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.

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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