To the user, the interface is the technology.
So if you are like me, always on the lookout for the cleanest and best interfaces, you might want to give Twitter Search a go now. It flows much better and is less cumbersome to use.
I particularly enjoy the tips Twitter is providing us with for using Twitter Search.
What are Search Operators?
This is effectively a set of shortcuts allowing you to find the right things, from the right people. And for about a year now, from the right places. Clicking on the link “operator” will get you all search tips nicely displayed for you. Especially the location based searching tips are very powerful.
I am using them myself quite frequently, especially as I have just moved to San Francisco and am quite clueless where the cool kids are hanging out. So here are my 3 top tips from the Search Operator:
- “happy hour” near:”san francisco”: This will show you great bars and restaurants with a happy hour in San Francisco. I have also tried this with “startup events” and got some great results
- near:NYC within:15mi: Another great way to use location is to search for restaurants, bars or events simply within a certain distance, by putting “within” in your Tweets
- “:)” What I found particularly stunning is to measure sentiment with Twitter. Put any search term in and add a “:)” or “:(“ to filter only positive or negative results
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Advanced Twitter Search
By clicking on “Advanced Search” you are able to set all of your search terms individually without using shortcuts. It also offers you more advanced search options, different from what is displayed in the search operator.
Especially the language filter is something that I found particularly useful. Apparently, “Buffer” is a frequently used word in a language I don’t understand at all. (I think it’s Malay). It used to make keyword search very difficult.
In general you can play around a lot with advanced search and it is fortunately very easy to find the things you are looking for with the new UI.
How far back can I search?
One big problem many experts are still pointing out is that Twitter Search only reaches back 7 days.
In order to really turn into a fully fledged search engine, I believe that a longer period of time to search through your Tweets is dearly necessary. Of course it is easy ot say so here, without knowing about the technical difficulties.
The additional $800m in funding Twitter received recently should hopefully help. Oh and the emphasis on what is happening now, might also point towards the fact that Twitter isn’t too interest in searching back longer than 7 days.
Are you using Twitter Search more often too since the recent changes? What are the main reasons you like to use it for?