Social Media

How to get your Twitter RSS feed using this simple hack

Twitter fail-whale
Twitter fail-whale
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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.

86 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

        1. @ianonline@thequote Nice, you can also change the .atom with xml, rss, json depending on where you want to use the feed.

          Pity we now have to go to this length just to get an RSS feed

  4. @ianonline@thequote Nice, you can also change the .atom with xml, rss, json depending on where you want to use the feed.

    Pity we now have to go to this length just to get an RSS feed

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

    1. @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

  7. @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

  8. […] Este excelente artículo en The Sociable detalla minuciosamente como podemos crear manualmente feeds RSS que se pueden usar en Google Reader u otros lectores. Es razonablemente simple hasta el momento que incorporamos ubicaciones geográficas. Lo esencial es que esto permite el uso y creación de nuevas búsquedas en caso de ser necesario. Noten que las búsquedas ya existentes han seguido operando normalmente y se espera que lo sigan haciendo.  […]

    1. @t4dream Hi, looks like a Twitter error or they are cracking down on RSS feeds. But this works for us; log into Google Reader then click here

      http://www.google.com/reader/view/#stream/feed%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fsearch.twitter.com%2Fsearch.atom%3Fgeocode%3D40.757929%252C-73.985506%252C25km%252C%2523technologyAfter that you can create a bundle http://www.google.com/reader/view/#bundle-creator-page).This will give you an RSS feed like thishttp://www.google.com/reader/public/atom/user%2F17483832053062992854%2Fbundle%2FTwitter%20Search

    2. Hi @t4dream Try this for #technology near NYChttp://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23technology%20geocode:40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25kmAnd the same for Dublinhttp://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=%23technology%20geocode:53.344104,-6.2674937,25km

      (you might have to copy and paste the URL into the address bar – the auto linker is cutting it off at the comma)

    1. @t4dream Hi, looks like a Twitter error or they are cracking down on RSS feeds. But this works for us; log into Google Reader then click here

      http://www.google.com/reader/view/#stream/feed%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fsearch.twitter.com%2Fsearch.atom%3Fgeocode%3D40.757929%252C-73.985506%252C25km%252C%2523technologyAfter that you can create a bundle http://www.google.com/reader/view/#bundle-creator-page).This will give you an RSS feed like thishttp://www.google.com/reader/public/atom/user%2F17483832053062992854%2Fbundle%2FTwitter%20Search

    2. Hi @t4dream Try this for #technology near NYChttp://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23technology%20geocode:40.757929%2C-73.985506%2C25kmAnd the same for Dublinhttp://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=%23technology%20geocode:53.344104,-6.2674937,25km

      (you might have to copy and paste the URL into the address bar – the auto linker is cutting it off at the comma)

  9. 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

    1. 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

  10. 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

    1. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

  16. 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?

  17. 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?

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. What are good tips to get a job in PR using social media in the UK?…

    My ‘quick tip’ would be to use the Twitter search facility and search for relevant KW’s (i.e. copywriter UK, Press release UK). Trawl thorough the tweets and contact (tweet) anyone of interest. Rinse and repeat regularly. If you want this task autom…

  21. 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
     

    1. humm, does this work for you >> follow -RT to:thesociable << which generates an RSS like this one http://j.mp/NmibHR 

  22. 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.

    1. #61: The so called &##e20;enlight2ned&88221;, open minded, holistic society that lives in the NYC Metro area in reality have loud mouths, closed minds, expensive taste (and CC debt to go with) and will personally attack those who disagree with them.

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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).