TEDxUGA Talk: New feminism, the confidence gap and computer science

The video from my TED talk is live. I had so much fun working on this over the last year! Give it a watch.

Computer Science Ladies at Rails Girls

There’s nothing I love more than chatting with women just beginning to learn programing and computer science — a scary, but exciting time. Go forth and prosper, ladies!

Key takeaways:

  • Women have been involved in computer science since the beginning.
  • The field has a big gender disparity (obvs).
  • Confidence is key. We talked about stereotype threat, attribution theory and impostor syndrome.
  • What problems women may name when quitting computer science and how to work around those problem times.
  • Future reading, if you want to learn more.

View slides here.

When is news BREAKING NEWS?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what breaking news actually is. It started when my non-journalist roommates were complaining that they were alerted of Justin Bieber’s arrest by a news organization’s mobile application. The problem is that neither of them care about his arrest. Alerts when our audience doesn’t want them annoy users and may cause them to delete your mobile application. Starting too many of your tweets with “BREAKING:” ruins the strength of including the word. BREAKING is supposed to catch a reader’s eye in the feed. It’s supposed to be rare. If we overuse it, BREAKING becomes a “newspaper that cried wolf” type of problem. It won’t have as much impact when you actually need to use it.

So, is Justin Bieber’s arrest breaking news? Where should your news organization draw the line on mobile alerts and social media?

Here are some of the tweets about “breaking news” that came across my feed in the last 24 hours:









Also, this one.

In all seriousness, that is A LOT of breaking news. Too much.

Which ones are really breaking news?

Here are some criteria to ask before using BREAKING:

1. The supermarket test: If someone in the supermarket says something to me about this event or asks me something about this event and I don’t know what they are talking about, should I be embarrassed? Put another way, is this story something normal people will be talking about in a major way?

Justin Bieber’s arrest: Maybe.

CVS stops selling cigarettes: No.

GM profits lower than expected: No.

2. Know your user test: Who is the audience that will care most about this news? Do those people make up half of my audience or more? Everyone’s definition of breaking news is different. Take your audience and their needs into consideration.

Justin Bieber’s arrest: 1. People who are fans of Justin Bieber. People who are interested in celebrity news. 2. For TMZ, yes. For Huff Post Celeb, yes. For The New York Times, no.

CVS stops selling cigarettes: 1. People who smoke. Anyone interested in health. 2. AJC: no. A health niche publication, yes.

GM profits lower than expected: 1. People with stock in GM. People interested in financial market. Investors. 2. WSJ, yes.

3. Actionability test: Does this news require my readers to take a specific action? Otherwise, if my readers gets this news tomorrow instead of right now, will they be harmed?

Justin Bieber’s arrest: No.

CVS stops selling cigarettes: No. Any actions required are far off.

GM profits lower than expected: Maybe, may require movement in stock market.

Results: If the results of your test are 2/3 or higher, it is breaking news. Otherwise, it is not breaking news.

Justin Bieber’s arrest: Maybe. TMZ, yes. NYT, no. No. = If you are TMZ or a Twitter account devoted to celebrity news, this is breaking news. For every other publication, this is not breaking news.

CVS stops selling cigarettes: No. AJC, no. Health, yes. No. = Nope, not breaking news.

GM profits lower than expected: No. WSJ, yes. Maybe. = For WSJ, this is breaking news. If your publication does not cater to investors, this is not breaking news.

Do you think this is a good metric? Let me know on Twitter if you have your own suggestions. 

One easy thing you can do to help save journalism: Stop the math bashin’

During the Online News Association conference this year in my home state of Georgia, the ONA leadership team asked me to speak as part of a panel by AP-Google scholars. I decided to use my seven-minute pulpit for one massive rant against something that has resulted in complications for me in many sections of my professional life, including job prospects, class scheduling and my research on women in computing for the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship.

