I have occasional periods where for one reason or another I want to distance myself from social media for a bit. One of the things that usually stops me is the idea of missing communication aimed specifically at me. Facebook has the option to control what types of communication (e.g. a message) result in an email, and twitter has the option to send you an email when someone direct messages you, but (as far as I know) there is no direct way to be informed when you are “mentioned” on twitter.
Here is one technique to get round this – presuming you use an RSS reader of some sort (I use google reader), you can go to search.twitter.com, search for your username and then subscribe to the RSS feed for the results.
Now simply uninstall your twitter client and step away from the firehose, and if someone mentions you, you’ll know next time you read your RSS feeds. Less immediate, but that’s part of the point!