Is there any sort of advanced search on Twitter? I want to look for tweets that mention a specific phrase but only show those in my city. Help!
Like Google and so many other services, Twitter actually has a very sophisticated search language. They just don’t make it very obvious because it’s something you have to search for, not something that’s a link right off your Twitter profile. Even without that, though, remember that in all search systems quoting a phrase has a completely different to just specifying the words. What I mean by that is that a search for harry potter matches a tweet about “potter smith, harry lyons” but a search for “harry potter” doesn’t match the former and specifies those two words in that order with no words between.
You can try a geographic search by specifying the name of the city or region, but that then requires that the person actually mentions their location in their tweet, which few people do as a general approach to tweeting. No worries, though, because you can just bookmark Twitter advanced search (or do a quick search to find it next time).
To fully appreciate it, though, let’s start with a regular search. I’ll look for wizards unite…
Interesting, but it’s mighty hard to narrow things down to get what you want, isn’t it?
Enter Twitter advanced search. Go there and you’ll find that it’s a clear and detailed form that lets you specify exactly what you seek, element by element. The first section is about the words or phrases themselves:
Again, remember that you can use this form to specify words that must be included, that must be omitted, phrases, etc, and then see what search it produces to learn the shortcuts to the language (like using quotes to force an exact phrase).
Below this block is another section of Advanced Search:
This is really interesting too: You can specify tweets from a specific user, tweets that mention a specific user, or even tweets that were targeting a specific user (e.g., had @account as the very first word of the tweet).
But the fun’s not over yet because the third section of the advanced search includes date and location info:
Finally we’ve found that geographic constraint to search results! A single click on “Add location” and it’ll actually geolocate you and show it as the default value. Click on that and you’ll get a menu of options:
I’ve typed in “Paris, France” and it’s suggesting cities called Paris in various places (who knew there were so many!). Notice below that it’s suggesting cities near me in Texas.
Finally, I create a search that looks for the specific phrase “wizards unite” from Twitter users near Paris, France. The resultant actual search submitted to the Twitter engine is: “wizards unite” near:”Paris, France” within:15mi
And that’s how it’s done. As you can see, there’s even more you can specify, including language, quality (omits tweets with obscenities, etc) and much more, and now that you can see some of the basics of the search language, you don’t even need to use the advanced search form. Tho it’s useful to know it exists!