Journalists hate math. It’s a common myth and one that I hear often. I’ve heard it from journalism students when I suggest to them they learn a little coding: “That’s cool for you, but I don’t think I could do that. I’ve always been bad at math.” I’ve heard it from top investigative reporters even: “I leave the number-crunching to others. I went into journalism because I hated math!” This is usually followed by a laugh.

Well, guess what? I’m not laughing, people.

The belief that journalists hate math is part of a larger over-arching belief in education that is cemented early on. It’s part of the “hidden curriculum” — everything you learn in school about culture, society and your own abilities that isn’t part of science, language arts, math or history. We are taught that each of our brains are divided right down the middle. The left side is everything analytical. The right side is everything creative. Also, EVERYONE has a dominant side. This notion of the dominant side will then go on to completely shape how you think about your own abilities, your confidence in your skill set and your career path.

The left side might as well be blue and the right side might as well be pink. Girls are often praised for their creativity or writing ability. Boys are more often praised for their abilities in science and math. As a result, they are more confident, enjoy those subjects more, work harder in those subjects and surpass their peers over many years.

Even if you have high test scores in both math and language arts as a child, a teacher, a parent or a family member will pick a side for you on this impossible to cross fence. And there you go. Might as well write your future in stone at age eight.

Most journalists grew up as “right brain” people. Even if a journalist was fine at math early on, all the confidence disparity and reinforcement pushes that journalist to believe she couldn’t do a calculus problem to save her life by the time she enters college.

If you’d like to see the slides that go along with this rant, they are below.

This left brain, right brain nonsense isn’t good for journalists. Why?

1. Data journalism and code journalism are becoming increasingly important. Because of the myth that journalists are bad at math, incoming journalists are scared out of trying anything new in these areas because of a fear that they will not be successful. How could they? They’ve always been “word people.” Several studies in computer science show confidence is actually a better predictor for if a woman will stay in the major than her ability in computer science. Confidence matters.

2. It hurts our credibility. You wouldn’t want an accountant who claims to be bad at math doing your taxes. In that same vein, why would I trust a profession that widely claims that its members went into said profession because THEY HATE MATH to perform mathematical operations (data journalism) and then use the results of those operations to try and change my belief about something.

3. It adds an untouchable, unicorn-quality to journalists doing both coding and journalism. The barriers make gaining these qualifications more difficult. They also make it very difficult to find a job using both skills because you don’t fit into a coder box or a writer box. There is no unicorn box and usually the more profitable coding skills win.

This right brain, left brain dichotomy doesn’t make sense in journalism or in other contexts. To be good at anything, you need to use analytical skills AND creativity.

In music, a performer must have analytics to play through scales, memorize keys and calculate rhythms. Reading or writing music is analytical. A great performer must also be creative in her movements, in how her bow glides over the strings, in the volume she plays.

The same is true in sports. Football players need to know the drills and the movements of other players, but they also need to be creative and to improvise on the field.

A successful journalist needs both the analytical and the creative too. Traditionally, journalism has been thought of as more of a “right brain” skill. Most journalists would probably admit they enjoyed writing over math in school, but journalism is highly analytical (read: science-y).

Let’s look at the scientific method and the way we report our stories.

Almost the same. And look what else this process resembles:


Journalists are more like the “math folk” than we care to admit.

Conclusion: realize you need both the analytical and the creative to be good at anything, especially journalism, and stop saying you hate math. Seriously, stop it. Stop it. I beg you.

Students: How to hack your next conference

In honor of my upcoming trip to ONA13, which I am PUMPED about!

Going to journalism conferences can provide j-school students with invaluable networking opportunities infused in one skills-packed weekend of journalistic glory. Most students don’t take advantage of conferences though. They are often expensive, far away and you might not want to go alone. Especially for students in small universities, conferences are completely worth it.

Which conference?

Depending on which area of journalism you plan to work in, you may want to check IRE, NICAR, ONA, CMA, SPJ or SND. Here’s a list with some additional conferences. Think national, but also local. There may be local chapters of national organizations that host local conferences. The closer a conference is, the less travel costs!

How will I pay?

The organization

First, check for opportunities through the organization hosting the conference to attend for free. Many conference organizations offer free or discounted registration for students. Some even offer travel support. You may be able to apply for specific scholarships through the organization to attend or it may have a program for students to attend and report on the conference such as the ONA Student Newsroom.

Your school

Ask around at your school about possible funding. Talk to older students, professors and administrators. There may be money available to support students in academic-related travel.

Your newspaper

Going to a conference means you can attend sessions about what’s going on in the industry and learn new skills that you can take back to your newspaper. Ask your boss or adviser if there is any money to help with expenses if you are willing to bring back the knowledge from the conference and teach other students.

Go with friends

If you can find journalism buddies to go along with you, you’ll be able to pile into a car and then pile into a hotel room, which means decreasing travel costs. Even if you aren’t able to find a friend to go with, many organizations offer forums for finding roommates to split hotel costs.

How should I prepare?

Ahead of the conference, update your resume and bring copies to hand out. Update your social media presences. Buy business cards using a site like MOO.com. Plan out what you’re going to wear. Casual, but put together is a good look. For women, skinny jeans and a blazer. For men, jeans and a button-up will usually do the trick.

Use the conference website to plan out what sessions you want to attend ahead of time. If two sessions you want to attend are happening at the same time, mark that. You can always head to the other if the first doesn’t turn out to be as good as it sounded.

Follow conference hashtags, check the list of attendees (if one is provided) and Google the speakers. Are there people attending who work at organizations you may want to work or intern for? Make sure you meet them and exchange cards. It’s OK to say “I recognize you from your Twitter avatar.”

What happens when I get there?

The most important thing: don’t be shy! Talk to people. Exchange cards. Don’t stop talking to people. It can be intimidating if you have never networked before but it is absolutely necessary. For the sessions you attend, take notes and earn karma points by putting your notes in a public Google Doc and tweeting out the link with the conference hashtag. Stay active on Twitter throughout the conference and don’t hesitate to reply to or retweet other conference attendees. Don’t let the conference end with the last sessions either. Figure out where people are hanging out for dinner or drinks and go there. Keep it classy, though.

What should I do when I get back?

A couple of days after the conference, send an email to everyone you exchanged cards with. It’s easier if you write notes on the cards explaining what you talked about or had in common so you can reference it later. If you made a connection with that person, follow them on Twitter or connect with them on Linkedin. Write a wrap-up of what you learned from attending the conference and tweet it out using the conference hashtag. Review your notes and check out any tools you heard about at the conference that you may want to use in the future.

Happy conferencing! Also, remember that for conferences you can’t attend, you can get a lot of the same skill benefits by following along on Twitter. Presenters will often tweet links to their presentations and you may be able to find people’s notes or live tweets.

70 Twitter Users To Follow For Online Journalism

As I’m starting an Online News Association chapter at UGA, I’m starting to realize that it is really difficult to like Twitter if you don’t follow the right people. I love Twitter because it’s a personalized news source of content I am interested in. Maybe you don’t know who to follow though…

Here are 70 suggestions from my Twitter account. Follow these people for news on online journalism. I’ll keep adding to it as I realize great people I missed. Comment below and give me some suggestions…

  1. @HuffPostTech
  2. @TechCrunch
  3. @TheNextWeb
  4. @DailyDot
  5. @PSFK
  6. @mashable
  7. @KQED
  8. @Gawker
  9. @IRE_NICAR, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. account
  10. @Romenesko, Journalism news including Morning Report
  11. @NiemanLab, Articles all about journalism’s future
  12. @journalismnews, Tips and opportunities for journos
  13. @journalismbuzz, Journo news
  14. @knightfoundation, Gives grants for journalism’s future
  15. @ONA, Online News Association
  16. @sunfoundation, Government transparency
  17. @splc, Student Press Law Center
  18. @spj_tweets, Society of Professional Journalists
  19. @thedailybeast
  20. @mediaguardian
  21. @inn, Investigative News Network
  22. @poynter, journo news
  23. @homicideWatch
  24. @journalistslike
  25. @EricHolthaus, Contributing meteorologist for WSJ
  26. @amichel, Open Editor, Guardian US. Co-founder of SparkCamp.
  27. @EmilyEggleston, AP-Google Scholar
  28. @acarvin, Senior strategist at NPR
  29. @fieldproducer, Social media editor at WSJ
  30. @cyperjournalist, Previous ONA president, new media exec.
  31. @dankennedy_nu, Journalism prof at Northwestern.
  32. @rozzy, Digital media at NBC.
  33. @brizzyc, J-school professor (U. of Memphis)
  34. Everyone that works at @buzzfeed (see next four)
  35. @buzzfeedandrew
  36. @buzzfeedben
  37. @michaelhayes
  38. @weeddude
  39. @sal19, Reporter for @LaTimesTech
  40. @webjournalist, Co-founder of #wjchat and ONA board member
  41. @thematthewkeys, Deputy social media editor at Reuters
  42. @markknoller, Live tweeting pro
  43. @ckanal, HuffPost senior editor
  44. @kzhu91, Google-AP scholar
  45. @CraigSilverman, Spundge/Poynter
  46. @eyeseast, Creator Homicide Watch
  47. @danroth, Linkedin exec
  48. @chanders, CUNY, j-school professor
  49. @Jeffconderman, digital media fellow, Poynter
  50. @anjalimullany, ONA, social media editor Fast Company
  51. @girlswhocode, Rad not-for-profit
  52. @kickstarter, Crowd-sourced funding
  53. @codeforamerica, Like Teach For America, but code
  54. @codeacademy, Free coding learning website
  55. @quartznews, New type of news website known for simple design
  56. @GetGlue
  57. @Tumblr
  58. @Twitter
  59. @Pinterest
  60. @Wanelo
  61. @Storyful
  62. @Storify
  63. @moneyries, Senior editor, @thedailybeast
  64. @Emilybell, Director Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia
  65. @MeredithA, Managing editor for CNN Digital
  66. @cnnireport
  67. @RachelDePompa, Investigative reporter for NBC12
  68. @Ustream
  69. @Antderosa, Social media editor Reuters
  70. @Journtoolbox


SoCon13 Recap

The Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University hosted SoCon13 — the longest running social media conference in the Southeast — on Saturday. Hundreds of social media professionals gathered to discuss marketing’s future, and how it intersects with journalism.

AP-Google Scholarship Application

Dear Non-ONA readers: This is my application for the AP-Google scholarship — a $20,000 grant with the Online News Association helping students accomplish projects on the intersection of computer science and journalism. Although this is different than the normal lessons on this website, it belongs here and not hidden on a separate website or in a Google Doc somewhere. Even if I don’t have the opportunity to address these issues with this grant, they won’t go away and we should all be aware. Also, in the words of Roland Barthes, To hide a passion totally (or even to hide, more simply, its excess) is inconceivable: not because the human subject is too weak, but because passion is in essence made to be seen. So I invite you to see, to think and to discuss women’s role in the future of our industry.

Cover Letter:

Project Proposal:

You are a female journalism student at the University of Georgia

You know the Internet is changing news. You know digital skills will help you secure a job, but you’ve always favored words over numbers.

You are required to pick an additional major or minor. What do you pick?


Number of UGA computer science and journalism undergraduate students out of 26,000: 1.

At UGA, CS was the seventh most popular major for male students in 2012. For female students, it was 88th.

As a coder journalist, does this surprise you?

It shouldn’t.

It doesn’t surprise female CS students at UGA:

“Where I grew up, if you get to 20 without having a kid, you’re doing pretty well. If I changed my major then, my dad wouldn’t have agreed. It wouldn’t have been perceived as being girly.”

