 20 accounts to be monitored as a maximum. Chances are that if you're monitoring more than 10 you will reach the API limit quickly, even if their followers don't add up to 500,000. So take this into account when setting up the list.

· Just one instance per IP:

This is really important.

Twitter measures the API limit for each individual IP that makes calls to it. The calls are not tied to the IP address of your computer, but to the IP address of the router that gives you access to the Internet.

This implies that if there are more people in the office using the app (or any other app that takes advantage of same anonymous Twitter API) then the API limit is shared among all of you.

That can be a reason for getting a lot of "Twitter API limit reached" warnings from the app.

Take this into account if you're using the app in a business (social media agencies, for example), because you can be affecting other users in the same network.

The app, by the way, does not allow two instances running at the same time in your machine. Just one will do the job :-)

Those are not technical limitations but Twitter policies related ones.

If you have a really good reason, you can try to convince Twitter to whitelist you. In that case all this limitations will disappear. Good luck!

 

· Unable to track the exact time a Follow/Unfollow happens

Due to Twitter API limitations there is no way to know exactly when a user starts to follow or unfollow you. The program checks the followers count in every  update and compares the list of followers before and after the check, and then determines the differences.

That's the reason why is so important to have the app running constantly. That way you will get an almost real time progression of the follow/unfollow events. If you close the program (or your user session or shutdown the computer) by night or on weekends, the next time it runs it will get the differences in followers and add those to the history, but you won't know the exact time when they happened.

My recommendation is to run the program in an always-on computer in your office or SOHO, and keep the session logged (although it can be blocked) to keep the program running and keeping track of the changes.

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Last edited Jun 7, 2013 at 9:01 AM by jmalarcon, version 7

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