I’m continuing to dive into the world of Twitter and am a bit baffled by one thing: is there some way that I can see all replies to my messages rather than just those from people I’m following? How about even seeing the replies from the people I follow that they send to other people? Don’t know if it’s normal, but I follow only a fraction of the people that are following me on Twitter.
Let’s start with that last observation. You note that you have more followers than people who you personally follow. I actually think that’s a somewhat common setup and I will note that as I type this in, I find myself with 204 people following my own Twitters, while I only follow 88 people myself (my Twitter stats). Since people use Twitter for different things, it’s possible that there are people who follow hundreds or thousands of other people but, because of what they write in their Twitters, might have precious few people following them.
A few more data points from the people I follow: @QueenOfSpain is following 2,358 people, and has 917 followers, @mlwhall is following 276 people and has 147 followers, @micah is following 182 and has 258 followers, @andrewhyde is following 455 people and has 465 followers, @bfeld is following 54 people and has 499 followers, @agahran is following 62 people and has 205 followers. Finally, @genuine is following 710 people and has 654 followers.
Phew! A lot of data. What I think we can conclude in this regard is that there is no standard, and that there are likely just as many people who have more followers than people they’re following as there are people who follow far more people than who follow them.
Now, in terms of the first part of your question, you can see people who reply to you but aren’t part of your reply stream by clicking on the Replies tab on the actual Twitter home page. You can also use a third-party tool: somehow tools like Twitterific seems to be able to integrate these together in a way that the main Twitter site itself cannot.
If you want to see the replies your followed Twittermates are sending to others, you need to make a slight tweak to your account settings. Go to Settings and click on Notices:
Notice the confusingly labeled pop-up “Show me: [ @ replies to the people I'm following ]“. Why is it confusing? Because – in my opinion, at least – it should instead say “@ replies from people I’m following to other people” and instead of “Show me” it should say “Only show me”. Then it’d make sense: the default setting is “only show me @ replies from people I’m following to other people.”
Be that as it may, you’ll need to change it to read “All @ replies” (e..g, show me all @ replies) and you’ll see all Twitters that are replies to anyone from those folk you follow, rather than just their non-replies and replies to you only.
But be careful here! Only Twitter experts realize the huge difference between the following two messages:
2: Hope you see this Twitter reply, @DaveTaylor
The difference is that only the first one is a reply. The second simply mentions your Twitter handle without actually being formally tagged as a reply. You can see this nuance in your Twitterstream if you look closely:
Notice how the first one, from Genuine (in real life Jim Turner), says “in reply to DaveTaylor” at the end (in small blue type), while the second one, from Scobleizer (in real life Robert Scoble), doesn’t, even though it also has a Twitter handle (@jratlee) mentioned in the text.
This leads to an interesting question: can you follow all mentions of you in the Twitterverse or are they destined to travel through the ether without you ever being the wiser? A quick query to my fellow, uh, Twits, produced a couple of tools worth experimenting in this regard: Terraminds Micro, which offers a basic search system as demonstrated with this search, and Tweetscan, with this as the demonstration. The first tool lets you subscribe to matching tweets via RSS, while the second lets you get them via email.
Hope that helps you get more – and better – use out of Twitter. And if you’re so inclined, I invite you to follow me on Twitter too!