How to Message a Twitter Friend Using More Than 140 Characters

twitter-birdTwitter is a great place to meet new people, and it’s a safe way to communicate with them without divulging your email address. As you’re getting acquainted, you may wish to exchange longer messages than the 140 character limit allows. Read on to discover how.

Well of course, you could send a series of tweets.  But if you have a lot to say, while you’re tweeting multiple times other Twitter users’ Direct Messages may divide your series in the follower’s stream.  This may make it difficult for the recipient to piece your message together into a coherent whole. A more convenient way to send your Twitter friend a long message is to put the message onto a web page, and then tweet the address of that page to your friend.

If you use Gmail, you’ll be delighted to discover that there’s a quick and easy way to make a web page from text.  In your Gmail inbox, at the top left corner, click on the “Documents” link.  Then, in the window that opens, at the top left click on “Create New” and select “Document” in the pull-down menu.  Type your message into the editing window, using whatever styling buttons you may wish.  Give the document a title in the little window which by default calls the document “Untitled document.”  Click the “Save now” button at the top right of the window.  This saves the document in your Documents folder on your Gmail server.  You can return to the document there to edit it later if you wish.

Next, in the document editing window, at the top right, click on the Share button and select “Publish to the Web,” and then click on the “Start publishing” button.  You will see a screen that says, “Are you sure you want to publish this document?”  Click the “OK” button.   You will then see a window with two paragraphs of text, one showing the web address (the url) of the published page; and secondly, the embed code for the page, (should you wish to embed the contents of that page on another web page, say, a blog post, or a wiki page.)  Highlight the text appearing in the “Document link” window.  Then press the Command and the C keys simultaneously, which copies that text to your clip board.

Next, go to a bit.ly or tinyurl window and paste the content from your clipboard there by pressing the Command and V keys simultaneously.  Click on the “shorten” button to shorten the web address.

Next, copy the shortened url by highlighting it with your cursor and pressing the Command and C keys simultaneously.

Now you’re ready to Direct message your Twitter friend and give him/her access to that published message on the web.  You might Direct message something like this:  “Have left a Web message for you at this link:  paste your shortened link to that web page here.”

Please note that although the web page you created is not encrypted, and will therefore be discoverable by web content index-making computers (called crawlers), the address of the page will in the short term be known only to you and your Twitter friend whom you are Direct messaging.  Despite this temporary confidentiality, it is never a good idea to publish content on the Internet which you would not want the public to see.  Therefore, in your web message it would be appropriate to include links about yourself which have already been made public, say for instance, links to your Flickr stream, your LinkedIn public profile, your Facebook page, etc.  The purpose of your web message is to share enough information about yourself to establish trust with your new Twitter friend.  When you both come to trust each other you may choose to share email addresses, and then lengthy communications are not a problem.

Having used a web page created in Google Documents to long-message your Twitter friend, you may wish to delete that web page.  If so, go back to your Google Documents folder via the link in your Gmail inbox and in your list of saved documents delete the one from which the page was made.  Deleting this Google document deletes the web page.  The deleting process is in two stages:  First, put a check in the box next to the document you want to delete and in the “Actions” menu at the top left, select “Move to trash.”  Then in the left margin click on “Trash,” and in that folder put a check next to the document you want to delete, click on the “Actions” link and select “Delete forever.”

If you choose to let the web page you created stay published you can continue to edit its contents.  Open it in Google Documents, and save changes by clicking on “Save now.” Then, by way of the “Share” button repeat the “Publish to the Web” process explained above.  Your changes will then be made on the web page copy.

In conclusion, Twitter is a great fast way to stay in touch with friends you already know well, but it’s also a super way to meet people who may become trusted friends, and valuable business contacts.  This process is explained in Mark Schaefer’s ebook, The Tao of Twitter.  Read it to discover other safe and productive ways to make and deepen person to person (P2P) relationships on Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “How to Message a Twitter Friend Using More Than 140 Characters

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