In a Keynote at Chirp by Ryan Sarver, Project Manager over the Twitter API, he announced a new, full API around live content streaming that just saved me thousands.  The new API enables a real-time layer around not just Tweets and search that they’ve enabled in the past, but now direct messages, follows, favorites, and retweets.  As users follow, direct message, or favorite, developers will now be able to pull these actions for each user in real time.

One of the biggest headaches of my own on SocialToo has been the need to constantly poll Twitter.com for new follows and unfollows.  Each request requires an entire snapshot of the user’s friends and followers, and with Twitter’s current structure, can take minutes up to even a half hour or more to pull an entire snapshot of a user’s list of friends.  This takes bandwidth, takes time, and costs money on both the developer’s servers and on Twitter’s end.

The new API will enable one request per follow, one request per DM, and the great thing about it is all of it happens as the user clicks “follow”, as the user sends the DM, and the User benefits from a real-time, live update on new follows and DMs on sites like SocialToo.com.  So, assuming developers are given access soon, you will soon be able to have real-time updates on new followers and unfollowers, as well as new, filtered DMs on sites like SocialToo.com (if you haven’t signed up go sign up today!).

I’m excited for this new announcement, and it’s something I’ve been asking the Twitter API team for awhile now.  It’s good to see Twitter finally getting the capacity to work on these requests.  I hope to continue to see work on developers’ needs like this.