Twitter Search

April 27, 2009

Say as you were returning from lunch you overhear someone mention a plane landing in the Hudson River. When you return to your computer, you might check several news websites to get a story. Or you could try a Twitter Search.

If you had done a Twitter Search in January, on the day the plane landed in the Hudson River, you would have seen a tweet by Janis Krums. He is the rescuer who posted the first picture of the accident from a cell phone on a nearby ferry boat.

Twitter Search for Breaking News

Have you ever seen four fire engines head down Broadway, then an hour later Google “fire Broadway Nashville,”  only to find that nothing? Local news sites also coming up empty? What was going on? Why can’t I find it on Google? Does this sounds familiar?

Retrieving current information on local occurrences can be challenging. Yet with so many Tweeters now reporting from their cell phones, there is a good chance that an eyewitness mentioned it on their Twitter. Twitter Search offers a way to find real-time updates on just about anything. Type in a topic and search will turn up any recent tweets with those words included.

Twitter Search helps businesses too

We saw how friends might use Twitter to make casual comments to a group. Unlike the office water cooler, Twitter comments are very public – meaning all these casual conversations can be found. Why is this useful?

Businesses can use Twitter Search to find out what people are saying about their company. Say someone tweets to their pals about the Olive Garden restaurant. Olive Garden’s management could search twitter.

  • i love olive garden now that i figured out i can get soup and not that gross salad
  • I like that Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden myself
  • Is there really a Culinary Institute of Tuscany, like in those Olive Garden commercials?
  • Heading out to Olive Garden tonight

Some tweets give honest opinions on company issues, like menu choices or commercials. Others may be less direct, but  Olive Garden can still see who dines there. Companies would normally pay marketing firms to identify customer preferences, now Twitter offers the same data free.

Want to see what people think about your branch library? Check it out on Twitter Search. You’ll see some compliments that will make you smile. But you’ll also see some comments about what we could do better. Anything that gives such candid feedback is a good thing to watch.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Do a Twitter Search for:

Nashville Public Library


Your branch library

2. Did you find anything? Let us know in the comments.


uconnseton@Peabody Twitter for emergencies. Got it. But I still don’t see why a friend would care if I’m at Bongo Java.

@Stella I watched the UConn game at a sports bar last week. No one cared when UConn was down, but I could commiserate with friends on Twitter.

@Peabody Instead of just sending eight separate text messages to eight friends, you sent one tweet to all your friends with Twitter?

@Stella Right. And my friends tweeted back – 8 friends talking on Twitter. And my buddy Dan came to watch the 2nd half because of my tweet.

Twitter is a good way to keep up with friends

Last week we talked about how Twitter could be used during an emergency. But Twitter is also useful for casually keeping up with your friends and family.

For instance, you wouldn’t email all your friends just to say you’re watching basketball. And you’d feel foolish emailing all of your friends to tell them you’ll be in Kentucky for the weekend. But your friends might like to hear about the little things that are going on in your life. These little things help us feel connected in between times when we can talk to each another.

So, my brother might tweet “Headed down to Bongo Java for some coffee and cake.” That’s not really worth a phone call or email to 30 people, but it is a fine thing to mention in passing. And who knows, maybe a friend is up for some cake. Because of Twitter you could have an impromptu meet-up, much like we used to stop in when we saw someone out on their front porch.

Twitter is a great way to spread the word

Twitter is a way to know what’s going on outside your own circle. Say you’re on the bus headed for work and you overhear someone talking about the rumored Keith Urban video shooting downtown. You might know one person who’s a Keith Urban fan, so you could email your friend. Or you could tweet the news to your circle of friends on Twitter. Now, anyone you know who has a friend who likes Keith Urban can spread the word to their friends. Without Twitter, the news may have spread much slower in your circle.

With emails, blogs, or texts, we message people we know – our audience is limited. Twitter lets to spread the word to an entire circle of people who can then spread the word to their circle of friends.

Twitter is great for businesses and organizations

If you’re wondering how a business might use Twitter, Comcast is one of the the best examples we have seen. Visit the ComcastCares Twitter page and you’ll see what we mean. You’ll see dozens and dozens of @ replies where the Director of Digital Care it talking to customers who have tweeted to @ComcastCares. If you’ve got a problem with your Comcast service, just tweet a message to @ComcastCares and the Digital Care rep will tweet back and try to help. It is simple, direct and personal.

