Learn 2 operators to drastically improve your searches for old tweets

Use case;

You saw the above manual retweet 2 weeks ago during a chat and now you want to find the original tweet to include it in a post. How do you find it in seconds instead of scrolling for minutes and being distracted?

How to:

Start by typing in the search box the one or two words used in the tweet and the hashtag if it took place during a chat.

from: to specify the author and be more selective

What is very efficient is to add the handle of the author. Just adding the handle will not work. You need to prefix it with “from:”. Easy to remember no?

  • A colon after a keyword is common pattern for advanced searches. Google, Windows10 use it as well. So it’s a good investment.
  • It’s efficient because most tweeps send less than 100 tweets per week. Combined with a hashtag it drops to a page per week.
  • From usability POV, it’s efficient because you are already typing. Moving to advanced search would take more clicks and cognitive load.

Let’s stretch this learning further.

until: the wayback machine

If the tweet is old we can do better. Twitter will allow you to search 1000 tweets only and scrolling pages after pages is cumbersome. Estimate what is the earliest possible date for the tweet, add two days (to lift timezones incertitudes), and place it behind until:

This is what I typed:

from @dpontefract until:2016-01-16 #lrnchat peeps

I got the tweet directly and placed in my post. Using this technique there is not limit in time, you can find any tweet. It’s a general pattern: combining two operators drastically narrows your searches.

Try something now:

Find a tweet from me (brunowinck) I wrote last year to get help about “mailing”
Hint: Move mouse here to reveal the hint Click this link for the solution 

Apply this in your work today in 5 minutes:

Dare take an occasion today to do a search on Twitter, because now you know how to do it efficiently.

That’s all Folks!

You learned “from:”, “until;” and when to use them

Simple, short and to the point. See you next Wednesday

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This tips was part of our “Search” serie. Search is important to seek information and resist to the temptation to keep everything