7 ‘Secret’ Ways To Use Twitter Search

By Thomas Baekdal. Follow him @baekdal.

Twitter Search is just amazing because it can give you real-time feedback about pretty much everything. That is, if you know how to look for it. Here is how:

Before we start I need to point out that both TweetDeck and Seesmic (my two favorite Twitter apps – with Seesmic being the #1) allows you to open special search panels, allowing you to “follow” a search term, instead of a person.

This is a great way to keep on top of things.

The Secrets…

1: Get up to speed with all the latest buzz

The primary way that I keep up-to-speed on social networking is to follow a social networking search. For instance, let say you want to get all the new links about social media, not including the many re-tweets that people make.

Simply search for:

“social web” OR “social media” OR “social news” -rt filter:links

2: Find all the people who are not talking about you directly

Another thing you might want to do is to find all the people who talks about you (or your product) but isn’t including you directly. E.g. If I want to find all the people who mention my name, but aren’t replying to me.

Simply search for:

Baekdal -to:baekdal -from:baekdal -@baekdal

Note: You can also find everyone who links to you via BackTweets

3: Get all reactions across multiple twitter profiles

Another thing you might want to do is to get all the replies and mentions that refer to you, across multiple twitter profiles. For instance, I have 7 twitter profiles and I would really like to see everything in one place.

Simply search for:

to:baekdal OR to:baekdalarticles OR to:baekdaldesign OR to:baekdalnotes OR to:baekdal24hours (etc…)

BTW: Seesmic will do this automatically in the reply panel (which is one of the main reason why I prefer it over other Twitter apps).

4: Follow what people are saying about your competitors

You also may want to follow not only what your competitors are saying on Twitter, but also how people respond to them. All you need to do is to simply search for:

from:competitor OR from:competitor

E.g. If your competitor is H&M (@handm), you can search for

from:handm OR to:handm

5: Only follow links from certain people

One of the problem of following people on Twitter is that you don’t get to decide what to hear. Sometimes you just want to know about the links that they share, and not hear all the chit-chat.

Let’s say that you only want to see the links that I share, then you simply search from:

from:baekdal filter:links

6: Only get the new info about a topic

One of the most common way to use Twitter search is to search for hashtags or product names. But the results are very often filled with identical tweets.

So if you want to search for anything about ‘American Airlines’ but without the re-tweeted stuff

“american airlines” -rt -via

7: Find all shared pictures about a topic.

It can be really interesting to see only the pictures that people post about a certain topic or event. During this year’s Le Mans, I was continually following every picture that people tweeted. You do this by simply searching for:

“le mans” twitpic OR yfrog OR post.ly OR twitgoo OR pikchur filter:links

BTW: Another way to search for images is to use Twicsy

Have you figured out any other ways to use Twitter Search that you’d like to share? How about trying these above techniques and letting us know what you think, in the comments?


  • June 25, 2009

    Great article here Thomas.

    I mostly use the search option through Tweetdeck. Not using Seesmic, might have to try that out.

    Twitter Search is a great tool to find valuable niche info.

    Article is bookmarked. And I will tweet/retweet ;)


  • June 25, 2009

    #3 is a great tip for TweetDeck users!

    P.S. Restrict your search to people talking about your niche locally…
    golf near:Melbourne within:100km
    golf near:Chicago within:100mi

  • June 25, 2009

    I already knew these stuff, but nice to see it shared here :) Personally I always try to find people who are retweeting my posts, and talking about me in an indrect way.. Because they can be a very loyal readers since they found me interesting!

  • June 25, 2009

    I would just add the other retweet abbreviation -R/T

  • June 25, 2009

    Thank you for posting these tips, Thomas. #2 and #4 will be quite useful to us!

    Greg @ iGoMogul

  • June 25, 2009

    Twitter search would be a lot more useful if it wasn’t limited to searching only the last 7 days. It used to go back months.


  • June 25, 2009

    I am going to definitely use twitter search more often. Thank you for these tips!

  • June 25, 2009

    iGoMogul, Glad to be of service :)

    TwitterTips, Exactly. And, it often tells you what people really think about you.

  • June 25, 2009

    Props. This is too strange, I just posted an Advanced Search article including some of the same Twitter tips this Monday. See for yourself:


  • June 25, 2009

    Alex, Good article too!

  • June 25, 2009

    They are actually basic stuff, but you combine them and smash them up. Nice secrets :D

  • June 25, 2009

    Thanks for the nice list of search filters! I’m finding it very useful.

  • June 25, 2009

    Localize conversations
    If you want to find out what people in your geographic community are saying on a topic, use advanced search (http://search.twitter.com/advanced). Enter your keyword and under PLACES identify the name of your town and what radius you want to search within.

  • June 25, 2009

    Searching specific conversations within your niche on twitter is the best way to build a community. It came in real time result, real people online. I love that.

