As every day passes, the popularity of Twitter continues to grow. However, while the main focus is usually on the number of users or the volume of tweets, one area that most people overlook is the growing value of the network for the purposes of search.
In fact, there have even been suggestions that Twitter will eventually rival the power of Google search. This is based on the fact that most of the popular information (such as suggested links) on the network is human edited, unlike Google which has to rely upon its mechanical algorithm.
So if you want to get the maximum from Twitter, it’s important to harness the power of Twitter search. There’s a vast ocean of valuable information on the Twitter network just waiting to be discovered.
Originally called Summize, this search tool was bought by Twitter in 2008. At the time it seemed a strange acquisition given the range of powerful third party Twitter tools that could have been acquired. However, that purchase is now beginning to look like an extremely far-sighted and shrewd purchase.
Twitter search has grown into an extremely powerful tool. If you visit the main Twitter search the functionality of the page looks similar to Google.
And like Google, the main Twitter search allows you to use various search operators to fine tune your search.
Searching for the words Twitter search will return posts containing either Twitter or search or both.
Exact phrase search
For example, “Twitter Search” will search for messages that include this exact phrase.
If you want to exclude messages with certain words, just include that word with the minus sign in front of it.
For example, Search -Twitter will return messages about search, but exclude those that also contain the word Twitter.
Hashtags are a powerful way for Twitter users to group messages around a certain topic. Twitter allows you to search for these hashtags.
For example, if you want to find information about the Twitter Power System, searching for #tps will return all of the messages that contain that hashtag.
You can add other modifiers to the end of this search to narrow down the results.
For a brief explanation of hashtags, check out our other post about #followfriday.
If you want to search the messages posted by a Twitter user, just enter from:USERNAME
For example, if you want to see all the messages that Jamesrivers has posted, just search for from:jamesrivers
To add even more power, you can add any search term after this from search. To see how many times James uses the word followers, just search for from:jamesrivers followers
Likewise, you can search for all the @replies sent to a specific user, for example, to:peterfrancis
To find all the searches where a certain Twitter user is mentioned, just reach for @ followed by the username. For example, @stuartlaing will uncover all the messages that contain @stuartlaing
If you want to find how often the phrase internet marketing is sent by people near New York, just search for
This is great if you want to find people with similar interests in your part of the world.
If you want to narrow down the search, you can add a distance modifier, for example;
This will return messages that refer to internet marketing sent from within a 20 mile radius of New York.
twitter since:2009-02-25 will return all messages containing the word Twitter posted since 25th Feb 2009
twitter until:2009-02-25 will return all messages containing the word Twitter posted before 25th Feb 2009
You can then combine these two modifiers to search for posts within a specific period.
Adding : ) to your search will filter the results so that only messages with a positive attitude are displayed. Likewise, adding : ( to your search will return messages with a negative attitude.
For example, if you’re searching for reviews of a certain product or company, just search for the relevant name, then choose whether you want to see positive or negative mentions of the keyword.
dell : ) Will bring up positive posts about Dell.
dell : ( will bring up negative messages about Dell.
Add a question mark to your search and it will return posts that ask a question. This is great if you want to add value to the network and raise your profile by answering questions. If you’re a blog expert search for blog ? or blogging ? or wordpress ? to find questions that you can answer.
To filter your searches so that the results only include posts that contain links, just add the filter:links after your search term.
To find messages posted from certain sources, just add source: followed by the Twitter source that you want to search for.
To find all the messages that mention weather posted by the cell phone software twinkle, just search for;
Alternatively, if you have more time and want to apply these search operators without using the shortcuts, click through to the Advanced Twitter Search and use the form to construct your search.
Choose the right type of search and you can find a host of valuable information that will help improve your Twitter experience and strengthen your network.
Please let us know if you have any Twitter search related questions or tips that will help your fellow readers.