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Thursday, Jul. 12, 2012
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Law Practice Management Tip

Searching Twitter

Twitter can be a great tool to find useful information. Professionals commonly use Twitter to share developments in a particular field, discuss a new service offering or highlight an interesting case. Unfortunately, Twitter does not organize tweets by subject matter, so finding information on a discreet topic can be difficult. Rather than reading hundreds of tweets to find information on a particular topic, you can use Twitter's search tools to find exactly the information you want.

A basic search is simple. You pick search terms and type them into Twitter's search box. For example, if you are interested in whether tweets can be subpoenaed in litigation you could search for "subpoenaed" and "tweets." The results contain both terms. If you have misspelled a word, Twitter will suggest a corrected option with the search results. These suggested corrections are NOT as comprehensive as those on search engines and appear to only correct some words, such as celebrity names, so type carefully.

Twitter's Advanced Search offers tools to refine your basic search. For example, you can search for an exact phrase, specify words that should NOT be in the results, search for tweets to or from a particular Twitter account, or search for tweets originating from a particular city (called the "Near this place" option). A full list of advanced search operators is here.

You can combine the Advanced Search options to deliver more specific results. If you want to find Boston Twitter users discussing whether tweets can be subpoenaed in litigation, you can add the "Near this place" option to the sample search above to find Twitter users within 25 miles of Boston using the words "subpoenaed" and "tweets" in a tweet. Or, if you want to determine what a particular Twitter user has been saying about a topic, you can combine the option for tweets from a user (called "From these accounts") with a search term. Thus, you could search for tweets from @jaredcorreia containing the word "marketing" to get Jared Correia's latest tweets on the topic of marketing.

Advanced Search also allows you to search by hashtag. Hashtags are dedicated words or phrases preceded by the "#" symbol (without quotation marks). A Twitter user labels his or her tweet with a hashtag to identify the tweet as related to the subject of the hashtag. For example, the hashtag for LOMAP's recent Super Marketing Conference II was: #superconf. Any tweet containing #superconf, regardless of the words used in the tweet, related to the conference. A recent MBA LPM Tip covering how to filter and archive Twitter posts by hashtag can be found here.

You can also search for tweets via a search engine know as Ice Rocket. Ice Rocket's specialty is real-time search of Twitter and other sources. When reviewing Ice Rocket's Twitter results, you can hover over a Twitter user's profile picture to see a snapshot of that Twitter user including their location, number of followers and tweets, etc.

Use these search tools to find exactly what you seek on Twitter.

Tip courtesy of Scott L. Malouf (@ScottMalouf), Law Office Management Assistance Program (@MassLOMAP).

Published July 12, 2012

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