Have you ever needed to find an old tweet? It’s nearly impossible. Twitter search doesn’t go back more than a few weeks and most social media tools only show recent tweets. Today, Topsy saved marketers everywhere by introducing what Twitter promised to release but hasn’t – the ability to search the entire history of tweets. If you’re running a contest on Twitter there wasn’t a reliable way to see all of the entries. Additionally, it was hard to gauge the success of your campaigns. Now there’s a much easier way.
First a short history of Twitter search tools. Twitter did release a tool to download and search all of your own tweets. There is the standard Twitter search but again, they don’t go very far back, and it’s not that reliable. In February, Twitter expanded their search from beyond a few days (but didn’t say how long back, noting that “the Tweets that you’ll see in search results represent a fairly small percentage of total Tweets ever sent.” Like Facebook, Twitter has an algorithm and uses it to determine what tweets are visible. “We look at a variety of types of engagement, like favorites, retweets and clicks, to determine which Tweets to show.”
BackTweets helps you search through your tweet history for tweets that link back to your site. It found no links for our campaign from just two months ago.
Twimemachine searches your own tweets (but not all of Twitter).
Bonus: this Twitter tool searches to see if a profile or domain is taken.
The great thing about Topy’s search is that you can search by link and it will show you the influencers who shared that link. You can use it in your reports for clients and to reach out to influencers who have already shared your content to do things like thank them or continue the dialog. Since most of the tweets didn’t include @avalaunchmedia in their tweet, this is a way to capture some tweets you may have missed. Make sure you click “all time” to see all results or you can filter by date range.
Here are some tweets from when I first joined Twitter, 6 years ago. Note that you can reply, retweet, or favorite a tweet directly from the search results, without having to leave Topsy.
Power User Tips
- Sort results from oldest to newest or show newest tweets first but using the sort function next to the search bar at the top of the page.
- Get an email whenever someone tweets something new that fits your search criteria by selecting “get email alerts” by clicking the gear to the far right of the search bar. Previously I used infoxicate to set up a custom alert for this.
- Search within a certain person’s tweets and further define your search using the gear menu options.
This is what Twitter should’ve done first, but Topsy beat them to it.