I recently had a question: How do I search my own tweets for an old link I might need or a great quip I had made? The problem with Twitter‘s search tool is that it’s time-limited. You can search your tweets by prefacing the search keyword with your Twitter username, but the search results will only go back a week or so. This is a pretty serious limitation of Twitter’s search functionality.
It turns out there is no good tool for searching your past archive of all tweets. Google will search tweets, but it’s not at all easy to limit that search to just your own tweets.
The best solution I’ve found requires a little forethought. First, you have to archive your tweets in a searchable location. I use FriendFeed, which also archives my Delicious bookmarks, StumbleUpon finds and blog posts. Here are some other places where you can archive your tweets.
If you start the archive now, it won’t be much help in finding tweets from 6 months ago, but at least you will have a searchable archive going forward. However, if you already have a FriendFeed account or similar Twitter archive, you can use the search tool there to search through your past tweets. I use FriendFeed’s advanced search, so I can limit the search to just my feed by entering my username in the “Specific friends/groups” box.
If you just want to search links, BackTweets may help. It enables you to search links posted on Twitter, and it expands shortened links. Unfortunately, you can’t search only your own Twitter account.
A better solution is to archive your tweeted links on a searchable platform. Packrati.us fills the void. It automatically archives every link you tweet to your Delicious bookmarks. It will even tag the link with each hashtag you add to the tweet. This has been a real timesaver for me, because I like to share useful tweets on Twitter and then save them on Delicious, which used to be a two-step process.
Speaking of Twitter, now might be a good time to spring-clean your Twitter account. I just went through my followers list so I could block questionable followers and make sure I was following back the interesting people. I also cleaned up my Twitter lists. Mashable suggests some good tools to help.
The best tool on the list, I thought, was UnTweeps. This tool finds all of the people you’re following who haven’t tweeted in a while (30 days or more) and lets you quickly unfollow them. Twitter Karma also seems like a cool tool. It shows who you’re following and who’s following you back. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work for me yet; it depends on how busy Twitter is when you run it.