Special Characters Are Lucky Charms For Twitter ♥ ☾ ★ ♣

As you surf the flow of Tweets running through the ever-heating-up medium of Twitter, you can frequently see an unusual little character icon or two used to decorate people’s postings. I’ve taken note of these over time, and I suspect that using these little graphic icons can sometimes increase the ability or a particular Tweet to stand out from the crowd. If you use Twitter to promote links to your blog articles and webpages, you might consider adding these special icons to your repertoire. I think these special characters can be Lucky Charms for your Twitter posts, if used carefully.

I recently experimented with adding some special characters to one of my Tweets, and it resulted in quite a number of Re-Tweets as well as clickthroughs. Although it involved an already highly-popular topic (Star Wars), I think the Tweet grabbed more people’s notice because the stars I added to it allowed it to stand out from the crowd more as people scanned the stream of Tweets running through their Twitter accounts:

Happy Star Wars Day Tweet

Special Characters are not hard to add to Tweets, if you’re posting from online. They can be trickier if you’re attempting to Tweet via your wireless devices, since those do not all support extended character sets.

Here’s the classic “Lucky Charms” known to morning cereal afficianados — hearts, moons, stars, and clovers: ♥ ☾ ★ ♣

One of the most frequently used symbols in Tweets is a music notes symbol, when individuals Tweet the current song they’re listening to:

Music Tweet

For those using Blip.fm, it’s very easy to Tweet out little messages indicating what you’re listening to, if you tie the services together, and Blip appears to automatically tack on the music notes symbol.

Special characters are handled in HTML and other markup languages via “entity reference” codes or “character references”, of course, and are nothing new. You may be able to simply copy and paste a special character that you want to use, but I’ve also found that you may need to actually paste in the special character code in order to get the symbol to appear.

Some special characters are really too intricate to adequately convey, unfortunately.

I’ve made a helpful list of special character entity codes which you can easily copy-and-paste into your Tweets. These are not all special characters, since I left out the more boring special punctuation characters, foreign language letters and symbols which I think are unlikely to communicate in the tiny letter size employed by Twitter:

