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Twitter-search-tipsTwitter can serve as a tool for tracking and finding the most current, new and innovative content and tools on the web. With some 19% of all tweets containing links, how do you use Twitter to mine this great database to find the most interesting and useful things for yourself?

Let’s go over some cool Twitter search tips and see how to set up queries that will get you a personally tailored stream of great content.

Step 1 – Choose A Topic Or A Combination Of Topics

In Twitter’s search engine, write a search string that contains the topic or topics that interest you. For example, let’s search videos about productivity.

Our query:

productivity video

Twitter search - productivity video


Note that writing more topics (words), or ones that show up in lower frequency will yield less results. This is not necessarily a bad thing since you don’t want to be flooded. You want to set up the optimal query to get you just the desired number of results – not too much, not too less.

Step 2 – Get Only Links

People’s opinions are great and interesting, but usually you’d like to find links to full content and not just the 140 characters tweet about it. To find only tweets that contain links add “filter:links” (without quotation marks) to the query.

Our query:

productivity video filter:links

Step 3 – Remove Unwanted Results & Spam

Sometimes you have to filter out popular topics (because they keep showing up in the search results) or spam-tweets. You might also want to refine your query to not find topics you don’t find interesting. Add to the query the topics you don’t want to show up and the Twitter accounts of the spammer, with a minus sign before each of them.

In the example query I got a lot of tweets from an account named @xxxtuber (see image below), so I added “-xxxtuber”.

Twitter search - Spam

Our query:

productivity video  filter:links -xxxtuber

Step 4 – Filter Out (Or Get Only) Retweets

If quite a few people retweeted the same link, you might get it over and over again in the search results. To prevent this, filter out retweets by adding -RT (notice the minus sign before it).

On the other hand, a retweet might indicate a higher quality result. This is because at least two people recommended that link – the person who originally tweeted it and the person who retweeted it. Therefore, you can try to add the word RT (without the minus sign) to the query. It will filter out tweets that were not retweeted, and may upgrade your search results.

Our query:

productivity video  filter:links -xxxtuber RT

Step 5 – Subscribe To The Query

Now that you know how to use Twitter to build the perfect query for your needs, be sure to subscribe to its RSS feed. Click the RSS feed for your query in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Twitter search - Subscribe

I recommend you refine the search query once in a while to get better results. Add different words, try with or without retweets, filter out certain results, and so on.

Please share with us your favourite Twitter search tips and search queries in the comments below.

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  1. Yigal Chamish
    August 28, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Great tips!

  2. Eyal Sela
    August 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    @StickyMediaGroup Thanks a lot.

  3. Props Blog Ideas
    August 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    These are really great tips on how to search for stuff on twitter. I just started using twitter about 2 weeks ago, and it is kind of difficult getting into the swing of useful content. Seems like most of the stuff is spam. I look forward to testing these tips out!

  4. StickyMediaGroup
    August 27, 2009 at 11:53 am

    These are great tips Eyal. Will definately be using the filter:links query.

    I think your title might be missing an "on" though.