20 September 2013

Introducing my free "Twitterglyphics" table


Copy and paste space-saving symbols into your Twitter posts and other tight spots

Social media sites encourage brevity, especially Twitter, with its strict limit of 140 characters and spaces per-post. Many people have simply adopted abbreviations and emoticons from text messaging, but those were developed for speedy replies, not necessarily to fit a word limit.

While Twitter conversations are often fast-paced and held on mobile devices, many posts are thoughtfully crafted. Unicode symbols can shorten the character-count, allowing you to fit more meaning into each message, and when used creatively, they can draw a lot more more attention.

I created this symbol chart because other sites that list such symbols are either too hard to navigate or they list 8 different ☛s, 5 different ✐s but not enough technical characters or other symbols that I sometimes need. I don't post equations or technical data on Twitter, it's just that Ø can mean "nothing" and ≠ can mean "not the same as" and ¶ can denote a paragraph within an article.

My own № 1 symbol is this: … It's an ellipsis that only takes up one character space. I use it to separate sentences or items in a series using only one character-space. (Periods and commas require an additional space after them.)

These symbols can also come in handy in illustrating documents, bulletins or presentations.

Non-displaying symbols: Note that some of the unicode characters I've included may not work on your computer or device, or they may not work on other people's devices. Your devices come with Unicode information pre-loaded, but not necessarily with everything. If you tell me about a character not working, I will poll my Twitter followers to see if they can see it, and if it doesn't work for many of them, I'll remove it.

Reader requests: If you want to bookmark this page and use this chart on a regular basis, please let me know if you would like for me to add other symbols or special characters. I found most of these on the Unicode Character Table which is being built out by a team in Russia.

You can also refer to Unicode lists on Wikipedia and on the Unicode Consortium site.

Sample symbols:
Punctuation:  … ‽ ‷ (for quotes within quotes)   
Weather: ˚  ℃  ℉  ☂   ☼ ☽
Symbols = words: Ø ≠ ∓ ≈ (approximate) ∞ ♺ ¶ ★ ☆ 
Business: ℅ © ® ™ ℠ Ȼ ¥ € £ 
Comms & media: ☎   ✉ ♬ ♫ ♪ 
Emphasis:   ෴ ⚐ ⚑ ✽ ★ ‽ ‼ ⁇ ⚠ ✖ ✔ №   
Full-contact politics: ▦☰ ✪ ⚠ ✖ ✔☭ ࿕ ♞+☁ ♕  
Faith & philosophy: ✝ ✡ ☪ ☮ ☯ ☫  ☥      

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