Twitter search advanced guide 2018

Twitter search advanced guide 2018

Whether you’re researching blog ideas, looking for work or just trying to find out what’s going on near you, the advanced features of Twitter search will help you find the content you need.

This post contains tips and filters for getting the best from Twitter search. All the details are below, but if you just need a quick reference list of available filters, here it is:

Twitter search filter Search results
filter:news tweets containing news
filter:links tweets containing links
filter:images tweets containing images
filter:videos tweets containing videos
filter:periscope tweets containing Periscope videos
filter:retweets classic RT retweets or quote tweets
filter:nativeretweets retweets via the retweet button
filter:safe tweets excluding adult content
filter:verified tweets from verified accounts
Nicola Crawford

Nicola Crawford
Marketing PA
Content Marketing Academy

John is the go to guy for all things Twitter.

He is a Twitter genius and a Twitter god at events.

He smashed it at CMA Live 18. Not only is he quick but his tweets capture events perfectly.

Introduction

In December 2017, I was invited as a guest on Madalyn Sklar’s #TwitterSmarter Twitter chat.

The topic was – surprise, surprise – advanced search in Twitter, and the helpful discussion we had prompted me to write this post.

Before we crack on with the tips, check out my Facebook Live after-chat with Madalyn:

#TwitterSmarter "after" chat with Madalyn Sklar and guest John Espirian talking about using Twitter as an Advanced Search Engine.

Posted by Madalyn Sklar on Thursday, 14 December 2017

And here’s a summary of all the best tweets during our chat: TwitterSmarter Moment.

Need help with Twitter?

I’ve thought about writing a proper intro to Twitter for newbies. Madalyn has gone one further and created an online course that helps people get up to speed with Twitter.

Check it out: Madalyn’s Twitter course

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How to load and use advanced search on Twitter

Whether you use twitter.com or the mobile Twitter app, you’ll have a search field.

Twitter search on desktop and mobile

Twitter search on desktop and mobile

There is a separate advanced search screen, and you can access that here:

https://twitter.com/search-advanced

You might want to bookmark this advanced search page. For reasons no one seems to understand, this link isn’t easily reachable via the Twitter user interface.

It’s also possible to apply advanced search filters through the normal search field, and that’s what most of the rest of this post is about.

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How to use advanced search on the mobile Twitter app

The advanced search screen isn’t built into the Twitter mobile app. But there’s a workaround.

For mobile Safari users:

  1. Go to twitter.com in the mobile browser.
  2. Tap and hold the Refresh icon.
  3. Tap Request Desktop Site.
  4. Adjust the URL to twitter.com/search-advanced

For mobile Chrome users:

  1. Go to twitter.com in the mobile browser.
  2. Tap the vertical ellipsis (3 dots) menu in the top-right corner.
  3. Tap Request Desktop Site.
  4. Adjust the URL to twitter.com/search-advanced

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How to save Twitter searches on desktop

You can save time by saving common searches, for example searches of untagged mentions of your name or untagged shares of your content. It’s also good for keeping an eye on your favourite hashtags.

Searches can be saved only via the desktop version of Twitter, but anything you save there will also be available in the Twitter mobile app.

To save a Twitter search:

  1. Enter your search on the desktop version of Twitter.
  2. On the search results page, click the vertical ellipsis (3 dots) menu in the top-right corner.
  3. Click Save this search.
Saving a search on Twitter desktop

Saving a search on Twitter desktop

When you next click into the search field, the saved search will appear in the dropdown menu of options.

All saved searches are viewable in the Twitter mobile app. Longer searches look truncated but the full search string will be saved.

Saved Twitter searches may look truncated in the mobile app

Saved Twitter searches may look truncated in the mobile app

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How to search Twitter for questions

Add a question mark to your Twitter searches and the results will be formed of tweets containing questions. For example:

copywriter ?

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How to search Twitter for positive and negative sentiment

Use the smiling face :-) emoticon to look for positive tweets.

Use the sad face :-( emoticon to look for negative tweets.

You can also use emojis in your searches:

Grammarly 😡

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How to search for tweets from one account to another

The from and to filters are perfect for finding tweets from one person to another person.

from:espirian to:procopywriters

The results will include tweets where the @procopywriters handle appears at the start of the tweet:

If you want to look for tweets from someone that mention someone else, replace the to filter with the @ name:

from:espirian @procopywriters

The results will include tweets where the @procopywriters handle appears anywhere in the tweet:

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How to check whether one Twitter user follows another

Use DoesFollow to check whether one Twitter user follows another.

