This page is part of the Twitter location search resource on Thoughtfaucet which contains tutorials for Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, examples, caveats and how to find latitude and longitude in order to make a geocode.
If you manage a lot of social media profiles on different services then chances are you’ve used Hootsuite. But what if you only want to see chatter that is near a specific location? Like the town you live in or a city you’re about to visit?
You can configure a search stream on Twitter to just show tweets from a specific location. This is helpful for anyone who wants to listen to a local area and find out what people are saying.
Use Twitter as your own open city-wide chat channel via Hootsuite by following these very simple steps.
Step One: Figure out what the Geocode for your area is.
See this short tutorial for getting your geocode coordinates. For this tutorial, I’ll be using searches centered on Burlington, Vermont as examples.
Step Two: Add a new Hootsuite stream for your geocoded Twitter search.
In the upper left corner of the Hootsuite interface, just below where you enter a tweet, there’s an “add stream” button. Click that button to add a new stream for your geocoded Twitter search.
Step Three: Select Twitter as a source for your stream and then search as the kind of stream.
A preference pane for your new Hootstuite stream will appear after you’ve completed the previous step. Hootsuite will default to using Twitter as a source, but just to be sure check to be sure that Twitter (1) is highlighted. Then in the right portion of the prefence pane, select the Search (2) tab.
Step Four: Enter a geocode query into the search field of the Hootsuite stream prefence pane.
This is where the magic happens. Here is an example of a geocoded search query:
If you want, you can copy and paste this code right into that search bar and be done. The rest of this tutorial is probably mostly interesting for locative media geeks.
The first part of this string, #btv, is any text you want to use in your search. In this example, I’ve used the hashtag for Burlington, VT, which is named for our airport code. If you don’t care if any particular words are in your location-based twitter search Tweetdeck column (say that five times fast) then you can just start with the next part.
The magic words which allow you to search near a location are next:
The first word, geocode:, tells Twitter that we’re going to be sending it some map co-ordinates. The first number is the latitude of your location, which you should have retrieved back in the first step of this tutorial. Then a comma. Then the longitude, which you also should have retrieved at the start of this tutorial. Then another comma and then the radius.
The largest radius Twitter will accept is 2500km. Sadly, this isn’t large enough to cover all of the US without moving the center of the geocode. Don’t worry though, there’s a link to a reference collection of geocoded Twitter searches at the bottom of this post.
Step Five: Hit the “Create Stream” or “Save Changes” button in the Hootsuite preference pane and you’ve got a location-based stream.
Hootsuite will now create your stream, based on the keyword search you entered (if any) and the geocode data you entered. Instant localized Twitter search. Awesome!
When I put in your examples they work but when I put in my own search I get no results. For instance for Montclair NJ:
Did I do something wrong?
Twitter is very finicky about the syntax of these kinds of searches, Steve. There’s a space after the , and before – in your string. If you remove the space it will work for you:
There can’t be any spaces in your geocode.
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!
is it possible to download all these tweets as georeferenced points (some text or vector layer like shp, kml or txt, csv) ?
You will have to use some of web scraping tool to do that. Since it’s against the ToS I don’t provide public information about it at this time.
This looks promising, but when I tested it using my own neighborhood, I found that I could not register my own tweets with 5km of my location.
The location is pulled from your ISP or network domain. So if your host machine is located 5km from your physical location then you might not pull up your own tweets. This technique is a little more hammer than scalpel. Sometimes you get lucky though.
It worked “like magic”. Thank you for this tutorial. It allows me to start an interesting project based on selecting tweets based on geolocation.
You’re welcome Antonel, I’m glad you found it helpful!
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