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Twitter search (in plain English)
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his video uses a metaphor of “Twitterville” to illustrate the opportunities to use the Twitter Search feature to find people and information, read news and discover emerging information.  It teaches how Twitter Search:

  • Helps businesses listen to customer feedback
  • Creates a real-time news source
  • Makes trending topics visible
  • Connects related information with hashtags

And the good new is... you don't need to have a Twitter account to search in Twitter Search. Try it out here:


First a quick message from Common Craft. This video comes in versions designed for use in training and education. Find them at

It seems like everyone is using Twitter these days. You know, sharing little messages with each other on phones and computers. It turns out that all these little messages, if you look at them all at once, become an easy way to find people, news and trends.

This is Twitter Search in Plain English.

Let's get started by visiting Twitterville.  This town represents all the people using Twitter. There are millions of them and they're constantly talking to each other and sharing information 140 characters at a time. The typical townsperson only sees a part of the messages, or "tweets" and that's fine - there are way too many to follow them all.

But if all the tweets could be captured and organized all the time, amazing things could be possible. The town would have a resource for knowing what's interesting and who's talking about it. This is what Twitter Search has done for Twitter - it captures and organizes every tweet so it's possible to find people and specific information in real time.

For instance, meet Roy of Ice Cream by Roy.  Other than the people who come to his store, he could never hear what customers said about his ice cream.  However, because everyone in the town uses twitter, he can now search for "Ice Cream By Roy" and see tweets from people who mention his product. Then, he can reply to say thanks or follow their future updates. Twitter search helps Roy listen to customers and make the flavours they want.

It's also a great way to learn about news.  When an explosion is heard outside of town, the townspeople report it in real time. This means that Roy can check Twitter search to find a constant stream of information, sometimes from the very people who experienced it. He can even limit the results to tweets near a specific location. It's news as it happens.

Every minute of every day on Twitter, people are using some words more than others.  Maybe the town has a new mayor, a concert came to town, or the same joke is being told over and over. If the most popular words could appear on a sign, a person just arriving in town could get a feel for what was interesting to the residents at the moment.

On Twitter, the most used words are known as trends and they're a great way to see what's interesting on Twitter. You can always find up to the minute trends on your Twitter profile, or at Clicking a trending topic shows the most recent tweets that include that word or phrase.

Sometimes, Twitter members work together and use a specific key word, called a hash tag, to connect related tweets. For example, people talking about elections may use the hashtag #vote to create the connection.  This way, by including the #vote tag, Roy can make sure his tweet is part of the discussion.

If enough people use the tag, it may become a trend, attracting even more people to the conversation.

Of course tracking these conversations is easy because Roy can search right on his Twitter profile. And if he wants to see results over time, he can save the search.

With Twitter, all the small messages are useful when shared between people, but by organizing all the tweets and making them searchable, we can learn what's on the minds of millions.
I’m Lee LeFever of Common Craft, and this has been Twitter Search in Plain English.


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