Searching Through Web Content, Part Two of Three, Twitter

It’s not known how many Twitter users there are now. It is estimated to be about 18 million at the end of 2009. That’s a lot of information flying around the web. So how do you sort through the tweets about what Ashton Kutcher’s doing and what someone had for lunch and find information you can use?

I use HootSuite, but other popular programs like TweetDeck and Seesmic allow you to save a search. Here’s how it works in HootSuite. I have the option to save a column in the window. I can have Search Term, KeyWord, or group users together. For example I have a Keyword column called Illustrator|Photoshop|InDesign. This finds all the Twitter feeds that have those Keywords in them. I find tutorials, and advice on the Adobe programs I use.

Search Columns can be very powerful. You can customize your searches to find words, exclude words and focus your searches.

Here are examples of ways to search for information on a company called Luxul Wireless:
“luxul” and “wireless” = searches for tweets that contain both words
“luxul wireless” = searches for the exact phrase
luxul or wireless = searches for one or the other
luxul -wireless = searches for luxul but not wireless
luxul since:2009-02-02 = search for luxul since the date entered
luxul until:2009-02-02 = search for luxul up to the date entered
luxul filter:links = searches for luxul tweets with a url in the post

With these options you can tweak your searches to find exactly what your looking for.

Another way to find info about a certain topic are Twitter HashTags. HashTags are words that follow the # symbol. For example #HomeAutomation is a HashTag used to focus information about Home Automation products and services. The idea is to let people follow subjects instead of people to find what they are looking for, or post to others with their interests. I use the site hashtags.org to find HashTags on subjects I am interested in. I then set up searches to watch Twitter and report to me when someone posts to those Hashtags.

So there you have it, with a little bit effort you can find the information your looking for, monitor what people are saying about subjects your interested in and really keep you eye on Twitter.

In part three I will discuss how to set a web search to deliver content to your inbox.