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I Twitter Inside Twitter

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Have you ever wanted to tweet right outside the offices of Twitter? That's right, lay down 140 characters (or less) outside the headquarters of everyone's favorite social network. Sure, you can tweet anywhere, but doing it at Twitter HQ is so much more immediate. (Though it sounds like you might accidentally break the Internet.)

It's easier than you think: A simple Google search shows that the main offices of Twitter are located at 795 Folsom Street in San Francisco. Phone services will direct you to the number is (415) 222-9670, and they're open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fortunately, that's not too far from my house. So I recently took on a quest: to get inside Twitter HQ, and see if they would upgrade my Twitter account to allow me to tweet 170 characters -- which would allow me much more creative freedom than the standard 140. I thought that being a published writer, I would only need to make a plea in person to have them gladly upgrade my Twitter account to elite status.

And, of course, I would tweet the whole adventure. Onward to Twitter HQ!

Going to stand outside of Twitter headquarters; 4:11 p.m. via web

I arrived at the drab, grayish building that almost looks like the office from The Office (British version), though slightly more like a waffle. I pondered to myself: Shouldn't the past tense of "tweet" be "twat"? What else would it be? Twoot? Tweedledid? Tweetered? No, "twat" is the simplest, and the most fun to say.

Twitter headquarters: 795 Folsom St San Francisco; 4:12 PM via web

A host of people make their way in and out the Twitter doors, ranging from businessmen to hipster-types who look like they could hack into bank accounts.

Need more than 140 characters to describe my experience outside of Twitter HQ
4:14 PM via web

Behind the Twitter doors, security looks pretty tight. As I stand there, my heart pounding in anticipation, I wish I could describe more of this adrenaline-drenched experience via social networking, but damn Twitter only allows 140 characters. We'll soon see about that!

two men leaving Twitter headquarters and getting in limo. Zuckerberg and Bill Gates maybe?
4:17 PM via web

Need to get inside Twitter to ask if they will extend my 140 characters to 170 characters
4:18 PM via web

I sit outside for a few minutes, pulse racing, trying to devise a cunning plan to penetrate Twitter's inner sanctum. Should I put on my ghost of Steve Jobs disguise? Or should I dress up like a giant blue bird?

FedEx truck just pulled up -- I'll act like I'm w/delivery guy
4:24 PM via web

Even though I was not wearing a FedEx uniform, posing as a deliveryman somehow seemed like a good idea. (I could act like I'm delivering a shipment of expensive bidets.) Maybe being in the vicinity of Twitter also cuts down coherent thinking into 140 characters or less.

Worked--snuck past security while he was signing for FED Ex--INSIDE TWITTER!!!!!!!
4:24 PM via web

Booyah! Now all I have to do is act natural, and I'll be inside the Twitter offices in no time at all, angrily demanding my extra 30 characters.

In Twitter elevator? Which floor!!?? I'll go w 4th
4:31 PM via web

I got off the elevator to find a building directory, like at a dentist's office or medical building, but I couldn't locate the main reception area. I decided to walk the halls, sniffing the air for the unmistakably fishy scent of the Fail Whale.

Wandering the halls of Twitter. Should I twert for help?
4:34 PM via web

This is trickier than I thought! I'd ask a friend for help, but my explanation would be longer than 140 characters, and what kind of hashtags would I use? #breakingandentering? #twitterstalking? #twatwaffle?

Sign outside door says: Executive Briefing Center. Hmmm?
4:36 PM via web

ARE YOU TWITTER!?????
4:37 PM via web

It's really difficult to find the Twitter offices when I have to stop to twootle every time I do something.

Poking my head inside--no one looks happy about it.....
4:42 PM via web

I poke my head into a conference room, where several Twitter executives are engaged in serious discussion, which stops when they see me. The employees don't look like they want to make new friends, so I quickly blurt out my 170-character mission, so we can immediately get down to business.

Security guard has been called
4:42 PM via web

RUN!!!!!!!
4:42 PM via web

More running..
4:44 PM via web

Have you ever tried to twongle while running through an unfamiliar building? Not easy, especially when you're also taking pictures.


Being told to never come back to Twitter--ever again. LOL
4:45 PM via web

While the security guard was telling me to get the hell off the property, I was typing in the above twoodlydoddly, which I'm sure made him feel respected.

Damn you Twitter, damn you--we will one day meet again!
4:46 PM Jan 26th via web

I left defeated, but not vanquished. For the very next day, I discovered an easy way to get around the 140-character limit. My solution? Facebook.

Photos by Harmon Leon

This post was originally published on The San Francisco Chronicle's website.