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Five Useful Twitter Features You Might Have Overlooked

Even the most tech-savvy among us inevitably have mornings where all the tweets, texts and status updates threaten to overwhelm our inboxes – and brains.

It’s important to always be on the lookout for helpful hacks that let you take advantage of all that technology can make easier for you, effectively separating the wheat from the chaff.

To help save you time, energy and sanity, we’ve pulled together five useful Twitter features you might have overlooked. From the ability to unsend any DM to the creation of completely custom Twitter widgets, we’re sure there’s something on our list that will make at least one part of your digital day easier for you.

Blue shading for URLs and @ mentions, red shading for character limit breaches:

Mary shared the news last month that, on Twitter.com, URLs in tweets you’re typing are now turned blue. The shading also kicks in for @ mentions. In addition, when you start typing over the 140-character limit, you’re notified by red shading over your text.

Check it out:

Why it’s useful: the over-character-count notification is time-saving in that you can immediately see where you have to start deleting. The blue @ mention and URL shading helps people who want to tweet using the “@” sign for other purposes, letting them know that they’re about to mention someone unknowingly.

Ability to unsend DMs:

Did you know that, unlike emails, texts and Facebook messages, you can delete a DM permanently from Twitter? When you delete a DM – click on the gear icon, select DMs, find the offending message, click on the trash can – it’s deleted from both your outbox and the recipient’s inbox. Word to the wise: people may have notifications turned on for DMs – users can receive e-mail, texts, or push notifications for incoming messages that include the message itself.

Why it’s useful: Save yourself a slap in the face from an estranged romantic partner, avoid getting fired, save face in a potentially embarrassing social situation (i.e., late-night drunkenness). You get the point.

Delete all location information from your tweets:

With one simple click, you can remove all geographical information from your Twitter stream. In your Twitter settings:

Why it’s useful: If you become concerned about privacy, it’s nice to know that you can remove all past geotags in one fell swoop. Not so easy on a service like, say, Foursquare.

Create customized Twitter widgets:

If you have a blog or website, it might be helpful to utilize Twitter’s proprietary widget creation service. In your Settings, click on Widgets, then Create. You can tailor your widget by content – do you want to include your timeline, favorites, a certain list, a specific search? – and appearance – height, theme (light or dark) and link color. Pretty cool.

Why it’s useful: There are hundreds of quality Twitter widgets available out of the box, but making one right from your own Twitter might be preferable.

Save Twitter searches:

You probably have already explored Twitter’s Advanced Search, but did you realize that you can save searches for the future? When you conduct your search, a button will show up in the top right corner that says “Save Search.” If you do so, that search will remain in your search tab, until you remove it (just click on the gear, and choose “Remove saved search.”) You can even embed it into a blog post or website.

Why it’s useful: Twitter search is powerful, and a particularly helpful way to cut through the firehose of data streaming your way daily. It’s a plus to be able to save any searches you conduct frequently, say if you’re on the hunt for a used bike in your city or monitoring mentions for a client.

Anything you’d add to the list? Share in the comments!

(Image via Shutterstock)

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