Social Media

Search Twitter like a pro – how to find the latest images & photos being tweeted

Twitter image search and instagram
Via Twitter/Instagram
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Users have always been sharing rich content on Twitter, indeed one of the earliest examples of the power of the site, and the value of instant rich media, came early on in the site’s development when user @jkrums tweeted this message.

That was back in 2009 but it was only in 2011 that we really began to see Twitter integrating rich media into users’ streams: so not only do we now have the ability to instantly tweet audio, video and images but we can now immediately see the rich media other users are tweeting.

But how do you find this content within all the noise?

Twitter image search and instagram
Via Twitter/Instagram

If you are following a news story or if want to see what, if anything, people are tweeting about your brand you’ll probably regret not looking at the rich content that users are broadcasting on Twitter.

Yet, finding tweets that contain these media hasn’t become any easier in the last few years.  Twitter’s advanced search page doesn’t contain any tags that allow you to specifically search for audio, video or image content.

So what if you want to search for images about a topic, or any videos being tweeted from a specific user.  Perhaps you want to know when a user has released a new audio track or podcast.  One option is to use Topsy.com’s Twitter image search, the other is to generate your own Twitter search and RSS URLs straight from the source.

In this first tutorial we’ll look at tweeted images. Over the week we’ll show you how to search for tweets containing video and/or audio content.

You might also want to look at our guides to creating Twitter RSS feeds for users’ profiles or Twitter RSS feeds for lists or Twitter RSS feeds for search terms or our Twitter RSS feed generator.

Get tweets that only contain images

Using Twitter search we looked at finding tweets containing a keyword and links to image/photographic content.  Since Twitter supports a known (and expanding) number of image sharing sites we began by looking at these.

Let’s imagine you want to search for images being tweeted about New York, you will first have to specify the image sharing sites and then add your keyword.  We’ve already done this for you.

The URL  below will show you tweets that contain links back to the most popular image sharing sites (if we’ve missed any let us know in the comments and we’ll update the post).

You’ll see the link is composed of one keyterm (New York) and the URLs for eight image sharing sites (pic.twitter.com, flic.kr, flickr.comtwitpic.com, yfrog.com, twitgoo.com, pinterest.com, instagr.am, imgur.com).

Tweeted photos of New York

https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/new york pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR twitgoo.com OR pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR flickr.com OR imgur.com

RSS for this search is

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=new york pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR twitgoo.com OR pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR flickr.com OR imgur.com

To discover tweets with images that mention a specific user simply change the search term (?q=New York) with the user’s name (e.g. ?q=nytimes).

https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/nytimes pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR twitgoo.com OR pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR flickr.com OR imgur.com

RSS for this search is

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=nytimes pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR twitgoo.com OR pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR flickr.com OR imgur.com

But what if you only want tweets from a specific user (e.g. @photojournalism) that contain images?  To get this change the search term  (?q=nytimes) to include the word “from:”, and their username – ?q=from:photojournalism.

https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/from%3Aphotojournalism pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR twitgoo.com OR pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR flickr.com OR imgur.com

The RSS for this search is

http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=from:photojournalism pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR twitgoo.com OR pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR flickr.com OR imgur.com

You can add these links to your Twitter client of choice (just copy and paste the links’ search terms, e.g. nytimes pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR twitgoo.com OR pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR flickr.com OR imgur.com).

As for the RSS feeds, you can edit and add these to Google Reader or any other RSS client.

Tomorrow we’ll show you how to search for video content on Twitter.

2 Comments

  1. Cannot wait to see what you do with the Poppy fabric – I LOVE it! BTW…just got my string quilt back from the longarm quilter – I did a black and white string quilt with the apple green binding. It is stunning! Thanks for the inspiration…hopefully you believe that the greatest form of flattery is for someone to “copy” you!!

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).