BioTweeps - Biography Searching Hints and Tricks for Twitter

"Social" - (adjective) seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
"Networking" - (noun) A supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.
I've been getting a lot of questions lately on how to search the biographical information of people on Twitter.
Here are a couple of the types of questions that friends have asked me:
Q: Is there a way that I can search the bios of people that follow me so that I can find out which of my followers are from (insert bio fact here.)
Q: Is there a way that I can search the followers of someone else so that I can find additional people I would like to follow?
Although it would be very smart of Twitter to have a good biosearch tool (along with some good analytical tools, too - hint, hint), there isn't a built in search tool from Twitter that allows you to do it. Fortunately, it didn't take me very long to find a couple of great resources that let you search biographical information from Twitter users.
Twellow is still a great Twitter biosearch tool. See my previous Twellow review to see some of the great resources that Twellow lets you search. One additional resouce that I didn't mention, was that you can log into Twellow with your Twitter username/password, and find out additional information on your followers.
TweepSearch is a very good product that has taken upon itself to index the Twitter biographical information that Twitter should have done itself. Damon Cortesi is the brainchild behind TweepSearch, and he has some great services (like TweetStats) that he's created for Twitter analytics, too. TweepSearch allows you to search amost 2 million Twitter biographies. It also leverages that Twitter API to let you see which of your search results are following, or are not following you already.
So, let's say that I want to find out which of my followers are "lawyers OR attorneys OR barristers" but not in law school. This is a two-step process:
1. Put in the Twitter username you want to evaluate:
2. Now put in the search terms you want to locate within your friends or followers:
It doesn't have to just be those that follow you. It can be anyone on Twitter. So, if I want to run the same search on Kevin O'Keefe, I can do that too. Plus, I can also see which of those I'm following or not.
NOTE: Add "only:friends" or "only:followers" if you only want to search 'Friends' or only want to search 'Followers'.
There are a number of other advance searches that you can also do on TweepSearch:
  • Name Search: I want to find Twitter usernames that are "lawyer" related. (name:Esq. OR name:Lawyer OR name:Legal)
  • Location Search: Put "location:" and the name of the location (location:Houston librarian)
  • "But Not" Search: Put a minus sign "-" in front of words you want to exclude ("law firm" -lawyer)
  • Proximity Search: We librarians love this type of searching that allows you to find words within a few words of each other. However, in the 140 character world, this may have limited value ("security law"~3)
Bio Searching tools like Twellow and TweepSearch are great resources to help you find people on Twitter based on their biographical information. I also suggest for those of you on Twitter that put garbage in your bios (such as "I'm too complicated to explain in 140 characters"), it may be time to put something a little more meaningful in your bio if you want others to find you.
Happy Hunting!!

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Emily C. Rushing said...

Great post! And thanks for all your good advice on finding tweeps!

Rita said...

This is some of how I decided who to follow. Started with librarians, then lawyers then marketers, etc. Works well.

Billboard Trucks said...

Thanks you very much for this useful post!!!!!!!!!


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