The 140 character limit is what defines Twitter. It is widely considered to be one of the reasons behind the popularity of twitter. However, people are always looking for more and 140 characters may not always be sufficient. Although you can’t actually send more than 140 characters there are a few tricks using which you can pack more content into your tweets.
Shrink Your Tweet: One of the simplest techniques is to use abbreviations and SMS-speak. TweetShrink is a free service which can shorten your tweets automatically and allows you to fit in more characters. And wait, it gets even more awesome! Many popular Twitter clients like Seesmic have built-in support for TweetShrink.
Transcode It: MaxiTweet probably offers the most ingenious solution. The folks behind MaxiTweet went through thousands of Unicode characters in different languages and came up with characters which look similar to two or more English characters. MaxiTweet simply replaces multiple characters with a single character which looks identical. For example, “tweet to the maximum with maxitweet” would become “tweet to the maâ…ºmum wè®¡h maâ…ºtweet”. Depending upon your sentence MaxiTweet can chop off 20 or more characters (it claims tweets up to 200 characters are possible).
MaxiTweet doesn’t require any additional software and will work on any system which supports Unicode (which means all standard operating systems). Various compression levels are available. While the Best version (used in the above example) is still very readable, the heavy version makes certain words almost illegible. However, the compression achieved will be significantly higher. For example “tweet to the maximum with maxitweet” would become “Ñ‚ÑˆÑ‚ï½”oï½”hï½…ãŽƒâ…ºmuâ™wè®¡ï½ˆãŽƒâ…ºÑ‚ÑˆÑ‚” in Heavy version (saving 14 characters).
Split It: If you don’t want to mess with your message you should use TwitterContd. It simply splits your message into multiple tweets. It appends a numeric counter or simple @contd to the end of each message. Using TwitterContd you can post up to 1250 characters.
A variant of this approach is utilised by TwitLonger. Instead of splitting your message into multiple tweets TwitLonger displays an excerpt of your message and adds a link to the full message in your tweet.
Among all these services I find myself using TweetShrink most often – probably because it is built into Seesmic. Do you use any of these services, or are you satisfied with 140 characters?