“I’ve gotten: ‘Is it harder to program when you’re on your period?’ and ‘There’s girls on the Internet?’”

“The professor would put stupid jokes on his slides. For a slide of a cash controller, he put a picture of a bride. He was just really kind of sexist, this old white dude. It was completely off his radar. I brought it up to another professor, but she didn’t do anything.”

It’s time to build a bridge, a people bridge.

My project (pronounced journo-chicks) will encourage female journalism students to cross into CS and provide a community of awareness and resources for those standing on the bridge between two worlds — one female-dominated, one male-dominated. With this scholarship, I will start a pilot program to examine solutions to perceived overlap that make females shy away from CS. Using the web and social media, the portable results of the program could be implemented in other communities. Because most programmers begin before college — 98 percent of Google engineers do—  journochiCS will raise awareness in colleges, high schools and middle schools.

While the journalism community praises its small group of coder journalists, few discuss the STEM diversity problems creeping into a team destined to help decide journalism’s fate. JournochiCS is different from other groups working to increase female STEM participation, such as Girls Who Code, because it places females in resources already available in their schools while providing a supportive community based on awareness, discussion and mentoring. The project will concentrate on forming a people bridge between the two worlds.

UGA, the pilot location, is attended overwhelming by Southern students. Many, myself included, grew up in rural or suburban areas with more traditional gender roles, which contribute to the quotes above. UGA’s Grady College is trailing behind j-school leaders with technology integration, making crosses between the two disciplines especially difficult. This situation mirrors other mid-tier j-schools.

Solving these problems is essential to increasing coder journalists and female coders. I am passionate this project can deliver that “I’m home” comfort I felt only upon attending ONA12 to other students who struggle to stay steady on a wobbling bridge at their own schools.


Ten online journalism trends for 2013

‘Tis the season for making predictions and I’m making a few of my own. In no particular order, the digital trends journalists should watch in 2013:

The relationship between social media and photography will grow even stronger.

Using social media to bring traffic to your website — whether it’s a newspaper, blog or small business — isn’t new. In 2012, social media experts preached a photo-centric strategy on Facebook. The rise of Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest in recent years further strengthened the relationship between social media and photography. Alexis Mainland, social media editor at The New York Times spoke with Photo Shelter Blog in April about the relationship, saying “The cliche that a picture is worth 1,000 words rings especially true on social media sites.”

As social media positions at online publications continue to increase, they’ll drag photographers along for the ride. You can’t have a good social media presence without a strong backing in photography, something major newspapers are discovering. The intertwining will begin to filter to smaller newspapers in 2013. At the nation’s leading social media innovators, positions will open for experts in “social photography” — people with backgrounds in social media and photography who can help bridge the gap between the two groups.

As the lines continue to blur on what objectivity means in the digital age, more journalists will take a stand by telling the story.

When Walter Cronkite traveled to Vietnam to bring the horrors of war to American television screens, the story consumed America. We remember the images, the changes in our field. We don’t think about concerns with Cronkite’s own objectivity. In reality, Cronkite was a solider himself and not only knew the experience of war firsthand, but also knew the General commanding all troops in Vietnam from his WWII days. Cronkite took a stand on the war in his writings and by telling the story — showing America the war. This was civic journalism or advocacy journalism.

Propublica and California Watch are practicing this type of civic journalism, and more organizations are following the trend. A new project by CNN, Change the List, examines the bottom of rankings and engages its audience to bring the bottom up. They recently completed a project looking at the state with the lowest voter turnout — Hawaii.

Reporters will be pushed to expand their skill sets into mobile video creation.

I’ve talked a couple of times about my love for Wall Street Journal’s WorldStream, a project that takes advantage of reporters on-scene by having them send short mobile clips for the site. Some are compelling. Some are funny. Some are random. It’s a lot of content to click through, though. In 2013, more publications will train their reporters in on-the-go mobile video and audio, expecting reporters to cover the story but also send live updates for the website.

Online publications will do more with the data available online.

