Hi John, I took a look at the streaming API but was slightly put off but the "alpha" statement that it could be changed at any point and could be done for extended periods - however, I'll take another look.
I think I get the gist of accessing streaming via PHP - it looks like you run a script from the command line which constantly/periodically processes the stream - thus keeping a single connection open which seems like a killer point in the documentation. I'll try and find some best practive PHP code for this. How does rate limiting affect this then? If I have 20K requests per hour would it be fair to extrapoloate that this method could handle 2K users per hour on the basis that each has 10 tweets to parse? Is that how the 20K would be "spent"? thanks for your help with this Joel p.s. thanks Kyle for your response