Saturday, May 10, 2008

Using Summize to Create Filtered Group Views

In a recent post at the GetSatisfaction Twitter forum, @sorenj asked if there was a way to create filtered views of the people that he is following.

Specifically, he said:

I'm interested in limiting what posts I see from time to time, topically. For example, if I'm having a conversation with fellow bloggers, I might want to filter my view (via tag) at that time to just the bloggers I follow. If I want to see what my family and friends have said in the past couple of hours, I'd rather just filter by family and view those posts. etc.
I think this is a great idea for a Twitter third-party application to implement. Perhaps if we're lucky, the folks at Twhirl or Twitterific will see fit to add this functionality to their respective apps.

Until that happy day comes, however, we can use the Summize Twitter Search to create filtered group views.

It's a bit of a pain at the start since we have to explicitly enter the names of the people we want to see together in the same group, but once we've got the search parameters the way we want them, we can bookmark the URLs and visit them any time.

Also, there's the added bonus that Summize notifies us in real time of new search results that have come in which match our search parameters.

So, for example, if I wanted to see recent updates from @paisano, @pistachio, and @skalik as a group, I can enter this search string in Summize:
paisano OR pistachio OR skalik
(Click the link to see search results)
As you'll no doubt see, our search parameter is too open-ended. It also return @replies that other people have sent to our three friends. Fortunately, we can use the minus operator to tell Summize to filter out tweets that are @replies to our friends by using this search string.
paisano OR pistachio OR skalik -@paisano -@pistachio -@skalik
(click the link to see the difference)
You can use the advanced search page to enter people's names under "any of these words" and enter the @username versions of their names under "none of these words"

The method is crude, but it works, and can be easily used over and over again once the URLs have been bookmarked. 8-)


Edited to add:

Thanks to the first comment below from diego, I just realized that there's a simpler and more accurate way to achieve the desired search results using Summize: use the FROM operator with the OR operator.

For example: from:paisano OR from:skalik OR from:sorenj

Also, this exact same search capability is supported by the Flaptor Twitter Search. In their case, the operators are AUTHOR and OR.

For example: author:paisano OR author:skalik OR author:sorenj.