Tag Archives: search

HOW TO: Use Twitter’s Advanced Search Features

header-bestThere’s an astonishing amount of information to be gleaned from mining the amazing real-time stream of information TwitterTwitterTwitter

provides. Twitter searchtweetzi Twitter Searchtweetzi Twitter Search

is an extremely powerful way of turning up some of those answers. Even using only plain text queries can turn up lots of valuable information about what people are talking about right now.

But you can go even deeper than plain text queries. They’re not too well publicized, so it’s all too easy to forget they even exist. We wanted to jog your memories and highlight a few of the cool advanced operators that can help you turn up sometimes surprising results.

Twitter’s Advanced Search Interface


For folks who prefer the easy-to-use web form approach to advanced search, head on over to Twitter’s Advanced Search interface. Here you can drill down your queries in very specific ways, including searching within date ranges, looking for tweets from or to specific people, referencing specific people, or written in various languages, and more.

One of the more interesting features here is the ability to look at tweets with specific “attitudes” — looking for positive tweets will turn up posts including a range of common smilies, indicating the overall tone of the tweet was positive. Looking for negative tweets conversely finds tweets featuring a range of frowns.

You can also look for tweets in certain locations, and set a range of how many miles to include in the search radius. Right now this is using the location specified by each user in his or her profile, but imagine how much more accurate and interesting these searches will be once the option to allow Twitter to see your actual location is implemented.

Advanced Search Operators


For those who love a good syntax, live in their text editors, have a background in programming or just like the productivity gains from learning the power tools — these advanced search operators are for you.

They give you the same filters available from the advanced search interface we looked at in the previous section, but make them usable right from within the regular Twitter search bar.

For example, invoke a Boolean “or” search with the operator “OR” and invoke a “not” flag with the minus sign (-). Looking for positive or negative attitude tweets can be invoked by simply using the smilies :) or :( . Location operators include “near:” and “within:” — the latter sets the radius over which the search is performed.

To look only for tweets that contain URLs, use the operator “filter:links” and to look for updates from a specific source, use the syntax “source:TweetdeckTweetDeckTweetDeck

” and replace Tweetdeck with the third-party app you’re looking for, or “txt” to search only messages that came via SMS.

Check out the full list of operators.

Saved Searches


Any query you can dream up, you can save for easy later retrieval. On your Twitter home interface, the right-hand sidebar has a small search box built-in. When you run a query from this search bar, you will get an option at the top right of the results to save the search string for later.

Once you save a search, it will show up in the “Saved Searches” area of your Twitter home underneath the search bar. You can run the query again quickly any time with one-click from this interface. To remove a saved search, simply click it to run it again and click the “Remove this saved search” link at the top right of the results.

Search Widgets


You can also take any of those advanced queries and use them to make a persistent Twitter search badge for your own blog or web site. As in the example above, you could give your readers a window into an event you’re attending, or keep them up to date on a specific hashtag, tweets about a certain topic from a specific geographic location — or anything your creative search mind can come up with.

This is just a brief introduction to get you started in the wide and wooly world of advanced Twitter search. Do you have any other great Twitter search tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

More Resources from Mashable

6 Twitter Search Services Compared
5 Terrific Twitter Research Tools
HOW TO: Use Twitter Hashtags for Business
15 Fascinating Ways to Track Twitter Trends

I must admit to have not really looked into Twitter search much yet but this very detailed and helpful post has whetted my appetite to investigate this myself now.

Posted via web from Ffynnonweb Foibles

Exploring Social Software

Update June 2010 :
This post was part of a research project into social media and online communication that I undertook in 2008 and was originally published on my own personal blog Ffynnonweb which continues to undertake a journey across the changing online landscape, observing and chronicling developments in social technology and noting how they impact upon online communities – with a particular focus on opportunities in education known as ‘technology enhanced learning’ (TEL).
Julia Ault

A full list of all the posts in the social media research project can now be found on this page Social Media Research: JA

The term ‘social software’ broadly refers to software that is mainly accessed via a web browser but which can also be downloaded to the desktop in some circumstances and enables the user to communicate and interact socially with others online.

Online social communication is the general overall theme of this blog and we have explored several methods in earlier posts, but the over-riding characteristic of social software in the Web 2.0 age is that of consumers becoming users and taking ownership of the web in a way that wasn’t previously possible.

Perhaps some of the better-known and more successful names in this area now are those of YouTube, Flickr, Del.icio.us, Twitter, FriendFeed, MyBlogLog and of course Facebook and Myspace. More of these sites are springing up all the time (indeed, you can subscribe to even more from this blog!) and therefore this list is by no means exhaustive.