♠ ♠ (solid spade)
♤ ♤ (open spade)
♣ ♣ (solid club / shamrock / clover)
♧ ♧ (open club / shamrock / clover)
♦ ♦ (solid diamond)
◊ ◊ (open diamond / lozenge)
♥ ♥ (solid heart)
❤ ❤ (heavy solid heart)
❥ ❥ (heavy rotated solid heart)
♡ ♡ (open heart)
☻ ☻ (solid happy face)
☺ ☺ (open happy face)
☹ ☹ (open frowny face)
₪ ₪ (arabesque)
♀ ♀ (female symbol)
♂ ♂ (male symbol)
↑ ↑ (up arrow)
↓ ↓ (down arrow)
→ → (right arrow)
← ← (left arrow)
↔ ↔ (right & left arrow)
⇑ ⇑ (double up arrow)
⇓ ⇓ (double down arrow)
⇐ ⇐ (double left arrow)
⇒ ⇒ (double right arrow)
⇔ ⇔ (double right & left arrow)
Δ Δ (triangle / delta)
£ £ (pounds)
¢ ¢ (cents)
€ € (Euros)
¥ ¥ (Yen)
♕ ♕ (White Queen - crown)
♔ ♔ (White King - crown)
♘ ♘ (White Knight - horse)
♚ ♚ (Black King - crown)
♛ ♛ (Black Queen - crown
♞ ♞ (Black Knight - horse)
© © (copyright)
® ® (registered trademark)
™ ™ (trademark)
• • (bullet / solid circle)
∅ ∅ (zero with slash thru)
¿ ¿ (upside down question mark)
‹ ‹ (less-than)
› › (greater-than)
« « (double less-than, quote)
» » (double greater-than, quote)
№ № (Number, numero symbol - "No.")
★ ★ (solid star)
☆ ☆ (open star)
✪ ✪ (circled white star)
✹ ✹ (12 pointed black star)
† † (cross or dagger)
‡ ‡ (double cross)
☠ ☠ (skull & crossbones/ pirates/ Jolly Rodger/ poison symbol)
☽ ☽ (waxing crescent moon)
☾ ☾ (waning crescent moon)
☪ ☪ (Islam - crescent moon & star)
☭ ☭ (Communist - hammer & sickle)
❦ ❦ ( upright - floral heart / hedera / ivy leaf)
❧ ❧ ( sideways,rotated - floral heart / hedera / ivy leaf)
♩ ♩ (single music note - quarter note)
♪ ♪ (single music note - eighth note)
♫ ♫ (double music note - single bar note)
♬ ♬ (double music note - double bar note)
✡ ✡ (Star of David)
☯ ☯ (Yin/Yang)
☮ ☮ (Peace Sign)
☸ ☸ (Dharma wheel, sailing wheel)
¤ ¤ (currency or sun)
☀ ☀ (sunshine - sun)
⊕ ⊕ (circled plus or cross in a circle)
⊗ ⊗ (circled times or exxed circle)
℞ ℞ (RX - prescription symbol)
☁ ☁ (cloud - cloudy)
☂ ☂ (umbrella - rain)
☄ ☄ (comet)
☎ ☎ (solid phone)
☏ ☏ (open phone)
☑ ☑ (check box)
☒ ☒ (exxed box)
☚ ☚ (left-pointing finger)
☛ ☛ (right-pointing finger)
☝ ☝ (up pointing finger)
☞ ☞ (down pointing finger)
☠ ☠ (skull & crossbones)
☥ ☥ (Ankh)
☢ ☢ (radioactive)
☣ ☣ (biohazard)
✓ ✓ (check mark)
✝ ✝ (Latin Roman Cross)
✞ ✞ (Latin Cross 3d shadow)

It appears that the best way to send the special characters may be by simply copying the icon you wish to use and then pasting it into a Tweet. I experimented with copying the character code and with copying the displayed character itself, and both seem to work, though.

Just a note or two of caution: I believe special graphic characters such as these ought to be used to spice up posts occasionally, and should be avoided as a “main ingredient”. Use them sparingly, like exclamation points. If over-used, your audience will get graphic icon fatigue and their familiarity will lessen their ability to grab attention.

Again, these special characters won’t work on all devices! I can see the characters online through my PC browser, but not through my PDA. Via SMS, the character doesn’t go through at all, while surrounding text displays as normal. Via web browser on my PDA, there is just an unknown generic “block” character that appears in place of the special character. So, choose carefully if you wish to use these!

So, I’d also like to hear what you think about this. Have you used such characters to spice up your Tweets? If so, how effective do you think they are? Do they increase CTR when links are included?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Special Characters Are Lucky Charms For Twitter ♥ ☾ ★ ♣

  1. Daniella,
    They tend to make a tweet stand out a bit from the rest of the tweets out there, and the extra attention can result in more clicks, if the special characters are used effectively.

    Or, were you asking specifically how a skull-and-crossbones character could help? I’ve actually used that one when mentioning Talk Like A Pirate Day, and I think I saw it used when talking about pharmaceuticals and health products/issues.

  2. Suzi,
    I do not know of any extended character that is an icon of a buzzing bee. I suspect that you may be thinking of a string of special characters that form a little looping path of a busy bee moving from left to right — that would likely be composed of a few characters to make the picture. This is called ASCII Art. I seem to recall some sort of ASCII Art which makes up a buzzing bumblebee trail, but I cannot locate it.

  3. Hi Chris, this is exactly what I was looking for. I recently saw someone use  (Apple) on their profile and had to look up others. I have known about the music note from blip.fm and the dagger and other basics, but this is really cool. Thanks for taking the time to write this entry and share with us!

  4. Thank you!! I just wish this site was easier to find – I was searching for “symbols” instead of “characters” for mobile. Oops!

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