It’s very rare that I go to the twitter web interface to read tweets (in their soon to be quaint 140 character limit form); like many I rely heavily on the multiple stream view of columns in Tweetdeck.

Left side is my full stream which I barely look at; next is a column for a list I call “frienz” which are really the ~120 people who’s tweets I look at regularly. Then there are a few columns for various hash tags, direct messages. To me, it’s almost what the power of creating a collection of blog feeds in a news reader as compared to just visiting a list of blogs.

So I have an impending dilemma in the ramp up of #western106 the open version of #ds106 I am prodding. There is going to be tag slop.

I almost never want to ask people to use multiple tags. So some people will use just #western106, some will add the #ds106 because that’s a more general audience, and some will cover their bases and do both.

I have done all 3 this week.

The thing I did not want to have to do is to set up a #western106 column to sit next to my #ds106 one.

I tried a little experiment with the search box. If I put #western106 #ds106 in, what I see are tweets that used both hash tags. An intersection. It’s AND logic. It’s not what I want.

106 AND

You can see the same results via the web search interface.

Then I wondered what would happen if I used an OR in the search too, #western106 OR #ds106, and now I see tweets that use either tag (or both)! BAM! It’s a Union. It’s OR logic. It’s what I want.

106 or

You can again see the same results via the web search interface.

And this is much more useful.

Comparing my #western106 OR #ds106 column with my #ds106 one you can see my second tweet in the left column, with just a #western106 is of course not in the right column.

western or 106

And that you can see a tweet like the one from Paul Bond, with just a #ds106 tag in the right, is in my new column on the left.

106 or 2

Some dexterity with logical expression goes a long way in all kinds of search tasks. As an undergraduate student in the late 1980s at the University of Delaware, I took this special self-paced course in Logic (rightfully so from the Philosophy Department) where we had a workbook and a series of assessments. Heck, it was no different from a lot of online courses now.

And it worked.

I got logic in my head (only some if it, I sure do a lot of illogical things every day).

Add a little bit of OR to your searching. I bet you could construct some complex queries, maybe fleshing them out on the twitter advanced search page.

Here I set up a search for all tweets containing the words disruption and education exclude ones that include Gates and also ones that mention @audreywatters:

advanced search

And yep, it produces some tweets!


including of all things the voice of Don “In a World…” Lafontaine

I can copy the search terms in the field in the upper right, and use them in Tweetdeck


From here I can make a column out of this because I need to track this stuff.

So how can you step up your twitter search mojo? Just doing a column on a hashtag is pretty ordinary. Now you have a trick.

Top / Featured Image Credit: “A Confidence Trick – JM Staniforth” by Joseph Morewodd Staniforth – Evening Express (Wales). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Hunh. Tweetdeck. I have been attempting to use Hootsuite, but I am often baffled by it. I’ll try it your way n see what happens.

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