YouTube was purchased by Google in 2006 and is a video sharing site offering free online facilities for users to upload, view, share, comment on and subscribe to video clips. It is not permissible to download these clips to the desktop, but users are able to copy and embed clips into other websites, blogs and social networks as desired. YouTube is an extremely popular website storing around 83 million videos amongst 3.5 million user accounts and its bandwidth requirements are huge. It is estimated that the bandwidth consumed by YouTube alone in 2007 was equal to the bandwidth of the entire internet in 2000.

As mentioned in a previous post Evolution to the Web, Flickr and Del.icio.us are both owned by Yahoo and allow users to upload and share their photos and bookmarks with others.

Social bookmarking services are a relatively new phenomenon and in some ways capture the very essence of the Web 2.0 philosophy. Hyperlinks (or more simply links), are at the core of the World Wide Web, as each site links to another, then another and so on. Whilst search engines are wonderful tools, it is never going to be possible to find every apposite or relevant link during one’s lifetime. It is quite possible however that another like-minded individual may have found just such a link and stored it in their browser bookmarks for future reference.

Social bookmarking tools allow users to upload their own personal browser bookmarks to an online database where they can not only retrieve them themselves from any computer with internet access, (Yahoo has facilitated such a system for years on their My Yahoo pages) but can share them with others, add to them at will and ‘tag’ them for referencing. Many blogs, articles and general websites – including those of major mainstream newspapers – now offer users the opportunity to add their content to Del.icio.us and other similar sites by a simple click of a button on the page.

Tagging refers to a non-hierarchical categorising method of adding freely chosen keywords to links or articles. Other users typing in the same keyword in a search will thus be able to easily find these links and articles. This method of collaborative referencing has been dubbed a folksonomy referring to a user-generated taxonomy (classification). Tagging has become a major feature of Web 2.0 social media and is routinely used throughout such applications for photos, videos, comments, forum and blog posts as well as bookmarks, thus enabling simple and easy sharing of relevant and interesting content with other like-minded users or ‘friends’.

The concept of ‘Friends’ in its online context has taken on a much more wide-ranging connotation than the generally accepted term in offline use which normally refers to members of one’s own personal social circle. Unless one is either famous or exceptionally popular, this social circle is usually reasonably small and intimate, made up as it is of people that are actually and physically known to a person in their real life.

Online friends are different of course, because the ‘global village’ that is the world wide web enables people to befriend others on the other side of the world without ever meeting them. This began to happen in the first web communities and forums when people were able to join groups that were not based in the same geographical area as themselves. This often led to personal bonds being formed between people (typically across the Atlantic because most web hosts and servers are based in the United States) but East to West communication also took place. I am firmly of the belief that such bonds greatly assist with tolerance and understanding of diverse cultures and is to be encouraged wherever possible. Many long-term international friendships have been nurtured in this way.

Web 2.0 social media applications take this concept one step further by labelling every online person you make contact with as a ‘friend’.

Twitter and Friendfeed enable users to share details of their everyday lives both on and offline by posting ‘tweets’ or short messages directly to the Twitter.com website, via text message from a mobile phone or from a small desktop application that sits in one’s system tray and pops up periodically when one receives a ‘tweet’ from a friend. Users may also send RSS (Really Simple
Syndication) feeds from their blogs or websites to Twitter to enable their friends to quickly read and/or comment on new content as it is created. Friendfeed is a service that collects and aggregates all such services in one single feed. Even more integration is made possible by Minggl an internet start-up company which has developed the Minggl browser toolbar (currently in beta), to allow access to all your friends from several different social networks in your browser sidebar.

MyBlogLog offers a blog tracking service with simple statistics and the opportunity to make ‘friends’ and follow the activities of others within the MyBlogLog family of communities.

The following images (again with grateful thanks to Dion Hinchcliffe) depict graphically how social media works in relation to Friendfeed and the other services discussed above:

Social Aggregation

Online Conversations

In our next article, we will be taking an in-depth look at Online Social Networks which are, in many ways, the all-singing, all-dancing successors to the MSN Communities that we discussed in an earlier post; Evolution to the Web.

Read the next article in the series:
Which Online Social Network?

Update June 2010: A full list of all the posts in the social media research project can now be found on this page Social Media Research: JA

Web 2.0 Inception

Update June 2010 :
This post was part of a research project into social media and online communication that I undertook in 2008 and was originally published on my own personal blog Ffynnonweb which continues to undertake a journey across the changing online landscape, observing and chronicling developments in social technology and noting how they impact upon online communities – with a particular focus on opportunities in education known as ‘technology enhanced learning’ (TEL).
Julia Ault

A full list of all the posts in the social media research project can now be found on this page Social Media Research: JA

In this post, we take a brief look at the inception of Web 2.0 as a general idea.

