Twitter is a vast social media platform that is the source of incredibly large amounts of information – a whopping 500 million new tweets are sent out per day. It is essential for professionals in many fields – especially journalists, researchers, marketers – to search through Twitter effectively and efficiently for the information they need.
Twitter search operators are specific words, phrases, and symbols that can be used when typing in the search bar to narrow down search results. Understanding Twitter search operators and how to properly utilise them is essential for the gathering of information and data from the social media platform.
In this article, we will explore each of the Twitter search operators that any person with a Twitter account can utilise to enhance their searching experience. We will also examine how these can be extremely useful for professionals and explain how ExportData.io’s new tweet downloading feature can help.
Understanding the Twitter Search Operators
To understand how to optimise searches on Twitter, one must first understand the importance of using search operators. A search operator is any sort of additional component that can be added into a search bar to narrow down the results. This can include specific wording, phrases, and symbols.
Search operators are more commonly used on search engines, such as Google, to find exceptionally precise search results. By utilising the operators to set certain parameters, the person searching for information can find much more specific results that pertain to their query, rather than millions of results that only mention the topic at hand.
What many people do not realise is that Twitter comes with its own set of standard and free to use search operators. This allows for a user to look through tweets that are the best matches to the information they are trying to find. For instance, if a user wanted to search for politics but filter out any tweets marked as potentially sensitive, they would search add the operator
filter:safe into their search.
When using search operators, what is essentially happening is the technology that analyses tweets and produces the search results is modified to search according to specified limitations, such as searching for exact wording or filtering out unwanted tweets.
Below are the standard search operators that work within the Twitter search engine and how to use them. It is important to note that these are made especially for Twitter and may not work as operators on other platform’s search engines.
The Standard Search Operators
|search term||This is a default operator and does not require additional phrases or symbols. It simply allows you to type any search term and receive results of all tweets containing those search terms, though not necessarily in exact order.||Any wording and searches without additional phrasing or symbols fall into this category.|
|“search term”||Like the above operator, this searches for tweets with the words typed out. However, the addition of the quotation marks leads to search results with the words in the exact order and phrasing as they are written in the search.||
|love OR hate||This operator will search for tweets containing either “love” or “hate” (or potentially both), as well as whatever other search terms are used.||
|search term -search term||This will search for any tweets containing the first search term but that does NOT contain the second search term.||
|#searchterm||The hashtag is one of the most commonly known and used Twitter operators. This operator allows for anything following the # symbol to be searched. Hashtags can be featured on the trending page if enough people use them in their tweets.||
|from:username||In this operator, the user types “from:” plus a specific Twitter username to get resulting tweets only from that user. Combine this with specific words or phrases to find tweets from specific accounts about particular topics.||
|to:username||This operator will search all tweets sent to a specific account.||
|@username||This operator allows user to view all tweets that have mentioned a specific account by using the @ symbol.||
|filter:safe||Adding this operator onto a search will remove any tweets that have been marked as potentially sensitive from showing up in the search results.||
|filter:media||Adding this operator onto a search will narrow the results down to tweets containing either images or video.||
|-filter:retweets||Adding this operator with the negative sign at the beginning will filter out any retweets that may show up in the results for a specific search.||
|filter:native_video||This operator will give the user results that include the search terms plus an uploaded video, an Amplify video, a Periscope, or a Vine.||
|filter:periscope||This operator will give users results that include any search terms used plus a Periscope video URL.||
|filter:vine||This operator will give users results that include any search terms used plus a Vine attached to the tweet.||
|filter:images||This operator will give users results that include any search terms used plus links identified as photos, including third parties such as Instagram.||
|filter:twimg||This operator will give users results that include any search terms used plus a pic.twitter.com link representing one or more photos.||
|filter:links||This operator will give users results that include any search terms used with a link to a URL included in the tweet.||
|url:amazon||This operator will show users tweets that contain both the search terms and a URL with the word “amazon” within it.||
|since:YYYY-MM-DD||This operator will show users tweets that have been sent since the date provided.||
|until:YYYY-MM-DD||This operator will show users tweets that have been sent before the date provided.||
|search term -search term :)||This operator will show users tweets that contain the first search term but not the second search term. The addition of the “:)” will show tweets that are analyzed as having a positive attitude.||
|search term :(||This operator will show users tweets containing the search terms – the addition of the “:(” will show tweets analyzed as having a negative attitude.||
|search term ?||This operator will show users tweets containing the search term. The addition of the “?” will result in tweets that are asking a question.||
When searching through Twitter, users can either directly use Twitter’s search bar, or they can search by entering the operators into the URL. To do the URL method, the entire query should be URL encoded and then copied onto the end of “twitter.com/search”.
How Twitter Search Operators can be Helpful
There is a ton of information that can be gathered for analysis and use from Twitter. This can be useful for both professionals and individuals when trying to find specific information about a topic. Using Twitter search operators can help users to do such things as:
- Find interactions between specific users
- Find positive or negative opinions about a topic
- Collect real-time data about things such as weather or traffic conditions
- Analyze the general attitude of a group of people about a topic
- Filter out unwanted results
When it comes to professional use of Twitter search operators, three fields, in particular, can benefit from knowing how to properly utilise the search operators to get highly specific search results: journalism, research, and marketing.
With the world becoming more and more digitised, it is crucial now more than ever for journalists to know how to utilise social media platforms to gather information and sources for news stories and reports. Twitter’s search operators make it easy for journalists to search through information on topics, especially when it comes to looking for statements on a specified topic from one person in particular.
There are many ways in which journalists can use Twitter creatively to locate information. For those reporting on politics and current events, Twitter’s search engine and operators can particularly helpful. This can also be an excellent way to find potential sources for stories.
With politicians increasingly using Twitter’s platform to spread messages and get in touch with the people they represent, knowing how to quickly search through political information on Twitter is a must. Journalists can use the search operators to find interactions between politicians, statements from politicians on hot topics, and much more.
For instance, perhaps a political rally has just occurred, and the reporter is looking for images and videos alongside first-hand information from attendees. They could use Twitter’s search operator
filter:media alongside different keyword and search terms to seek out the desired documentation of the event.
Another example is when journalists want to confirm statements made by certain politicians on Twitter. The reporter could use the search operator
from:username plus whatever keywords in a statement they are looking for to find out if that statement was made and sent from the politician’s account.
Current Events and Sources
Using Twitter’s search operators is also a great way to get in the moment updates about ongoing current events. Journalists can use the
since:XXXX-MM-DD operator to find the newest tweets about an event going on. They can also use the quotation mark operator
“search term” and the question mark operator
search term ? to find specific details about an ongoing event.
Additionally, using the search operators that scan for negative or positive attitudes regarding a topic can be used to find potential sources or eyewitnesses for a story. Using the operator
to:username is another good way to find potential sources to get quotes from if a story is about a particular person.
Researchers, especially students or professors working within an academic environment, may not find their first instincts to point them in the direction of social media for information gathering. In truth, however, searching through Twitter is a great way to find potential research subjects, take general notes about public opinion, and gather data.
Potential Subjects and Popular Survey
Like with journalism, the operators used to gauge general attitude towards a topic can be highly useful in finding potential subjects to study and for gathering information for a future survey of popular topics amongst certain demographics.
love OR hate operator, in particular, is a fantastic way to find a spectrum of opinions on a given topic that may lend themselves towards suggesting trends or supporting hypotheses about social interactions. Moreover, the ability to look at interactions between accounts through the use of search operators can help researchers to gauge how the general population behaves in a given circumstance.
Data Gathering: All of the operators can, in one way or another, by applying in a way to gather data for a research project or analysis. Being able to filter out specific words or phrases from a search query’s results is crucial for finding highly-specific information. The ability to search for tweets that were sent before or after certain dates can be equally important.
Brands and Marketing
Learning how to properly use and apply Twitter search operators may be exceptionally important for professionals in the field of branding and marketing. This is because Twitter hosts millions of users who often express their delight, disdain, or indifference towards certain brands or products. Being able to effectively search through these opinions is crucial for gaining useful insight into a marketing strategy.
By searching exact words or phrases with the quotation mark operator, marketers can see what the current consensus about a brand or product is with users on Twitter. By using the operators that gauge positive or negative opinion, they can also potentially foresee benefits or drawbacks of a particular marketing strategy.
For marketers working for businesses with established reputations or pre-existing online audiences that utilize social media hashtags to promote their brands, being able to search through specific hashtags is extremely important.
This is because it allows for the marketing team behind a brand to monitor the overall reception of a hashtag being used and intervene if the hashtag provides more harmful opinions than positive opinions. Using search operators overall is critical for keeping an up to date understanding of how the public is perceiving the brand.
Download Tweets with ExportData.io
Being able to properly download tweets in a file format that is easy to use and analyze is key for any professionals or individuals looking to include examples of real tweets within a research or a body of work. Analyzing tweets is a great way to gather information and find sources. Additionally, downloaded tweets can be good media to include in product reviews, written analyses, and similar projects.
Downloading tweets is also a good way to save data and information if the Twitter account from which they are exported is deleted, or if the tweet itself is deleted. This will also help to back-up information in the event of Twitter’s platform crashing, thus protecting the downloaded tweets from being lost to cyber-space forever.
Download Tweets Using ExportData.io
ExportData.io is a Twitter data export analysis tool. We allow customers to download Twitter followers, followings, account timeline and export tweets by hashtag or keyword. We export data in CSV and Excel formats. All available fields in reports can be found on our website.
The newest feature at ExportData.io is the ability to download and export specific tweets according to parameters set by a search query. Users will be able to use standard Twitter search operators to search for tweets within our product, streamlining the process so that it can be done completely through our technology.
Once a customer has completed their search, ExportData.io will show sample tweets for the search query. If they are happy with their query results, the customer will then be able to order an export of all available historical tweets. These tweets can be exported in both CSV and Excel formats.
Additional features offered by ExportData.io include:
- Exporting the latest tweets from a specific hashtag that have been sent within the past 10 days.
- Extracting a list of media files, such as images, gifs and videos.
- Extracting linked website URLs.
- Receiving reports within 15 minutes.
- 24/7 support via online chatting or email.
Twitter search operators can greatly impact the way we interact with and understand the social media platform. They allow for highly specific query results that can aid in both professional and personal searches. Understanding how each of these works is key to utilising Twitter’s search bar to its fullest potential.