Computers & Mobile Technology


Back in the day, the internet ran on ASCII, and we liked it that way. If you couldn’t find it on a keyboard, why, it just wasn’t a character and that was that.

Back before the day, we had Commodore 64s, and while communication could involve all sorts of crazy glyphs and wingdings, at least these strange abominations were available on the keyboard. Rules were rules.

Today, nobody feels :) and no one is :/ or :o with that. Instead, today’s netizens express themselves in single UTF-8 characters, never before seen on a keyboard, which to me is :(, but I guess it makes them ☺. If you tilt your head to the left, you can see that people’s moods now live sideways—there’s no way to really balance one’s mood with a single character. It does, however, allow you to squeeze an extra emotion or two in edgewise in Twitter.

Our brave new 140 character world may have lost its soul, but it’s gained a ♥.

If you’re ready to let go of your keyboard and move beyond the past, TwitterKeys has a number of handy UTF-8 characters that you can paste into your Tweets. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

10 thoughts on “UTF-8 lets you Tweet funny characters

  1. This is more of a Lifehacker or TUAW kind of post, not a MAKE-related post. What gives? Same thing with the PyeTV thing earlier in the day. MAKE, please keep to making.

  2. There are the free Unicode Snippets for TextExpander on the Mac!

    The page is in german language, but the download works for every language.

    The Unicode Snippets help you enter those funny characters using TextExpander (or probably other similar utilities which I haven’t tested). Download the free .zip file at

    For example to type the heart character you’d need to import the “miscellaneous symbols” section. Then you can type u2665 (the symbols Unicode Character Code) to have the heart appear. You can get the recycling symbol that is used for retweeting with u267a.

    I don’t recommend importing all of the sections as you’ll definitely not need them all and they probably slow down TextExpander. So choose whichever characters you need and just keep those. Have fun!
    Best regards

  3. They make it sound like there wasn’t special characters with ASCII. You just needed hit alt then put in the three digit code. Not the same character, but I used to make mazes on an Atari by outputting these codes to a thermal printer.

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