How to Create Cool Twitter Search Strings

I have always found the search function on Twitter more interesting then twittering itself.  With almost 1 million tweets per hour coming in from around the world it is necessary to carefully filter out the ones that are interesting to you.  Fortunately Twitter gives us a nice set of powerful search operators.

  • twitter + search – containing both “twitter” and “search”
  • “happy hour” – containing the exact phrase “happy hour”
  • love OR hate containing either “love” or “hate” (or both)
  • beer -root containing “beer” but not “root”
  • from:alexiskold – sent from person “alexiskold”
  • to:techcrunch – sent to person “techcrunch”

Now these can be used by themselves but their real power comes when stringed together with the OR operator.  Say you want to get some real time info on Apple’s new iPad.  If you just type “iPad” into twitter search most of your results will be people re-tweeting give away promotions.  Using a search string we can try to filter out the boring tweets.  Type in: iPad -giveaway -win.  This is a simple string but immediately filters out most of the annoying tweets.  This is still quite a barrage so let’s get more specific.

Let’s see what people are saying about the iPad’s chip: iPad + chip.  Maybe we also want to see what apps are out there: ipad + app OR apps OR application. How about accessories?  ipad + accessory OR accessories. Now, because all of these have the word iPad in common we can actually put it in one long string: ipad + chip OR app OR apps OR application OR accessory OR accessories.

We can also see what the tech sites are saying about the iPad: ipad + from:gizmodo OR from:engadget OR from:macrumorsrss OR from:wired. What are people saying to Walt Mossberg and Leo Laporte about the iPad? iPad + to:waltmossberg OR to:leolaporte.

These are fairly simple strings because they all return results with a unique word: iPad.  Things get a lot more complicated once you go more general.  Say you are a fan of Apple and want to stay up to date on the buzz of their products.  We can enclose strings with quotations and link them together with the OR operator.  Let’s see if there are any rumors about iPhone 4.0 floating about: “iPhone + 4.0″. What do people think is the best iPhone app? “iphone + best + app” . Let’s also see what the latest Apple rumors that are floating around: “apple + rumor”. What is Steve Jobs saying these days?  “steve  jobs + says”. How will the iPad change the world?  “iPad + will + change”.  String them all together:

“iPad + will + change” OR “steve  jobs + says” OR “apple + rumor” OR “iphone + best + app” OR “iPhone + 4.0″.

Now we just sit back and let the tweets come in!  Unfortunately it doesn’t look like you can use the from: and to: operators in these longer strings.  If anyone figures out how to do it let me know.

Full list of search operators here: help.twitter.com/entries/71577-how-to-use-advanced-twitter-search-operators

How to create Cool Twitter Search Strings

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How to Create Cool Twitter Search Strings


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