Data journalism is often used with crime data and data journalists can request through the Freedom of Information Act, but what about the data available to anyone? An increase in web scraping and database creation skills will send more journalists online to write stories based on what people are saying on social media and how they are saying it. Here’s an example from Mashable: a travel company found out the top 10 cities for getting engaged by analyzing Facebook statuses.

In 2012, GIF was the Word of the Year. In 2013, GIFs will gain respect as a legitimate news source.

According to Oxford American Dictionaries, GIF is the Word of the Year for 2012. Although GIFs have gained wide popularity on the social network Tumblr, the easy-to-make looping animations are only starting to gain popularity with traditional media outlets. Many people say GIFs aren’t news, partly because of the usual convention for GIFs: comedy. In 2013, news organizations will use GIFs for legitimate news purposes. GIFs are small file formats that can be easily downloaded on mobile devices and consumed in rapid sequence, perfect for the exploding mobile market.

Audience will continue to expect verification from news organizations. 

If news organizations didn’t realize after PolitiFact that audience actually wanted them to verify statements made by political pundits instead of just reporting them, they should after the 2012 election. Despite Nate Silver’s firm prediction on the election and incoming exit polls, some networks went on calling the election mostly even and openly defying math in the process.

Another interesting blog, Is Twitter Wrong?, has made a name for MSN employee Tom Phillips by fact checking information — mostly pictures — sent out on Twitter. The blog was busy during Hurricane Sandy finding the source of weather photos. Side note: all journalists should prepare themselves for fake weather photos by watching the movie The Day After Tomorrow, which seems to be the source of many.

Google + will become the most hated social network that you just have to use. 

Google’s plan to increase its social network, Google +, by whatever means necessary and as another step toward world domination over its rivals — Apple and Facebook, in particular — isn’t really a secret. The Hangout feature of Google + is worth having an account on the social network, but picture this: you’re sitting in a group of your friends and something really hilarious happens. One friend turns to another, laughing, and says “I’m posting that to Google + right now!” #SaidNoOneEver.

Despite the social network’s lack of social popularity, Google + will continue to rise in newsrooms because of Google’s search algorithm. Social media is already integrated into the algorithm. At some newspapers, SEO experts are telling them to have Google + accounts and to post often. Why? It’s page rank, dummy, and that’s not going to go away.

Television companies and news companies with a share in the television market will cater more to dual screening.

Eleven percent of the live viewers of the first presidential debate — myself included — followed the coverage on more than one screen, according to Pew Research Center. Many watched the debate on television and followed the conversation on their social media feeds at the same time. Television has become an incredibly social experience. It’s easy to tell which TV episodes your friends are watching by following Twitter. Television networks have started picking up on this market by including hashtags particular to the television program on the screen alongside the show. In 2013, more products catering to the dual screen market will appear.

An increase in crowdsourcing and citizen journalism will involve the audience in the creation of stories.

Have you freed a file with Propublica? Free The Files is Propublica’s effort to track down political ad spending. Because Propublica couldn’t look through the over 40,000 files with its own employees, the non-profit newsroom turned to its audience. Anyone can free a file by signing in and finding basic information about the ad buy detailed in the file such as who bought the ad and for how much. The project is another example of crowdsourcing, a trend that will continue in 2013. News companies are using crowdsourcing and citizen journalism to better cover communities and involve audience more. Another great example is CNN’s iReport team.

Audience will have greater access to the editors and reporters about how and why they make decisions that affect news coverage.

Reddit has risen as the social network where people go to have open conversations, employing the saying AMA — ask me anything. Editors and reporters at major news organizations have gone to Reddit this year to engage in open dialogue with the audience. Even President Barack Obama has appeared in an AMA chat on Reddit this year.

The most notable editor who answered questions on Reddit in 2012 was Jill Abramson of The New York Times who posted an AMA session in October.

