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Advanced Search on Twitter Like a Pro

Did you know that Twitter churns through over
500 million tweets per day? While plenty of that is content that you and I
might not care about, if even 1% interests us then we’ve got a never-ending
supply of fresh material on our hands! However, how are we supposed to go
through millions of tweets on a daily basis? The answer is a bit cliché—very
carefully, of course.

Twitter is very generous with the number of search operators that it supports. These operators allow us to dig down and search through videos, images, retweets, lists, and much more.

However, most of us aren’t taking advantage of these and are only performing simple keyword-based searches. When you’re searching for something specific, that just doesn’t cut it.

In this article, let’s go over Twitter’s many
different search operators and learn how to narrow our searches down to get the
exact content we’re looking for.

Basic Search Operators for
Twitter

Twitter’s most basic search operators are a
set that you expect out of most search engines. The ability to exclude certain
terms and search for an exact phrase are things we’ve come to expect, and
Twitter doesn’t sell us short.

“” (quotation marks)

The quotation marks search operator limits
results to tweets that contain an exact phrase. This is not case sensitive, and
it’s the default behavior for single-word search terms.

  • Example: “world series”

– (hyphen)

The quotation marks search operator limits
results to tweets that do not include the term thereafter. This operator can’t
be used by itself, and you must surround the term with quotation marks if it
uses more than one word.

  • Example: baseball -basketball

? (question mark)

The quotation marks search operator limits
results to tweets that contain a question.

  • Example: wedding ?

OR

The “OR” search operator limits results to
tweets that include either term. You must surround a term with quotation marks
if it uses more than one word.

  • Example: sink OR swim

Interaction-Based Search Operators
for Twitter

As a social media site that revolves heavily
around communicating with others, Twitter supports multiple search operators
that allow us to filter through user interactions. These include mentions,
replies, and lists.

@ (“at” sign)

The “at” sign search operator limits results
to tweets that mention the Twitter user thereafter.

  • Example: @jack

to

The “to” search operator limits results to
tweets that are directed to or made in reply to the Twitter user thereafter.

  • Example: to:shaq

from

The “from” search operator limits results to
tweets that are sent by the Twitter user thereafter.

  • Example: from:aoc

list

The “list” search operator limits results to
tweets that are sent by members of the Twitter list thereafter. This requires
both the username of the Twitter user who owns the list and the list’s URL
slug.

  • Example: list:scobleizer/world-news

Filter-Based Search Operators for
Twitter

Some of Twitter’s most powerful and specific
filtering options revolve around the “filter” operator. With this operator, we
can narrow down tweets by what type of media they contain, when they were
tweeted, and which sites they link to.

filter:safe

The “filter:safe” search operator limits
results to tweets that are marked as safe and not potentially sensitive. This
operator can’t be used by itself.

  • Example: elephant filter:safe

filter:media

The “filter:media” search operator limits
results to tweets that contain an image or video. This operator can’t be used
by itself.

  • Example: kitten filter:media

filter:retweets

The “filter:retweets” search operator limits
results to tweets that are not retweets. This operator can’t be used by itself.

  • Example: politics filter:retweets

filter:native_video

The “filter:native_video” search operator
limits results to tweets that contain video from Amplify, Periscope, or Vine.
This operator can’t be used by itself, and you can also filter specifically by
video platforms with “filter:periscope” and “filter:vine”.

  • Example: meme filter:native_video

filter:images

The “filter:images” search operator limits
results to tweets that contain images. This operator can’t be used by itself,
and you can only search for natively-hosted images with “filter:twimg”.

  • Example: dunk filter:images

filter:links

The “filter:links” search operator limits
results to tweets that contain links. This operator can’t be used by itself and
will include tweets with comments on a retweet that contains a link.

  • Example: france filter:links

url:amazon

The “url” search operator limits results to
tweets that contain a link including the text thereafter. This operator can’t
be used by itself.

  • Example: game url:amazon

since

The “since” search operator limits results to
tweets that have been tweeted after the date thereafter (year-month-day
format). This operator can’t be used by itself.

  • Example: hurricane since:2017-09-20

until

The “until” search operator limits results to
tweets that have been tweeted after the date thereafter (year-month-day
format). This operator can’t be used by itself.

  • Example: earthquake until:2018-02-11

A great trick you can use is combining the
hyphen search operator with any of the “filter” operators. This will allow you
to do things like search for tweets that don’t contain images or contain
potentially sensitive material. Stringing together more than one operator can
really laser-focus your search to the exact results that you’re looking for.

Get creative when you’re searching through
Twitter! Your search is only limited by your mastery of Twitter and these
search operators, and there are billions of tweets for you to browse through.
You’re guaranteed to find something that will surprise you.

Want to know how you can achieve these same results with Google’s search? Check out our article on Google search operators.