I have spent a good portion of today reading through closed, merged,
and open issues on http://code.google.com/p/twitter-api/issues/list

I am trying to figure out the best way to get an accurate followers
count.  Initially, I was using /users/show which returns the full user
object, including the followers_count item.  However, I have noticed
that this number only updates when the user posts a tweet.  If the
user has no new tweets, the follower count is not updated.  Data I was
pulling in was many days old.  I understand the need to cache data,
but being unable to pull up an approximate count of followers from the
past several days is a problem.

I have seen this issue posted many times, but it is always merged into
issue 474, which appears to only deal with the following flag, and not
the followers_count.  There was one issue (which I can't find anymore)
where there was acknowledgment that the users/show data was cached
until a new post was made but no mention of any fix or solution.

My next approach was to use the statuses/user_timeline.  I wasn't sure
if the user object for each status would have the "current" value or
the value at the time of the status update.  When I grabbed the xml
formatted response, I got (starting from the most recent status and
going back):
1686, 1653, 1685, 1685, 1685, 1685, 1685...

Through the rest of the statuses, it stayed the same.  Interestingly,
1686 is the current value listed on the website.  1653 was the value I
got from /users/show.  And I'm quite certain that the followers count
did not stay constant at 1685.

Moreover, when I grabbed the json version of statuses/user_timeline, I
got entirely different results:
1653, 1653, 1683, 1675, 1652, 1661, 1644...

This seems to reflect the current number of followers at the time of
the status update, unlike the XML feed.

Anyways, to get back to my original question.  How do I get an
accurate followers count for a user?  Also, why are there still XML/
JSON discrepancies (I came across a few reported issues that said they
had been resolved).

Any help or suggestions would be very much appreciated!


P.S.  The account I was using for the above examples was DailyPHP

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