How To Use Twitter Search – Advanced Guide by @Luca

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Since Twitter bought summize in 2008 the best way to search Twitter is Twitter Search. You can search the full Twitter Archive through the Twitter web search. While most people are familiar with basic search queries, only a few know all advanced operators and filters as some aren’t documented (yet) by Twitter.

Do you know how to find all Tweets that quote a Tweet by a specific user? Or how to find Tweets that are either in German and got 100 Retweets or in English and got 1000 Retweets but less than 10 replies?

Basic Search Queries

Per default, Twitter interprets a space as an AND-operator. The following two queries do the same. They show results that contain all of the terms in the query. It doesn’t matter in which order the terms appear in the Tweet (or the name of the user who tweeted it).

fresh van root
fresh AND van AND root

If you want to find Tweets with at least one of them instead of all of them, you need to explicitly state it with an OR between each term.

fresh OR van OR root

For an exact match, you add quotes.

"fresh van root"

Finally you sometimes want to exclude Tweets that contain a certain term.

fresh van root -http

Advanced Filters

Often a basic query isn’t enough. There are billions of Tweets and you are looking for a very specific one. These advanced operators will help you narrow the search down. Be aware that some of them become less reliable when they are used in combination with older timeframes (older than 10 or 30 days).

OperatorDescription
since:2019-05-06Tweets published at or after the date. (UTC +0)
until:2019-05-07Tweets published before the date. (UTC +0)
from:Luca Tweets that are not marked as sensitive media. Tweets published by a specific user.
to:LucaReplies and mentions for a specific user.
lang:deTweets in a specific language. Language is detected by Twitter on a Tweet basis. “und” for Tweets where Twitter was unable to determine a language.
near:Berlin within:5km[unreliable] Tweets that were posted in specific locations and optionally within a certain range.
min_faves:5Tweets with at least that amount of faves.
-min_faves:100Tweets that have fewer faves than specified.
min_retweets:10Tweets that were at least retweeted that many times.
-min_retweets:3Tweets that were retweeted less than that many times
min_replies:70Tweets that got a minimum amount of replies.
-min_replies:8Tweets that got fewer replies. (max_replies does not work)
filter:followsTweets by accounts you follow.
list:Luca/ScienceTweets by accounts on a specified list.

filter:verified
Tweets by verified accounts.
filter:imagesTweets with an image.
filter:linksTweets with an URL.

filter:media
Tweets with a video or a photo.
filter:retweets[only works with the API or with “include:nativeretweets”] Retweets.
filter:quoteTweets that contain a quoted Tweet.
filter:repliesTweets that are a reply.
filter:mentionsTweets that mention a user.
filter:videosTweets that contain a video.
filter:native_videoTweets that contain a video, that was directly uploaded to Twitter.
filter:news[unreliable] Tweets that contain a URL to a news source.

filter:safe
[unreliable] Tweets that do not contain sensitive material.
include:nativeretweetsAllows you to search through retweets as well. Especially useful in combination with from:account or filter:follows.

Complex Queries

You can combine all of the things above until you hit the 128 character limit of web search. Longer queries are only possible with the Premium API.

from:luca since:2019-05-06 until:2019-05-07 filter:media min_faves:5 -lang:de

The query above shows all Tweets from me, that were published on 06.05.2019, contain an image or video, got at least 5 faves and aren’t in German.

If you want to have different criteria for different languages (eg. because German Tweets get fewer faves) you can add parentheses.

filter:replies (lang:it min_faves:10) OR (lang:de min_faves:5)

Replies that got at least 10 faves if they are in Italian or 5 if they are in German.

While there is only the character limit as a hard limit, some more complex combinations don’t work. Try to remove parts of a query until you get a result. Sometimes it helps to use more parentheses to make sure that you don’t combine requirements that exclude each other.

Quoted Tweets

To find Tweets that quoted a specific Tweet, you search for the URL of the Tweet you are interested in.

twitter.com/luca/status/949226802240684032

You can search for all Tweets that quote Tweets of a specific user by searching for the profile of that user while excluding Tweets by that user.

twitter.com/luca/ -from:luca


Twitter is fast, loud, crowded and the search is not very user-friendly. If Twitter is your favorite social network and you characterize yourself as a heavy user I recommend spending some time to figure out how to put Twitter search to work for you. The best way to start learning how it works is to copy some of the parameters shown in this post to a separate browser tab and start customizing the search queries.

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Luca Hammer

Luca Hammer

Studied communication and media scienece. Blogging since 2006. Working on blognetz.com, exploring new tools to communicate and helping other people to use them.