April 10, 2013

How to use Twitter Search like a Pro

Search Twitter like a Pro

I use Twitter a lot. Its great for things like lead generation, market research, competitive research, crowdsourcing ideas and of course connecting with my contacts. Twitter search is extremely powerful if you know how to use it, so I’ve decided to write a short and concise guide on how you can search like a Twitter rockstar. Please share if you find this valuable!


The most obvious first step to any search is the keyword. By now you probably already know how to use this, and are probably also aware of boolean searches and exclusions.

Use boolean AND to ensure tweets contain all keywords
Use boolean OR to ensure tweets contain any one of the keywords
Use parenthesis (…) to create more complicated searches and control precedence of keywords
Use – (minus) to exclude words from your search
Use from:mikewronski to view tweets from a Twitter account
Use to:mikewronski to view tweets sent to a Twitter account
Use include:retweets to include retweets

To search for all tweets from Vodacom that mention rugby or soccer, but not cricket:

(rugby OR soccer) -cricket from:vodacom


This is extremely useful if you want to search across a very small location, such as your neighbourhood. If you want to see tweets around where you are, use this tool to get your approximate longitude and latitude.

Use geocode:”longitude,latitude,radius” to search in an area with a given radius. The radius can be in kilometers (km) or miles (mi).

To search within 25 kilometers of my current location:



You can search for tweets from a specific device, which can be useful for figuring out which phones people are using.

Use source:web to search tweets posted from a browser
Use source:”Twitter for iPhone” to search tweets posted from an iPhone
Use source:”Twitter for iPad” to search tweets posted from an iPad
Use source:”Twitter for Android” to search tweets posted from an Android device
Use source:”Twitter for BlackBerry®” to search tweets posted from a Blackberry
Use source:”Mobile Web (M2)” to search tweets posted from a generic mobile browser

To search for mentions of “hipster” posted from iPhones:

hipster source:”Twitter for iPhone”


You can search according to the specific app that is being used to tweet. This is pretty nifty for searching for Instagram or Facebook shares, for instance.

Use source:Facebook to search tweets posted from Facebook
Use source:TweetDeck to search tweets posted from Tweetdeck
Use source:Instagram to search tweets posted from instagram

To search for mentions of “sunset” from Instagram:

sunset source:Instagram


To search for positive or negative sentiment, you can simply use smilies.

Use :) to search for positive tweets
Use :( to search for negative tweets
Use ? to search for questions in tweets

To search for happy tweets from Cape Town:

:) geocode:”-33.9767,18.4244,80km”


Last but certainly not least, you can filter your tweets by the type of content posted. I’ve found this very useful when searching for topics that have lots of content but I’m only looking for videos or pictures.

Use filter:links to show tweets with links
Use filter:videos to show tweets with videos
Use filter:images to show tweets with images

For our final rockstar example, we are going to search the whole of Joburg for positive tweets about love that exclude hate and contain pictures posted from Instagram (link):

love -hate :) geocode:”-26.2000,28.0667,50km” source:Instagram

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment