How to get your Twitter RSS feed using this simple hack

Twitter has eradicated RSS feeds from its web interface once and for all, following an update to the site’s search page today.

When Twitter launched its redesign late last year it subtly removed RSS feeds for users’ tweets. And while RSS feeds are still available, you have to be willing to jump through some extra hoops to access them.

Of course, there was some suggestion that their removal was accidental, but some 10 months  later this seems not to be the case.

Twitter Fail Rail

Credit: Twitter

When Twitter redesigned users’ profiles it left its search page, http://search.twitter.com, untouched. This page contained the last surviving link for users to access native Twitter RSS feeds. With today’s redesign of the search page this link has now been removed.

So, how do you access a Twitter search RSS feed?

There are two ways to access Twitter search RSS feeds.  The easy way is to use a third party site such as Topsy.com to access an RSS feeds for tweets (click the link on the top right).

The other option is to use Twitter’s native, but painfully difficult method below.

For more information about finding Twitter RSS/Atom links;

Since the redesign Twitter has left RSS/Atom links created using the previous search system active. These RSS/Atom feeds can still be found here http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=thesociable and http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=thesociable

To create a custom RSS/Atom feed all you have to do is change the last word in the above address (in this case thesociable) for the term you are searching for.

As an example, if you want to see the latest tweets about Ireland, simply replace thesociable with the word ireland, http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=ireland

But if you have a more complicated search you may need to “URL encode” your search terms. What this means is, if you are looking for any tweets with a specific #tag or tweets from a specific @user you will first need to change the # and @ signs into something Twitter can understand. This page over at Albion Research will do this automatically for you, all you have to do is copy in the search term and press “Encode” then copy the code it gives you into the address.

For example, if you want to search for a specific #tag (e.g. #epicwin) this URL will return a blank page
http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=#epicwin but this URL encoded address will return the latest #epciwins http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=%23epicwin

Twitter’s search API provides these links as examples for creating advanced search RSS/Atom feeds.  You can change the search terms to customise your search.

Now, this is where it gets complicated, say you want to search for tweets from a specific location containing a hastag. To do this you will have find the geocode for the location.  As a starter the basic address will look something like this, http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?geocode=40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25km.

Imagine you want to see all the #technology tweets coming from within 25km of Dublin, Ireland. First visit this page and input Dublin, Ireland as a search term. This will give you two numbers – 53.344104 and -6.2674937 – this is the Latitude and Longitude for Dublin.

To turn this into a search RSS/Atom feed simply include these numbers in the above address, like this, http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?geocode:53.344104%2C-6.2674937%2C25km.  The %2C25km in the address limits the search to users within 25km of Dublin, for miles change km to mi.

To search for any tweets using the #tag #technology within 25km of Dublin add %2C%23technology (“%2C” is a URL encoded comma and %23 is a URL encoded #). http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?geocode=40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25km%2C%23technology

[Update: 2011/10/08 - How to combine a keyword and a geolocation]

In the comments below 123deportesaqui asked how to combine search terms and geolocation parameters without a hashtag, so we did some research.

To search for tweets from a specific location without a hashtag you have to combine the geocode parameter (e.g. geocode:40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25km) with the standard search parameter and a space (or a %20).

So searches for the term “election” near Washington DC would look like this
http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=election%20geocode:38.895112,-77.036366,25km

For the same search near in Dublin you just have to change the geocode
http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=election%20geocode:53.344104,-6.2674937,25km

You can then combine these with boolean operators (AND / NOT) to refine your search. For example if you want to search for tweets from Washington DC above election but without the word “presidential” you can use the same search link as above but add %20-presidential%20 after the search term;
http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=election%20-presidential%20geocode:38.895112,-77.036366,25km

So, that’s it, the overly complicated way to hack a Twitter search RSS/Atom feed together.  Let us know if you find an easier way.

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Discussion
29 comments
MuskieMcKay
MuskieMcKay

According to Mashable and Twitter's own developer forum, all RSS feeds will stop working on March 5th. I think it may be possible to code up a workaround similar to this:

 

http://blog.muschamp.ca/2013/03/04/rss-feed-from-twitter-search-with-php/

 

But that is assuming you want to just read the RSS feeds, if you plan on publishing them or even displaying them that breaks Twitter's Terms of Service for use of their API. You need API keys even to search or subscribe to a timeline for Version 1.1 of the Twitter API.

DigitalBiscuits
DigitalBiscuits

just found out my feed had been turned off today :(...this method works like a charm though.Thanks! 

AntiHembrismo
AntiHembrismo

where I can find the geocode for Colombia???

LWZine
LWZine

Searching "thesociable follow -RT -" should give a feed of tweets asking @thesocialable to follow back but excludes almost all retweets. However I can't get it to work. How can I do this? Thank you for providing this great article btw

 

abcreditcard
abcreditcard

huh so now I know why I couldn't find it. Thanks for the heads up :/

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TheDigitalPost
TheDigitalPost

Thanks for providing this info as I've only just discovered the RSS feed option is no longer available on Twitter Search. I haven't got time to do this right now but I've tagged this page so I can come back to it.

haraldwalker
haraldwalker

Looks like all of the search.twitter.com... links stopped working since the latest Twitter update.

AndreasBossard
AndreasBossard

Thanks for the RSS-Generator @thesociable for the Twitter RSS Generator.

But the really interesting question this raises is: Why has it been removed? It was so useful have an RSS-Feed for monitoring Twitter for certain terms.

Will monitoring get integrated into Twitter?

mindrise
mindrise

I was jsut thinking of this an rss feeds on twitter would have been great for indexing

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RSA Course
RSA Course

Hiya, why would I want to use an RSS feed on twitter. What do I do with them, or what do you do with them?

Latest blog post: RSA Certificate

b.nijhoff
b.nijhoff

Thanks for sharing this really useful article. I wondered how to get the rss feeds on twitter these days. Thanks and keep on the good work.

Latest blog post: Conference call gmail

123deportesaqui
123deportesaqui

your article is very useful, the only thing I can not figured out is this, I want to search for example any tweets with the word technology (without #, is not a hashtag) within 25km of Dublin

I simply remove the "%23" before the word technology but it doesnt work, if I put again the "%23" works like a charm!

Any tip about ho to do this?

thanks

consument
consument

Thank you for that triggering article! Please could you advise?

I tried to get an RSS for special tags within 25km rang of my city. I tried to use geocodes but got this only running with hashtags not with search terms.How would you formulate the URL to get an appropriate RSS Feed?

ianonline
ianonline

Fantastic article, but what if you want to search excluding something?

An example search: thesociable follow -RT -"

This should give a feed of tweets asking @thesocialable to follow back but excludes almost all retweets. However I can't get it to work.

pdscott
pdscott

Hi @123deportesaqui This took us a while to figure out but I think we got it. It looks like for geocode searches with keywords the parameter "geocode=" is replaced by "geocode:"

So, searching for "election" in Washington DC returns

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=election%20geocode:38.895112,-77.036366,25km

and searching for the same in Dublin returns

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=election%20geocode:53.344104,-6.2674937,25km

You got me thinking about more complicated search terms and it seems you can use advanced operators in the RSS links;

I did a geocode search for Dublin for tweets containing the hashtag #rcw11 (Ireland was knocked out the Rugby World Cup by Wales today)

A search for mentions of the hashtag #rwc11 AND Wales from Dublin is possible, and looks like this

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=%23rwc11%20+wales%20geocode:53.344104,-6.2674937,25km A search for #rwc11 WITHOUT Wales from Dublin looks like

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=%23rwc11%20-wales%20geocode:53.344104,-6.2674937,25km

(the difference being the + or - before "Wales")

I hope this helps

thesociable
thesociable moderator

@consument So you're looking for an RSS which includes a search term, a #tag, from within 25km of a city?Let us know if this works - this searches for any tweets from within 25km of Dublin with the #tag #technology that also mention 'laptops' [ie %23technology = #technology and %2Claptop searches for laptops]http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?geocode=40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25km%2C%23technology%2Claptop

Let us know if this works

ianonline
ianonline

@thesociable My account is at @thequote and I have tried about 15 different variations but I think I have the answer:

http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%40thequote%20follow%20-from:thequote%20-RT=%22

This excludes retweets, my own tweets, and displays only thank you tweets and follow requests. feedvalidator.org says it does not validate, but two RSS readers seem happy with it and it does get me the results I expect. :)

Trackbacks

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