There are plenty of Twitter apps and clients offering brand monitoring and keyword alert services, but if you’re only one person, you may want a more lightweight way of keeping track of what people are saying about you on the micro-blogging service.
To this end, we’ve found five free, web-based Twitter services that will let you know via e-mail each time you are on the receiving end of an @mention, or get an @reply.
Have a read through our picks below to see which one might suit your needs, and let us know your thoughts. If there are any services you’ve used that didn’t make the list, share them in the comments box.
About as lightweight as services come, Twitstra is a study in minimalist app design. Sign in to the service using OAuth, enter the e-mail address you’d like the alerts to go to, wait for the confirmation link e-mail to come through, then hit the link and you’re all set up.
Twitstra will then send you an e-mail every time a tweet mentions your Twitter name. Pretty much as instantaneous as you could expect, a Twitstra alert e-mail tells you who has referenced you in the subject line and then provides the full tweet in the body of the e-mail in plain text.
Twitstra also offers a reply via e-mail service, but this was not functioning at the time of testing, although the developer says a fix is promised soon.
French service UgoTwitt will e-mail you notifications when your handle is tweeted. Sign up on the site with your Twitter name, password, and e-mail notification preference (OAuth is said to be in the pipelines). After you’ve verified your address, the alerts will start pouring in (this was the third-fastest service we tested).
The alert e-mails will come with a French subject “Vous avez recu x nouvelles reponses de…” adding a bit of charm to your inbox, but are simple to read with a thumbnail image of the tweeter, the full text of the tweet and the option to reply.
Hitting the “send a reply” link loads up your Twitter web page and auto-fills the person’s Twitter name, readying you for an easy response.
TweetAlarm is a keyword notification service. Signing up requires the standard OAuth and e-mail, after which you can set up your keywords to watch.
TweetAlarm offers the really nifty trick of adding a list of users to ignore (which it automatically adds you to, although this can be changed), which is a handy option if you don’t want to be alerted to a particular user’s @replies. Making this an even better feature, there’s also a shortcut “ignore” link in alert e-mails that come through, so if you forget to ignore someone and get alerted to one of their tweets, you can just hit the “ignore” link and TweetAlerts will add them to the “don’t bother to alert me” list.
You can set up alerts to come through daily, weekly or as often as the service finds tweets — although this is currently set at two hours due to Twitter’s new API search limits.
When e-mails come through, they offer details of all the mentions in the body, complete with thumbnail images of each Twitter user.
Pu.ly offers a few handy little services for anyone who doesn’t want to be signed into Twitter all day, but needs to keep abreast of developments.
In addition to telling you via e-mail when you have an @reply or mention, the service will do the same when you are added to a Twitter list or receive a direct message.
For the purposes of this post, we tested the mention and reply alerts. Getting set up is easy; just connect via OAuth, enter the e-mail address you’d like the alerts sent to, and then select “on” or “off” for each of the three functions.
When the alerts messages come through (which is very soon after the @action — matching Twitstra for speed) the subject line states, “mentioned in tweet by user” and the full tweet is shown in the body copy. A handy part of the service is the ability to reply in-mail to save loading up Twitter.
To reply in-mail, you simply hit reply as you normally would for an e-mail, make sure you add the @name of who you’re replying to, and the service will send the first 140 characters as a tweet.
Twilert is a good-looking web-based Twitter app that actually offers general keyword alerts, and can potentially be used as a simplified monitoring tool. But for our purposes, we tested it as an @mention notifier.
To get going, sign up and in via OAuth, set your time-zone, enter your e-mail address and then create your keyword-based Twilert; in this instance “@username.”
Twilert lets you specify when you want the alerts to come through, with the minimum time period a 15 minute check. We set our Twilerts to the minimum, but saw gaps of two hours between alerts at peak times, suggesting system load was heavy, although alerts did come through quicker at quieter times.
The e-mails that come through offer a list of who has @mentioned you in the time frame you’ve set up, with thumbnails of the Twitter users and hyperlink-rich text offering the ability to “view” or “reply” — both of which direct you to Twitter.
All the services did what they promised to, but if you want fast notifications of any kind of @mention, then Twitstra and Pu.ly are going to be your best options. Twitstra wins for simplicity, while Pu.ly offers extra features like DM alerts.
The better looking TweetAlarm and Twilert services offer a more casual alert experience, but with general keyword alert options, they could prove more useful for more advanced Twitter monitoring.
More Twitter resources from Mashable: