Twitter launched in March 2006, which is crazy: that’s over a decade ago! Even weirder: all the old tweets from that pre-historic era are still out there.

Which begs the question: can you dig up really old things that your friends said back in the day? Or perhaps, things your boss said?

Halo 2 came out in 2004, so even in 2009 this reference was pretty dated. And how does one beat Tetris? Clearly this guy is a moron, and deserves to be publicly ridiculed. I was able to find this because Twitter makes it possible to search the entirety of their archive. Here’s how it works, and how you can really dial down and find something specific.

Getting Started With Advanced Twitter Search

First, head to advanced Twitter search. You’ll see all sorts of options. The first section, Words, gives you a few ways to specify words that are and are not included.

If there’s a particular tweet in your head, start here. “All of these words” lets you search for a combination of words in no particular order, while “This exact phrase” will work as though you’re putting the phrase in quotes on Google. “Any of these words” is useful if you’re not sure about the exact wording, while “None of these words” lets you filter Tweets with words unrelated to what you’re looking for. Finally, you can search for hashtags or specific languages.

It’s a lot of options, but we’re just getting started. To really find a specific tweet, you need to filter things according to user.

Search for Specific Users or Conversations

The second section lets you specify accounts involved in a particular conversation. You can search for tweets that come from particular accounts, but also tweets that are directed at a particular account.

With the above queries, I found a bunch of tweets between two of my co-workers going pretty far back in time.

Yep, 8GB of memory is more than enough!

Note that the third box allows you to specify accounts mentioned in a particular tweet, assuming someone is mentioned in a tweet not directed at them.

Search for Tweets Within a Given Date Range

Of course, if you want to find really old tweets, you need to specify that. The final section, “Dates”, lets you do so. Click a field and you’ll see a calendar.

Pick a date, or tap on the month and year to quickly choose a month or year.

Specifying a date range far back enough can really narrow the tweets you find, allowing you to find ancient conversations that you’d forgotten about entirely.

With all of these tools combined, you can search for just about anything. Give it a shot: dig through your friend’s accounts, or even your own, and see what you can find.

Profile Photo for Justin Pot Justin Pot
Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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