Twitter tip: How to search tweets without signing up for TwitterNot quite ready to join the tweeting masses? I can relate. But just because you haven’t signed up for Twitter doesn’t mean you can’t scour Twitter for nuggets of useful info, reactions to breaking news, play-by-play commentary from tweeting sports fans, and more.

Twitter Advanced Search page

Twitter’s Advanced Search page will let you pinpoint tweets with smileys or frownies.

Indeed, you can dive head-first into the Twittersphere without ever signing in.

That’s because almost every tweet on Twitter is viewable by the entire world, save for the relatively few Twitter users who have locked their accounts.

Twitter boasts a powerful search tool that lets you pinpoint tweets by specific users, hashtags (those keywords or phrases with a “#” before the first letter, like “#Facebook” or “#IHateMondays”), date ranges, or even by location.

You can even filter your results to see only tweets with smileys (“:)”) or frownies (“:(“), or tweets with a question.

Best of all, your Twitter search results are updated in real time—perfect for following, say, a fast-moving Wimbledon match.

Twitter search Photos results

Clicking the “Photos” filter will give you a neat-looking mosaic of tweeted snapshots.

So, ready to search? Let’s get started…

  • First, skip the main Twitter home page and head directly for Twitter’s search site (http://twitter.com/search). From here, you can plug in search phrases, names, hashtags, you name it—and no, you don’t need to sign in to Twitter to search.
  • So, get some search results? Try the filters in the left column to narrow the torrent of tweets. For example, click People to find users with your search term in their Twitter handles, or Photos, Videos, or News to see only tweets with images, video clips, or web links to news articles. (Clicking the “Photos” filter will give you a neat-looking mosaic of tweeted snapshots.) Want to see only tweets from Twitter users near you? Click the Near You link in the left column.
  • By default, Twitter’s search results only show you “top” tweets—that is, tweets that are being heavily retweeted, replied to, favorited, or otherwise interacted with. Want to see each and every matching tweet instead? Find the “Top / All” toggle at the top of your search results and make sure “All” is selected.
  • Twitter search new results

    Click the alert to see all the new tweets since the last time you refreshed your search results.

  • Keep an eye out near the top of your results; every once in awhile, you’ll see an alert that reads (for example) “39 new results.” Click the alert to see all the new tweets since the last time you refreshed your search results.
  • If you want to get a little more specific about your search, click the Advanced Search link in the left column to jump to Twitter’s Advanced Search page. Once there, you can search for exact words and phrases, tweets that don’t have a particular word, tweets near a specific city, tweets in a certain language, or tweets directed to or from one or more Twitter users.
  • The Advanced Search page also lets you search for tweets within a particular date range, handy for finding tweets from the past rather than the here and now.
  • Last but not least, you can find tweets with smileys and frownies by checking the boxes in the Other section, at the very bottom of the Advanced Search page. Only want to see tweets with a question? Check the “Question?” box.

Got more Twitter questions? Post ’em below!

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