I love hockey. Sometimes when my social media and security friends threaten to block me on Twitter if I won't shut up about the San Jose Sharks I often check to see which of my hockey "tweeps" are around. If none are, I go to Twitter Search to find some solace. Unfortunately, many of the tweets I find say, "I wish @mediaphyter would shut up about hockey." I'm not finding actual fans who are currently engaged -- or stay engaged throughout the season.
I always wished there was a way to search my follower bios for times just like that. Even if we are already mutually connected, it's not like I have my follower profiles and interests memorized! Alas, Twitter Search only focuses on tweet content. Today, Damon Cortesi, the developer of popular tools such as TweetStats and DM Whacker, has released his TweepSearch tool, which allows Twitter users to keyword search the profiles their followers. Earlier this week Cortesi gave me a sneak peek of the tool, which I used to search my followers for:
- Common interests so I could start conversations / follow back if I wasn't yet following them
- Professional affiliations / expertise for story sources and / or my own education
- Finally, and most important, to truly learn more about them. Who makes up the demographic that engages with me?
These tactics apply whether or not you have a mass amount of followers. Pretty cool, huh? I asked Cortesi why he created this. The project, in actuality, was a proactive response to a passive idea.
"After the phishing attack on Twitter users, a Twitter user by the name of Seth Simonds used my DM Whacker to clean out his inbox. A few days later, he made a comment regarding being able to search his followers based on profile content. Always one for a challenge, I started looking into how I could build such an application," Cortesi said. "A couple days later and I had a beta for @SethSimonds to try out. A large proponent of making useful utilities available to the general public, I began work on a Web site that I could make available to all Twitter users. Part of the motivation was simply that the concept fit in well with my already existing Twitter stats site, TweetStats."
It works pretty well. The below is a screen shot of the search I used tonight to see if any new hockey fans were following me:
The tool shows whether or not you are currently following the folks who show up in the search and also allows you to sort by "last update" or "screen name." You can also link directly to follower profiles from the search.
Cortesi is currently working adding some additional functionality, such as geo-based searches, as well as the ability to search the bios of all "active" tweeters, keeping a small backlog of followers' tweets so you can search by your followers, functionality to follow and unfollow directly from TweepSearch, the addition of an API and adding indexing of all your friends, in addition to followers.
"I fully expect Twitter to release a bio search a few hours after I release this effectively rendering it useless," Cortesi said. "Nevertheless, its been very interesting diving in to the technology necessary to make this site a reality. On the flip side, Twitter is amazingly useful, but as each person's use of it grows the challenge to be able to manage it appropriately grows as well."
Go ahead, give it a whirl.