How To: Twitter advanced search

In breaking news situations, Twitter advanced search can help journalists find the right updates, pictures and people in real-time. Advanced search adds location searches, sentiment analysis and better catalogs of keywords to the basic search. Using advanced search is a simple skill that helps you shave off time combing through Twitter updates to find what you are looking for.

What can you search in Twitter advanced search:

  • Keywords: access to operators like AND, OR and negation of certain words.
  • Search tweets from or to a specific person.
  • Search a conversation between two people.
  • Tweets sent from a certain location or blank miles from that location.
  • Tweets sent on or around a specific date.
  • Questions.
  • Tweets with a range of smiley faces indicating sentiment.
  • Tweets containing links.

Twitter search operators are like toppings on frozen yogurt. If you are only using one, you’re doing it wrong.

Twitter search operators:

word1 word2

This is the default operator when you search something. Searches tweets containing “word1″ and “word2.”

“word1 word2 word3″

Searches tweets containing all three words in that order.

word1 OR word2

Searches tweets containing word1 or word2 or both.

word1 -word2

Searches tweets that contain word1 but not word2.


Returns tweets containing that hashtag.


Returns tweets from a specific user. Note: don’t use an @ and don’t use a space.


Returns tweets to that user. Again, no @ and no space.


Returns tweets mentioning a specific user and tweets mentioning the name associated with that account.


Returns tweets sent near a city. Note: only works if the user has location services on. Search including the city and not including the city in case users don’t have location services on.

near:city within:12mi

Returns from the vicinity of a certain city. Good for breaking news searches in an area. for example: fire near:Athens,ga would return tweets sent from Athens that mention “fire.”


Searches tweets sent since a date. Formula is YEAR – MONTH – DAY with zeros.


Searches tweets since before a certain date.


Use a smiley face to search for happy tweets. It works either as :-) (with nose) or :) (without nose), returning a range of smiley faces. I know… these are the questions that keep you up at night, right?


Returns tweets with a sad face.


Returns questions.


Returns tweets with links.


Searches tweets sent from a certain source.


By default, retweets not included. Add this to your search to include them.


Change what language you are searching through. By default, Twitter searches English. You have to use a language code — “es” for Spanish.

Some examples to understand how operators are used:

To use these operators, you need to think like a programmer — easier for some than others. Twitter advanced search has a specific formula for searching. Without the exact formula, you won’t get what you want.


Searches for mentions of account @fivethirtyeight AND mentions of the name associated with that account “Nate Silver.”

Steve Jobs -Ashton Kutcher vs. Steve Jobs -”Ashton Kutcher”

Without quotes: Search for tweets that contain the words “Steve” and “Jobs” and “Kutcher” but don’t contain “Ashton.”

With quotes: Search for tweets that contain “Steve” and “Jobs” but not “Ashton Kutcher.”

@lindzcook -barryhollander vs. @lindzcook -@barryhollander

Without @: Search for tweets that mention @lindzcook and don’t involve the user barryhollander.

With @: Search for tweets that mention @lindzcook and don’t mention @barryhollander. This search includes tweets that mention @lindzcook sent by user barryhollander, but the previous search does not.

to:fivethirtyeight powerball vs. to: fivethirtyeight powerball vs. to:fivethirtyeight “powerball”

Without space, without quotes: search for tweets to user fivethirtyeight that include “powerball.”

Without space, with quotes: same as the above. Since “powerball” is one word, it doesn’t make a difference to include quotes or to leave them out. If you wanted to search “powerball winnings,” it would make a difference with the quotes. Searching for “powerball winnings” would return tweets with the words in that order and searching without the quotes would return tweets with “powerball” and “winnings” in whatever order they came.

With space, without quotes: the syntax for the “to:” operator is incorrect because a space is included after. The search returns results mentioning “to” and “powerball” and @fivethirtyeight/ “Nate Silver.”


Training wheels are available. Hang your head in shame. 

Advanced search has a form that journalists can use to search without the code-like commands. You can assess the website here. Using the operators is the quicker, more impressive — and, I would argue — fun avenue.