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Twitter search for untagged mentions of your name and content

Do you want to make sure that you don’t miss any mentions of your name on Twitter? This post gives you a magic search string to save so that can easily check it in future.

If you know what you’re doing, here’s a sample search string for you to rewrite:

🔍 Search Twitter for mentions of your name

"john espirian" -from:espirian -@espirian

🔍 Search Twitter for links to your content -from:espirian -@espirian

Introduction – ‘untagged’ mentions

Twitter’s Notifications tab will let you know whenever another user sends you a reply or mentions your username.

But you won’t get a notification if someone mentions your name in plain text rather than using your username (the bit that starts with the @ symbol).

For example, here’s a tweet that mentions me by name but doesn’t use my username (@espirian):

This is what I’d call an ‘untagged’ mention. To find this sort of tweet, you need a little pinch of magic ✨

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The magic search string

To search for untagged mentions, you need to use a search string similar to this:

🔍 Twitter’s magic search string

"john espirian" -from:espirian -@espirian

Let’s break down how that works so that you can use it on your own account. The search string is made of 3 parts:

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Part 1 of the magic search string

The first part is the search term you’re looking for.

In this case, I want to look for mentions of my full name, so I write it in quotes:

"john espirian"

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Part 2 of the magic search string

The second part uses the minus/hyphen symbol to exclude tweets I’ve made myself.

The from prefix means that the @ symbol should be omitted from the username:


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Part 3 of the magic search string

The third part uses the minus/hyphen symbol to exclude tweets that mention my username.

This time the @ symbol is required:


Stick all the parts together and you get the full search query:

🔍 Twitter’s magic search string

"john espirian" -from:espirian -@espirian

But that’s not all. You can use the same method to search Twitter for shares of your content.

To do that, change the first part of the search string from your name to your website domain.

Here’s an example:

🔍 Search Twitter for links to your content -from:espirian -@espirian

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If you type the magic search string (or any other search) into the desktop version of Twitter, you’ll be able to save the search for next time by using the vertical ellipsis menu (3 dots) in the top-right corner.

Save your search on desktop Twitter

🔍 Note for Twitter mobile users

You can’t save new searches in the mobile version of Twitter but you can reuse existing saved searches there.

The following example appears truncated but the whole search is saved and does work:

A Twitter saved searched viewed on mobile

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A couple of real search examples

If I were to apply this method to a lookup for my web design buddy, Martin Huntbach, I’d write the search like this:

"martin huntbach" -from:martinhuntbach -@martinhuntbach

Lo and behold, it reveals tweets like this:

(The search also reveals lots of tweets from someone else with the same name, but those are easily filtered out by adding another -from:username part to the search string.)

Here’s another example for my proofreader buddy, Louise Harnby:

"louise harnby" -from:louiseharnby -@louiseharnby

And here’s a typical result:

Note that in each of these cases, the person is mention but their Twitter username isn’t. That means they won’t have received a notification, and so the tweet may well have gone unacknowledged.

If you want to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, rewrite the search string to suit your name and details, and then save it for future reference.

📕 Don’t forget to check for misspellings

Use the magic search string to find common misspellings of your name.

In my case, I’ll also search for Esperian, Experian (ugh!) and Aspirin (UGHHH!).

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More useful advanced search tips for Twitter

I cover many more search tips in my Twitter advanced search guide:

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Bonus tip: Searching for questions on Twitter

If you add a question mark to Twitter searches, the results will display only tweets that include a question.

This is a great way to learn about what people are searching for on a given topic, and could be a good source of topics to write about in your blogs.

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Let’s wrap up

The notifications feature in Twitter is pretty good, but saving this advanced search string will help you make sure you don’t let any ‘untagged’ mentions slip through the net.

Who knows: perhaps you’ll discover some cool people have been sharing your stuff without telling you!

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Who wrote this?

John Espirian – the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter

I write B2B web content, blogs, user guides and case studies – all aimed at explaining how your products, services and processes work. I also offer LinkedIn profile critiquing and rewriting.

I work from home in Newport, South Wales and support the (formerly) mighty Liverpool FC 🔴⚽️