TwitLinks – permalinks for Twitter

One of the biggest challenges of Twitter is simply keeping up with the deluge of bite-sized chunks of content. The native experience would be much better if every tweet had a readily accessible permalink, just like many blog posts do.

While you can filter your feed (e.g. via lists), or even use a third party program (such as HootSuite), a permalink on every tweet would allow the following:

  • With a tab-enabled browser, regardless of where you are in Twitter, you could open the tweet in a new tab, to allow you to come back to it later.
  • You could copy the permalink, via right-click/Cmd-click, to save, share, or bookmark it.

Every tweet already has a permalink, in two locations, but neither are visible without one or two additional clicks:

  • If you click on any of the white space in a tweet, it expands to reveal a “Details” link, next to the date/time, which functions as a permalink.
  • If you click the “…” link under the tweet, a “Copy link to Tweet” menu item allows you to copy the permalink to your clipboard.

Twitter screen capture showing TwitLink in red

This omission led me to develop a solution that would add a permalink, conveniently labelled “Link,” and with the familiar “chain” icon, under every tweet. For simplicity, I created this in the form of a bookmarklet, below.

Why not a browser extension?

Creating this as a browser extension would allow this to run automatically, saving users the bother of clicking a bookmark/favourite every time a page loads. However, an extension is more trouble to develop and test, and a bit more bother to install, and I'm not yet convinced enough people are interested in this. On the other hand, a bookmarklet is relatively quick to develop, is easy to install, and works reliably in all modern browsers.

Give TwitLinks a try

First, make sure that your Bookmarks/Favorites bar is visible. If not, click Ctrl-B (Cmd-B on Mac) for Firefox, or Ctrl-Shift-I (Cmd-Shift-I on Mac) for Internet Explorer.

Then drag the link below to your Bookmarks/Favorites bar and release it. It should appear with the label “TwitLinks,” either where you release the mouse button, or at the bottom of your Bookmarks/Favorites bar.

That's it! Just click on your new “TwitLinks” Bookmark/Favorite whenever you're in Twitter, and the link will appear under each tweet.

I considered making a bookmarklet to enable similar functionality for Facebook, until I discovered FB already has permalinks hidden in plain sight: just click the grey date/time under the title of each post, and away you go. You can even click the date/time under any comment, and it loads with a nice, fading yellow background to help you find it again. Good work, Facebook, although you could have made it more obvious to the user.

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