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Twitter Search: Find people local to you

Trying to find people local to you, but getting frustrated with Twitter Advanced Search still not working correctly?

Being able to use the internet to search for what you want is a skill in itself. In our office we often refer to the ability as ‘Google Foo’: the ability to know the most effective search terms to find the results you really want.

And if you thought using a search engine effectively was hard, it’s nothing compared to the Twitter search. Especially when it comes to the limitations of their advanced search options.

In November 2013, everything was working fine and searching for local people was as easy as pie:

1. Go to advanced search.
2. Enter your location in the ‘Near this place’ box.
3. Click Search.
4. Click People (on the left hand side).

… Et Voila! People within a 15 mile radius of the location.

You could then refine the search even more by changing 15km in the search box at the top to 1km (which was usually the most accurate).

Do that now for, let’s say Bedford, and you just get results for the UK, no matter what you do. Nothing approaching Bedford at all.

So what do you do?

Well, first, like any good Twitter citizen, you try to contact Twitter Support. Cue a post support ticket, receive automated response saying ticket has been resolved and closed, post ticket again loop. Not very helpful.

Try their support forum. No response.

Try searching the forum for others with the same problem: lots found. Problem reported by Twitter as fixed. Two months later (to today’s date) problem still occurs.

Then we found another solution…

Geocodes!

For more information about geocodes and what they are, see this article on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocoding

As an example, here’s what you do to search for Bedford:

1. Go to a geocode site to find the code for the location you want to search. We like mygeoposition.com as it enables you to easily copy the geocode with one click.

2. Enter your location, in this case Bedford UK, and click enter.

3. Check the map to make sure it has given your correct location.

4. Copy the geocode (you need both the x and y co-ordinates separated by a comma). On mygeoposition.com just click the button marked ‘Copy x,y’.

    Eg. For Bedford the geocode is 52.1359730,-0.4666550

5. Now go to Twitter’s Advanced Search (making sure you’re logged in) https://twitter.com/search-advanced

6. Scroll down to the ‘Places’ and in the ‘Near this place’ box paste the geocode.

7. Click Search. This gives you tweets within 15 miles of the location.

8. To get people near your location click ‘People’ on the left handside.

9. If you want to search a smaller radius, especially if you’re looking for people in a small town, try changing within:15mi in the search box to within:1mi.

And… Eureka! You’re back in business finding people in your local area.

To see our example for a 2mile radius search of Bedford UK click here
https://twitter.com/search?q=near%3A%2252.1359730%2C-0.4666550%22%20within%3A2mi&src=typd&mode=users

To see a 2mile radius of Biggleswade (our lovely home town) click here:
https://twitter.com/search?q=near%3A%2252.0869380,
-0.2642200%22%20within%3A2mi&src=typd&mode=users

Looking for more Advanced Search Tricks? See Twitter Search Tricks

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