  • June 25, 2009

    Can anyone please tell me how to search for a keyword in bio? I know it can be done from ‘Find People’ area — http://twitter.com/invitations/find_on_twitter . But is it possible to make that bio search from normal search area — http://search.twitter.com/? It will be great help if anyone can give the solution :D

  • June 25, 2009

    If you have a Mac, nambu is awesome (www.nambu.com) – it’s a client that also allows live keyword searches, and it looks and feels just like Apple’s Mail app. In fact, a live search shows up just like a mailbox.

  • June 25, 2009

    nice “not so secret” tips. thx

  • June 25, 2009

    Yup one should know these search tips for eg: People doing affiliate stuff with dreamhost can

    just search “hosting”or related terms to search those clients who are taking about hosting n

    than give them their promo codes….& it really works using these advanced search feature is still even better …


  • June 26, 2009

    Great article Thomas !!! Very useful. Thank you for these tips!


  • June 26, 2009

    Baraja Re: Can anyone please tell me how to search for a keyword in bio?

    I use http://tweepsearch.com to search bios. It will look at descriptions, usernames, locations and URLs contained in profile bios. It’s a great app.

  • June 26, 2009

    Great article – thanks for the tips. Unlike most of the people above, I had no idea you could eliminate the RT from search, so I really appreciate it!

  • June 26, 2009

    I really like to use Tweetbeep (http://tweetbeep.com/) for searching Twitter. It runs automated searches and emails me any results.

  • June 26, 2009

    Great post – should be part of a Twitter Hacks book

  • June 26, 2009

    Ah the power of twitter. I use tweetdeck too & reading your article gives me a sense of how much more useful twitter can be. I have to admit I barely use it for anything more than twiterring. Thank you for the insight. Cheers

  • June 26, 2009

    Just downloaded Seesmic. Hadn’t seen that yet. Only been a Twitter user about five or six months so am learning the ropes and this helps sift through the clutter.

  • June 28, 2009

    Great article indeed. Thanks.

  • June 30, 2009

    Wow, great article. Just turning me on to backtweets.com was awesome and the search tips will really come in handy. Thanks!

  • July 1, 2009
    Shyam Kapur

    This is an excellent article. I love what all we can discover in the Twitter data. Perhaps the most powerful, general purpose tool built to date for this purpose is TipTop at FeelTipTop.com You can easily find all the things detailed above and more when you do searches there.

  • July 2, 2009

    Some great tips on using Twitter, thanks for the info.

  • July 6, 2009

    Does anybody know how to search for 1) the links the people I’m following have posted overnight and 2) what have they said about “xxxx xxx”?

  • July 11, 2009

    I think under point 4:
    from:competitor ORfrom:competitor
    should be:
    from:competitor OR to:competitor
    as you point out in the example.

    Great post! Very helpful :-)

  • September 29, 2009

    Great tips Thomas!

    Is it possible to eliminate double users from Twitter search? If few users show a few times in search, how to eliminate them all? (btw we don’t known they @id)

  • October 21, 2009

    Thanks for the great info……I’ve book marked this page.

  • December 23, 2009

    This has been extremely helpful. Immense thanks for writing this post. I actually saw a retweet by someone who put a line before atand my name like this : @/spunkyduckling. Didn’t know you could do things like this if you didn’t want the person to know you are speaking about them.

  • February 11, 2010

    I would like to know if there is a way to get the post from a search (like #Twitter) but avoid the post from a user.

  • March 3, 2010

    An excellent, to-the-point & helpful post, thank you. Some excellent methods to cut down on occasionally excessive ‘noise’. Very useful.

  • April 8, 2010

    Very nice of you, give to us that information, I need urgent a lot of trafic in my blog, because we are ready to close if we don’t make some money quick, Thank You, GOD bless you! Onelia Bello

  • April 20, 2010

    Very good info here, but how do you filter out all posts that have @mentions in them? ie. if someone has requested something and a load of people have replied, how to filter out those who are saying ‘@whoever We can help you out with your problem.’.

    Is there a way?

    Thanks :)

  • June 7, 2010

    The -RT tag is definitely the most useful

  • June 10, 2010

    Believe me, your post changed my perception all together towards using Twitter Search!

    Thanks a lot buddy :)

  • June 17, 2010

    Nice tips. However, I find myself increasingly using http://identi.ca – and increasingly frustrated with twitter, because it doesn’t have the same features. For example, if I like a dent (their equivalent of a “tweet”) I can see it and all its predecessors and replies as a thread just by clicking the “in context”, etc… If identi.ca was anywhere near as popular as twitter, I would probably just abandon my twitter account and only use that…

  • December 30, 2010

    I would like to know how certain companies (and individuals) get in the search area of a specific interest like ART or FAMILY or HEALTH so they can be found when someone serches on that specific interest?? Twitter interface provides a specific list of interests from which to choose but I can’t find how to get on any of the lists in the Twitter info. Help!

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