Twitter search seems fairly basic, which often leads to people using 3rd party Twitter tools for searching. Most people don’t realize it, but Twitter some handy search command abilities:
Basic Twitter Search Commands (no surprises here):
- Multi-word queries: if you search multiple words, Twitter’s default search will search tweets containing both (or all words).
Example: big doggy would find tweets that contain both “big” and “doggy”, but not necessarily the words paired together.
- Exact match queries: if you use quotes, you can limit tweet searches to exact matches.
Example: “big doggy” would find tweets that contain the exact phrase “big doggy”.
- OR queries: if you are looking for two related or interchangable words, OR queries work well.
Example: dog OR doggy would find tweets that contain either words.
- Hash Tag queries: Hash tags used to be one of the only methods of putting a stamp on your tweet to help those searching in Twitter, but they not as critical these days as Twitter search has improved. Regardless, people still use hash tags (#), especially when attending events or joining in on a meme
Example: #ff would find tweets that contain #ff (which stands for Follow Friday).
- At queries: when referencing someone on Twitter, you use @ (at reply), so it makes sense you can search for people doing so.
Example: @webconnoisseur would find tweets reference me.
- Question queries: target tweets that ask a question.
Example: web designer ? would most likely find tweets of people looking for web designers.
Advanced Twitter Search Commands:
- Combining queries: You can combine queries to really nail down what you are looking for.
Example: “seattle startup” OR “seattle start-up” OR “@seattle20” combines the simple search commands listed above and would be an excellent way to find tweets related to startups in Seattle.
- From and To queries: You can actually target tweets that are specifically sent to or from someone.
Example: “from:GregBoser” “to:Graywolf” would show me tweets Greg Boser sent to Michael Gray. If you perform a query like this, Twitter will also include a link that will allow you to see the entire conversation, if there is one.
- Exclude queries: You can specify words you don’t want to see in your query.
Example: hello -kitty would show me hello tweets, but exclude tweets that are reffering to hello kitty or someone saying hello to their kitty on twitter (trust me, you want to stay away from these people).
- Location queries: You can actually limit tweets by location.
Example: beer near:Seattle within:15mi would show me beer tweets written within 15 miles of Seattle
Note: it isn’t entirely accurate as it appears to go off the location the person has listed in their profile, which isn’t always where they are at the time.
- Date-based queries: You can actually limit tweets by date, both before (use “since:”) or after (use “until:”).
Example: techcrunch since:2009-09-12 until:2009-09-13 would show me tweets about TechCrunch over the weekend on September 12th or 13th
- Attitudinal queries: Some Twitter users incorporate happy or sad faces into their tweets. You can search these to find attitudes about topics.
Example: cloudy with a chance of meatballs :) would show me people who were happy to go see or enjoyed the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
- Source queries: probably one of the least useful queries unless you want to research a 3rd party tool’s adoption, you can do query searches by tweet software source.
Example: LOL source:tweetdeck would show me LOL tweets that came from someone using tweedeck.
- Link filtered queries: a great way to track down referenced links, this query will limit Twitter searches to tweets that contain links.
Example: mashable filter:links would show me people’s tweets linking to Mashable articles.
- Jumping forward in older searches if you are hunting for something via Twitter search and want to save yourself from clicking “older” over and over, you can change the page number (after your first older click) in the Twitter URL to jump forward.
Example: http://search.twitter.com/search?max_id=3984008800&page=2&q=fight&rpp=20 is the result I get after searching fight in search.twitter.com and clicking on older once. To jump further back in time and skip a bunch of tweets, I can go up to the browser URL box and change the page=2 portion to page=35 to jump straight to page 35.
Hope you find these Twitter search commands useful. If you know of others, or would like to share your example uses, please leave a comment.