OK, I just figured out (by trial & error), that Twitter will allow direct messages (DM’s) longer than 140 characters, at least from the “Message [username]” page you can get to by clicking on that link on the right-hand pane of that user’s profile page, the one that has the username already filled in at the top like this “Send [username] a message.”

Twitter will in fact allow up to 255 characters, or almost twice the “advertised” length of 140 (this is likely due to a database setting on that particular field – wonky, I know). So you can ignore the MINUS # of characters warning, and confidently go up to “-115”. Which could come in handy just in case you have a tiny bit more to say to someone in private.

Now, I haven’t tested whether this works from the home page (twitter.com/home) status field, or via any of the desktop clients, and maybe it’s best not to test and be happy that it works from the “Message [username]” page. Also, not sure what happens if that user has forwarding to SMS text messages turned on. Would they get 2 SMS? Would Twitter freak out?

Which brings me to my last point: Please, please, PLEASE, keep this to yourself. Do NOT turn around and announce this to your 10,000 Twitter followers. Let’s keep this between us, view it as a token of my appreciation. If everyone and their brother starts doing this, Twitter will almost surely shut this down in some way.

You might say, “but Alex, you just sent this to your 600+ closest Twitter friends…”, to which I would answer, I purposely didn’t write anything specific in the Tweet itself, so that really this will only be seen by a fraction of that number, i.e. people like yourself who pay attention, and take action (as in clicking through on a link).

Best – Alex Schleber