This gem helped me out today as I was working with the Twitter API to create a custom WordPress widget. I was about to do exactly this and was not looking forward to it, luckily I did a quick search and found this webtips post. Thanks!
If you’re using the Twitter v1.1 API to fetch a user’s statuses from their timeline, then you’ve likely come across the fact that user mentions, hashtags, and urls do not have links in the “text” node of the JSON response the API returns. There is no element to follow the link, and there are no links to follow to check out a mention or hashtag on Twitter site. This can easily be overcome using PHP and parsing some of the data in the JSON response and wrapping the entities in the desired elements.