X-Raying Twitter Is Easy

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X-Raying Twitter for member bios has just become really easy. We don’t have to struggle excluding the non-bios via something like

…-inurl:lists -inurl:members -inurl:hashtag -inurl:status -inurl:statuses…

That is because Twitter has recently added a new separate view with “Tweets and replies”. A URL for the “Tweets and replies” ends in /with_replies, while preserving all of the bio information.

Therefore, we now have two ways to X-Ray for bios only:

site:twitter.com inurl:with_replies [add keywords]

(easy!) – or, if you like to get to the original profile URLs for some reason, you can search for

site:twitter.com “Tweets and replies” -inurl:with_replies [add keywords]

When X-Raying Twitter bios, you can use Google search syntax to find people with certain ranges numbers of followers or following, or find those who joined within a certain Month/Year range:

Of course, we have little control over the keywords appearing in the bios vs. in the tweets that were present on the bio page when it was indexed. That is true about the location names as well. We could search for “San Francisco” or “Atlanta GA” and hope that we find these words as locations and not in tweets, but we would need to check.

Why can X-Raying be useful? My former favorite Twitter bio search Tweepz, created by the same people who are behind the Exalead search, stopped tweeting last November and the site shows some signs of decline. On the other hand, Google’s advanced syntax and proximity search expressed via the asterisk * may help to do some creative searches.

I wish Twitter would put some labels by the bio and by the location for easier X-Raying. I hope it will! Now, while it’s not easy to “isolate” the bio, it is possible to X-Ray for tweets of a given person – or any person. The elements status and statuses in the URLs let us do that:

It is possible to X-Ray for Lists as well. Here is an example:

If you are an expert in advanced Boolean searches on Google, you’d be surprised, but in this context you can search for lists that include a given twitter handle by using that special character in the search string, @, that never helps to find email addresses on Google. Take a look:

Finally, Twitter can also be X-Rayed for popular hashtags:

This concludes a brief investigation of the now-easy twitter X-Raying.

Of course, Twitter itself has Advanced Search and Twitter List search – those and the real time search Topsy (acquired by Apple last year) provide nice search capabilities. But some of the above searches they can’t do.