This free third-party system asks for permission to access your Twitter account before it shows any results.

DoesFollow example

DoesFollow lets you check whether people follow each other on Twitter

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How to search Twitter for untagged mentions of your name and content

This is my favourite Twitter search, and one I had to work out for myself because I couldn’t find the answer on Google.

Rewrite these searches with your own details:

"john espirian" -from:espirian -@espirian

espirian.co.uk -from:espirian -@espirian

For detail about how these searches work, check out Twitter search for untagged mentions of your name and content.

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How to search Twitter with dates

To search for tweets after or before a certain date, use the since: and/or until: filters.

To find tweets made after a date:

from:espirian since:2018-01-01

To find tweets made before a date:

from:espirian until:2018-01-07

To find tweets between dates:

from:espirian since:2018-01-01 until:2018-01-07

The date filters have to be written in the YYYY-MM-DD format, and the hyphens are important.

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How to filter Twitter searches for images and videos

To look for tweets containing images, add filter:images to your search.

from:espirian filter:images

To look for tweets containing videos, add filter:videos to your search.

from:espirian filter:videos

And for Periscope videos, guess what:

from:espirian filter:periscope

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How to search Twitter on minimum number of likes and retweets

To look for popular tweets, use the min_faves and min_retweets filters:

  • min_faves: find tweets with at least a certain number of likes
  • min_retweets: find tweets with at least a certain number of retweets

copywriting min_faves:3 min_retweets:5

There’s no Twitter search filter to look for a maximum number of likes or retweets. Annoying 😡

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How to search for tweets from verified (blue tick) accounts

Use the filter:verified search filter to show tweets only from verified (blue tick) accounts.

#lfc filter:verified

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How to search for retweets and quote tweets

If you want to look for retweets (where a tweet has been shared in its original form), try this:

from:espirian filter:nativeretweets

To look for the old-style retweet (where tweets start with the letters ‘RT’) or for quote tweets (where a tweet is shared with additional commentary), try this filter:

from:espirian filter:retweets

In practice, this filter seems to find any tweet that includes ‘RT’ in the text, which doesn’t guarantee the results will be retweets.

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How to use exact match searches on Twitter

Use quotes "" around search terms to look for those specific phrases.

"technical writing"

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How to search Twitter for news

Use the filter:news filter to look for tweets that Twitter considers to be news.

#netflix filter:news

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Use the filter:links filter to look for tweets that contain links.

from:espirian filter:links

Search results for filter:links can include native videos and sometimes even just images, so this isn’t the most useful search filter.

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How to exclude terms from Twitter searches

Use the - symbol immediately before a term to exclude that term from search results.

from:itv Ant -Dec

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How to search Twitter for more than one term (AND)

To ensure that more than one term appears in the search results, use AND in capitals between the search terms.

from:espirian Safari AND Chrome

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How to search Twitter for more than one term (OR)

Use OR in capitals between search terms to look for either term (or both).

from:espirian Safari OR Chrome

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How to search Twitter for tweets in different languages

To find tweets in a language other than English, use the lang: filter followed by the 2-letter code for the language you wish to search for.

espirian lang:es (Spanish)

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How to search Twitter for “safe” content

To avoid tweets that contains inappropriate content, add this filter to your searches:

filter:safe

An example use case could be when you want to search for a hashtag but want to exclude adult tweets from accounts that are trying to hijack the hashtag.

I’ve tested the filter and found that it often doesn’t stop inappropriate content being displayed. Still, it’s better than nothing, especially if you’re using Twitter in view of others.

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How to search Twitter by location and proximity

Use the near and within filters to look for tweets from a particular location.

near:newport within:10km

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Let’s wrap up

Twitter is a massive, open database of information. Use the advanced search filters here to do blog research, look for work, discover activities near you and find untagged mentions of your name.

Which of these search filters are you going to use? And do you have any other search tips for Twitter? Leave me a comment below.

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Who wrote this?

John Espirian freelance technical copywriter

I'm John Espirian, the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter. I've written about IT and the web since 1998, and I'm a former Microsoft MVP. If you need B2B web content that explains how your products, services and processes work, I'm your guy.

The Espirian blog provides writing tips and how-to guides on improving your online presence and marketing your business.

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