Stay on the Conversation with Twitter Search

November 25, 2010, By Christian Cawley

The popular social networking and microblogging service, Twitter, features millions of new messages every single day. Some of these messages are private, but the majority are public, and feature a range of opinions, comments and thoughts.

As there are so many different messages, it can be difficult to keep track of conversations and topics. A result of this is that Twitter employs “hashtags” – tags that are used to describe the subject that is been Twittered about, prefaced with a “#”. So for instance for news about Windows 7, you might expect to see a tag in the form “#windows7” following or preceding the main post from a Twitter account.

Using Twitter search

Part of the impending revision of Twitter is an update to their search engine that allows you to browse the service for conversations, posts and thoughts on pretty much any subject under the sun – all you need to enter is a search phrase or hashtag to reveal the results you’re looking for!

Using the Twitter Search Engine

The Twitter search engine is a pretty powerful tool which will yield fascinating results.

To begin with, you should go to twitter.com – the search tool is in the middle of the screen. You don’t need a Twitter account to use this tool, just a subject to search for.

For instance, if you search for “devicemag”, the search engine will reveal posts on Twitter from the official DeviceMAG account (twitter.com/devicemag) as well as retweets and updates from the site’s various contributors. This is a good way to find Twitter updates about more generalised topics

However, if you were to enter “#windows7” (or any other term preceded with a “#”) then posts that are specifically about that particular subject (or from accounts that are about that subject) would be returned. As a result of this, you can regularly view a search in order to keep tabs on a particular topic.

Save Twitter Search Engine Results

In order to regularly access the same Twitter search engine results, you will need to have a Twitter account, which can be setup via Twitter.com/signup.

With your account setup and signed into, you can then use the search facility to return results on a topic you are interested in. Rather than repeatedly perform this search, you can use the Save this search button that appears to account holders when they perform a search. These results can then be accessed via Home > Searches. This is ideal if you plan on performing the same search on a regular basis.

Other Ways of Using Twitter Search Engine Results

Rather than just login to your Twitter account and check the search engine results, you can bring them home to your desktop computer or even mobile.

In the search engine results page, check your browser’s address bar – you should notice that there is an RSS feed icon displayed. If you can’t see this, the link RSS Feed for this query will give you the same results – your Twitter search in a form you can easily setup in a desktop RSS feed reader (such as in an email client) or on a web based RSS aggregator, such as an iGoogle page.

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