Useful Twitter search tool: PostPost

By Sharon Machlis 

Like other Twitter devotees, I encounter a lot of useful tidbits on Twitter. But while a tool like Tweetdeck allows me to more easily monitor lists of people and subject-specific hashtags I care about, it still relies somewhat on serendipity: that I'll see what I need when I happen to be monitoring.

But what if I want to search for something specific on Twitter among people I follow? Unfortunately, Twitter's own advance search page only offers up tweets that are fairly recent -- and there's only an option to narrow by specific accounts, not "my stream." Tweetdeck lets me search my stream, but only in a limited timeframe. If I want to search tweets from the last few months, you'll need another tool.

PostPost creates a searchable index of your Twitter stream that lets you look for tweets by term and then filter results by specific Twitter account. You can also narrow tweets based on whether they include links, photos or videos. This can be helpful if you're trying to find a tweet that you sent last year ("What was that cool mapping site I shared?") or, even tougher, a useful tweet that you know you saw awhile back, but you can't remember from whom. Or, perhaps you're researching a new subject and want to see what some of the smart people you follow on Twitter have had to say about it over the past few months.

PostPost today is touting an additional feature that aims to show you a personalized "trending topics" -- just among people you follow. I'm not finding this especially useful, perhaps because my timeline is being flooded by comments about the new iPad. Trust me, I don't need a tool to tell me the iPad is a "trending topic" among people I follow. And given that my list is weighted toward data-visualization topics, I don't need PostPost to tell me that "#dataviz" and "Web design" are popping up on my "Timeline Topline."

This particular feature might be more helpful if your Twitter timeline is somewhat broader subject-wise than mine is. But while I'll pass on the PostPost Timeline Topline algorithm, I'd still recommend PostPost for its original purpose: finding useful nuggets in your Twitter stream. If you want to look through more of your social networks, Greplin will index multiple sources including LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Docs as well as Twitter. But if you know that you're just seeking info on Twitter, PostPost is a useful option.

PostPost search results

Search results on PostPost

Sharon Machlis is online managing editor at Computerworld. Her e-mail address is smachlis@computerworld.com. You can follow her on Twitter  @sharon000, on Facebook, on Google+ or by subscribing to her RSS feeds:
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See more by Sharon Machlis on Computerworld.com.

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