Whenever you send a Tweet with a URL, Twitter automatically replaces the URL with a “t.co” link. This means that long links only count for 23 characters against Twitter’s 140 character limit.
Mostly, that’s great – but sometimes it’s not. Inspired by this StackOverflow question, I decided to see if it was possible to write a URL in such a way that Twitter wouldn’t auto-link it.
Here’s what I found
Trying out URL encodinghttp://t.co/KN0dJ8yXLq
— Terence Eden (@edent) January 21, 2015
Five years ago (!) I wrote a long and geeky post about how Twitter Hashtags worked.
There are two different hash symbols! There’s the # we all know and love, and there’s ＃. Looks pretty similar, but in fact it’s the unicode symbol U+FF03
Unicode contains lots of visually similar but semantically separate characters.
The traditional full-stop / period looks like this: .
Other visually similar characters are
- ． – is the Full Width Stop. As you can see, it has a large amount of whitespace surrounding it.
- ｡ – is the Halfwidth ideographic full stop. This is commonly used by CJK languages.
- ․ – is the One Dot Leader. Slightly obscure – not every font will render it.
By using these characters, we can create something that looks like a URL, but doesn’t autolink.
Of course, if a user tries to copy & paste it into their browser, it won’t go anywhere.
You can also use “∶” the ratio symbol as part of the
— Terence Eden (@edent) January 11, 2016