How to Master Twitter Search: Searching for Tweets by Device

Since writing my last post about Twitter search, I’ve found a few terms that you can use to get even more from searching Twitter. The most interesting one I’ve found is “Source”, which lets you filter Tweets by the device from which they are sent.

Here’s how to use “Source”:

“Source” works like the filters mentioned in my previous post about Twitter search. In case you don’t want to skim through the entire article, it means means is you can’t use source on its own: you need to use it in combination with a standard Boolean query, such as “OR” or “AND.”

Next, you need to be using a program that actually displays where Tweets are coming from. The main Twitter site does not have this feature (I’m not really sure why that is). I suggest using Hootsuite. Not only does it show the device from which Tweets are coming, it’s also a great social dashboard.¬†You can save searches as streams, so you don’t have to keep inputting them in later, which saves heaps of time when you are working with complex searches that use many filters.

Lastly, you need to make sure that the string you are searching for with source matches how it is displayed in Twitter. Diving into a few sample searches in Hootsuite should give you all the information you need.

The two most common mobile devices you’ll see in these searches are “Twitter for iPhone” and “Twitter for Android.” You’ll need to put the entire string inside parenthesis following source to get it to return the correct results.
And example search that shows all the people Tweeting from Android phones about iPhones.

iPhone AND source:”Twitter for Android”

One thing to keep in mind: “Source” gets confused if you use the old school ReTweet terminology. So if you see RTs coming from iPhones when you clicked on that example search, it’s because they are ReTweeting Android users. With new ReTweets, it’s the opposite. The original device source is displayed. (It makes no sense, but that’s part of why Twitter’s so charming.)

I’ve been testing this search feature on a bunch of Twitter clients, and it seems they all work. Here’s a list of the ones I’ve found so far to get you started:

iPhone — source:”Twitter for iPhone”
iPhone* — source:iOS (used to capture all Tweets sent from within iOS7)
iPad — source:”Twitter for iPad”
Mac — source:”Twitter for Mac”
Android — source:”Twitter for Android”
Windows Phone — source:”Twitter for Windows Phone”
Hootsuite — source:Hootsuite
Tweetdeck — source:Tweetdeck
Twitter.com — source:web (the Twitter homepage.)
Sprout Social — source:”sprout social”
Tweetbot — source:”Tweetbot for iOS”
Seesmic — source:seesmic
Instagram — source:Instagram
Google Glass — source:”Twitter for Glass”
Buffer — source:buffer
IFTTT — source:”IFTTT”

I’m sure there are more out there. If you happen to find any, please feel free to message me and I’ll add them to the list.

I’d love to know all the creative ways people have used “Source” to get better results in Twitter search. If you have any examples, please send me a Tweet or add a commend below. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy searching!


Mr.  David Benson is a social media analyst and coffeephile. He currently lives in New York City and works as an analyst for Mashwork, a social media analytics company.


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