Being able to monitor Twitter in a useful way for links is something I’ve been thinking about (okay, fretting over) for a long time. Nuzzel helps to a certain extent, and I have a couple of columns in TweetDeck that keep an eye out for the more obvious search terms, but for the most part it’s hit and miss. Happily I think I may have resolved this search problem — with the help of someone on Twitter.

Andréa López showed up in my Twitter timeline via, I believe, a retweet. She had posted an excellent thread on Twitter search operators. I knew about most of them but not all. I looked at them, and thought, “Okay, I can make a great search, but how can I monitor it?” Then I found a solution to that as well.

In this article we’ll take a look at some Twitter special search syntax you might not know about that’ll help you create laser-focused searches — and then I’ll show you a tool that lets you save these searches as RSS feeds.

Schooled by Andréa López

Ms. López’ thread about Twitter search filters is available at https://twitter.com/bluechoochoo/status/994281215208259584 . The thread is a little disjointed (as threads get when a lot of people are participating) and I don’t have the space to cover every special search operator here so I’m going to hit some highlights. In the meantime if you want more information on Twitter’s special search syntax, I recommend this article from Sprout Social: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/twitter-search-operators/ . But back to Ms. López. I didn’t know about the following Twitter search syntax.

Filter:follows

You search the tweets of only people you follow. As you may have guessed this doesn’t work by itself; you’ve got to add keywords. Let’s look at the results if I did this search:

“Online database” -researchbuzz filter:follows

(I have to exclude researchbuzz as a keyword or I just get a bunch of my own tweets.)

screenshot from 2018 05 19 06 29 10

The first thing you’ll notice is that the leading tweet is from 2009! Have people really not mentioned online databases on Twitter since 2009? No; if you’ll look at the menu bar under the search term, you’ll see that the result listing is set on “Top” instead of “Latest,” which is basically the Twitter version of sorting by relevance instead of sorting by date. On the other hand, if you click on Latest, you’ll learn something else.

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