Starbucks also reaches out to customers through Twitter. Wondering if you should store your coffee in the freezer?  Curious to know a coffee similar to the seasonal Christmas Blend? If you have a coffee question, tweet it to @Starbucks and Brad will get back to you.

H&R Block used Twitter to respond to tax questions. Amazon and Dell often post special deals on Twitter. These are just a few of the ways companies can reach out to customers through Twitter.

You’ll even find the library experimenting with Twitter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, visit the Nashville Public Library Twitter page. You’ll see tweets about upcoming events and even questions about the very first Online Book Club pick. Who knows where it will go from there?

What do you think of all this Twittering?

Do you tweet? Do you follow anyone on Twitter? There’s no activity on this one, so just share your thoughts in the comments.

Twitter can help you broadcast important news

Last Friday afternoon, hundreds of people used Twitter to report on the severe storm in Middle Tennessee:

3429072089_d4a56a34d4_o#mboro – tornado touchdown on broad at 840. take cover.

Reported Tornado Touchdown in Murfreesboro, TN

Emergency services are responding to reports that people are trapped in Murfreesboro, Tenn. after tornado hits; homes destroyed.

The Carpenter’s House church in Murfreesboro is open as a shelter for those affected by the storm.

Thompson lane and Murfreesboro road area is shut down to all traffic

Yeah, there’s a LOT of damage in Murfreesboro, where i live…massive tornadoes here…but me and my family are safe 🙂

If you are in or around Murfreesboro, please stay off cell phones. Cell towers taken out and police need the lines.

My dad says his house in Murfreesboro is ok! Thank goodness.

Heard about the tornados in Tennessee. Are you safe?

Yep. I’m good.

Just heard from in-laws who live in Murfreesboro that it looks like they came through the storms without damage.

Glad to hear all my #murfreesboro bandmates and friends are ok after the #tornado

In emergency situations, getting the word out quickly is paramount. After the storm, the first concern is letting everyone know that you’re safe. Cellphones make this an easy task, but you have to make calls to a lot of people. Meanwhile, your friends and family are all frantically dialing all the same people. This is not ideal for keeping emergency communications channels open for rescue workers.

Twitter, makes spreading the news much quicker. One tweet from your cell phone can let all of your friends know if you’re okay. In turn, your friends can retweet your news to further spread the word among your peers. This frees up the communication channels and allows you to reach more people with one text.

Another unique thing happened: Twitter connected the online community to the event as it occurred. Eyewitnesses, local residents, media, and weather agencies, were tweeting information, pictures, and links. Twitter satisfies your curiosity to know what is happening. And it allows you to leverage the power of many people to find the information you need during and after an emergency.

What do you think? Do you see a future with this kind of communication?

We’ve only had voting open a week, but since tonight is the finals for REAL madness, we thought we’d post our finalists.

Here’s the bracket as it stands now:


Twitter really did get the highest number of votes – this isn’t just some stunt to introduce our Twitter Month. Really.

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the Twitter How-to. And stay tuned for more Twitter all April-long!

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Let’s Tweet (64)

April 6, 2009

@Peabody What’s Twitter?

@Stella Twitter lets you to send short messages, called tweets, to your friends, family, or anyone who is interested.

@Peabody Why would I want to do that? How is that different from email?

@Stella Read this post. Maybe it will help clear up what Twitter is.

Twitter is most like a Blog

Your posts (or tweets) appear on your Twitter web page. Anyone can visit and read your updates.

Unlike a blog, your twitter doesn’t have to stick to one topic. The posts are much shorter. They include any comments you make to others, so the conversation is not limited to a single page.

Twitter is sort of like Text Messaging

Text messages are short, private notes sent from one cell phone to another. Twitter also lets you send messages from your cell phone, but tweets are public messages shared with many people using phones or the web.

With text messaging you must know the phone number of the person you are contacting. With Twitter, all of your contacts will see your tweet, as well as anyone who visits your Twitter page.

Twitter is even a little like email

You can also use Twitter to send a private message to someone else on the service. These messages are delivered to a special Twitter inbox. Unlike email, you don’t have to know an email address or add a descriptive subject line.

Here’s how it works:

Stay tuned!

Wondering why anyone would bother with Twitter? You’re not alone. We will share some practical uses for Twitter over the next few weeks.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Watch the “how-to” slideshow (above).

2. If you go to TLA, sign up for Twitter and tweet something (idea you like, comment, or just a shout out) to @TNLA.


Check out the TNLA Twitter page and keep up with the conference.