The term Web 2.0 was first coined at a conference in 2004 between O’Reilly and MediaLive when it was agreed that in the post dot-com boom era, those companies that had survived the 2001 ‘crash’ seemed to have something in common and that the web was becoming more important than ever. It was felt that the second generation of the web had arrived and thus the first of the annual Web 2.0 Summits took place that year.

The name caught on fairly quickly, although at the time there was some criticism to the effect that ‘Web 2.0’ was merely the latest buzzword with no meaning or substance behind it.
Indeed, one blogger wrote in 2005:

“I just wanted to say how much I’ve come to dislike this “Web 2.0” faux-meme. It’s not only vacuous marketing hype, it can’t possibly be right. In terms of qualitative changes of everyone’s experience of the Web, the first happened when Google hit its stride and suddenly search was useful for, and used by, everyone every day. The second—syndication and blogging turning the Web from a library into an event stream—is in the middle of happening. So a lot of us are already on 3.0. Anyhow, I think Usenet might have been the real 1.0. But most times, the whole thing still feels like a shaky early beta to me”

This was refuted with the argument that all new concepts tend to have a ‘meme’ or buzzword associated with them, as the idea takes hold and captures part of the prevailing ‘zeitgeist’ It didn’t necessarily make ‘Web 2.0’ any less relevant or tangible for being popular. It was pointed out that the reason ‘Web 2.0’ had gained ground so much was the general sense that there was something qualitatively different about the latest web applications and content.

To put it in the simplest of terms; Web 2.0 facilitates user generated content in ways that Web 1.0 providers never dreamed of. People have begun to realise that it is not the software that enables the web that matters so much as the services that are delivered over the web.

Although Google began life during Web 1.0, it was a web ‘application’ not a piece of software from the start, offering services from within the browser that were not sold as commodities, but were paid for either directly or indirectly by the user, generally through the use of advertising.

One area in which Google has achieved notable success is through its AdSense program.

The core competency of Google’s operation is data management – relying on the ‘long tail’ – in web terms this refers to the collective power of the millions of small websites that populate the web as a whole.

This has been described as one of the lessons of Web 2.0 for business:

”….to leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management, to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the centre, to the long tail and not just the head”. O’Reilly, (2005)

User Generated Content:

One may envisage Web 1.0 as being primarily autocratic in nature, consisting as it did of a plethora of websites imparting information to be passively absorbed or displaying an array of products and services that the user was invited and exhorted to purchase – with the only real interaction being of the ‘Add to Basket’ variety. While this particular type of interactivity can be hugely satisfying for both producer and consumer, there comes a point for the user (and his/her bank balance) when merely surfing the web with intent to purchase is not enough to retain the user’s attention. Continuing the retail thread for just a little while longer, one can observe that this fact has also dawned on some of the larger online retailers –Amazon being perhaps the best example to use here. Amazon is a company that survived the dot com crash of 2001 and has continued to successfully reinvent itself over the years, moving seamlessly into the area of user-generated content.

Amazon offers an intensely personalised experience for potential purchasers. One is encouraged to create a user account and is then able to make ‘wish-lists’ of desired purchases (these can be browsed by relatives looking for the ideal gift or even web surfers who wish to make a donation in kind to certain individual webmasters in thanks for the information received on the site), add peer reviews to items that one already owns to encourage or discourage future buyers, buy and sell second-hand purchases via Marketplace (very useful for students in assisting with course related text books that may only be needed for a short period of time) and give onsite feedback about such sellers and purchasers. This experience becomes ever more deeply personalised the more often a user visits the site, because a personal page is created based on previous browsing and buying patterns with ‘recommendations’ made about similar items one may wish to consider purchasing. This approach has proved to be so successful and popular with the general public that the name Amazon has become as synonymous with online book purchases as Google has with online search.

The Web 2.0 experience is not just confined to business transactions, of course. In fact, businesses are only just beginning to explore the notion that encouraging the use of ‘social software’ by its employees and customers can have a beneficial effect on the business as a whole, but that is definitely a subject for further study at a later date, perhaps.

In this series of essays, we do briefly touch upon Enterprise 2.0 and I am indebted to Dion Hinchcliffe – whom I dont actually know personally – but whose excellent articles helped me to understand some of the more technical aspects of Web 2.0 in the Enterprise and whose colourful graphics (properly attributed of course!) certainly livened up the presentation of my document! You can also follow Dion on Twitter @dhinchcliffe

Read the next article in the series:
Exploring Social Software

Update June 2010: A full list of all the posts in the social media research project can now be found on this page Social Media Research: JA