How to Search Twitter


The inspiration

Searching Twitter is not an exact science. The available tools aren’t accurate and respond differently to the same parameters. I hope this post – that is inspired in  Justin Parks’ tips to check other peoples favorites, and shared at TwitterPortugal by Paulo Querido – may help you find what you’re looking for in Twitter.

Searching Bios

Justin Parks explained how to search in other people’s favorites using Google. I thought about it, and i came up with a variation to search Twitter users’ Bios. Are you looking  for people that share a common interest, have a specific profession, or are from your hometown? As long they have these data in their bios it is all pretty simple.  Type in the Google search box the following:

site:twitter.com/* location+Lisboa

You can change “Lisboa” to your chosen location. Of course you’ll have to go through the results to make your selection. If you find this a tiresome procedure, you can always use the Adobe AIR based app  TwitterLocal. You can follow twitterers from a specific location and in a configurable radius in real time. I don’t think this is really accurate and sometimes i just need to find someone, and i don’t have the time to wait for he/she to tweet, so i’d go for Google first. But if you’re waiting for something to happen somewhere TwitterLocal may come in handy.

If you want to find people with a specific activity using  Google, do as follows:

site-twitter.com-- bio+journalist - Pesquisa do Google_1244549636505

You’ll have an instant list of journalist tweeple without having to add water. But if you’re into directories and lists you have the following options: Twellow, Twitter’s Yellow Pages, or WeFollow. Both organize users under different categories or tags. There is a couple more interesting general user  search tools like TwitSeeker and TweepSearch, but they leave a lot of users out of the results.


Smart Ann Smarty wrote about Identify. I like her work.

But if you are curious to know in which other social networks a Twitter user dwells, you can add the Identify add-on to your Firefox. Ann Smarty posted a review about it here.

Tag and Topic Search

But lets give some privacy now to Twitter users and search for content. And how can we do it? Let me count the ways…

Most desktop apps like Twhirl or Tweetdeck rely on two major search tools TwitterSearch and TweetScan, both pouring results into the interface, though i’m a fan of other online tools to follow tags and topics in real time, like Monitter, or TwitScoop. Hastags.org is also real useful in the tag front, but somewhat limited. Recently i found PeopleBrowser, a multitask online Twitter app that seems to hold a lot of potential, still under development.

Monitter live streaming

Monitter live streaming

Looking for something else?

Of course Twitter can be searched for almost anything, even for a job. Everyday there’s a new tool to get the most out of it, and fortunately there are people making lists of essential and useful tools to enhance the Twitter experience. These are the ones i know best and use in my everyday Twitter activity. If you think this is too much, well you have the plain search box in your Twitter homepage. But  if you know other techniques and tools to squeeze information out of the blue bird, share them with us.

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Junho 2009

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