Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tweeting to Become a Better Writer, Editor

Want to increase your editing skills? Want to write more concisely? Then why aren't you using Twitter?

With its limit of 140 characters, Twitter forces you to become a better editor. Sometimes, what you have to say will go over the limit, so you must learn to edit out unneeded words and irrelevant points. Writing clear and concise statements that your audiences will understand (and that will save them time) is a must in today's 24-7 world of media consumption.

Not only will being part of Twitter help you edit down your work, but also you'll find it makes you more skilled at getting attention. Worried your headlines aren't interesting enough to pull in readers? Twitter can be a testing ground for your headline-writing and link-sharing abilities. Go in and start practicing writing headlines and sharing a link, and see how many people actually follow the link or say something to you about it.

Remember, Twitter isn't the here's-what-I-ate-for-breakfast tool that so many who just haven't given it a chance or don't fully understand its uses play it up to be. If you don't have something useful to share or something interesting to say, you're doing your followers a disservice. So wait. Make sure you share a good idea, or a personal thought that gives some insight into who you are. Be of value to your followers. Well-edited, catchy tweets will do just that, and those benefits will carry over to other elements of your work outside the social media realm.

Follow me on Twitter @joshuadelung.


oneluckyman said...

Well-said, and too true. I've written before about how those who trivialize Twitter seriously underestimate the power of 140 very well-chosen characters. On a side note, I tell my advanced media writing students the apocryphal tale of Hemingway filing dispatches from Europe in WWI and how his editors had to pay BY THE WORD. Thinking in that way gets them to boil things down.

Joshua A. DeLung said...

Thanks for reading and for the follow.

With the increasing amount of media to consume (and that we CAN now consume in a shorter amount of time), writing concisely is key to gaining and holding any amount of attention, especially to a general audience, I think.

Trivializing Twitter is a pet peeve of mine. I feel like I'm discovering the power of it as a networking tool only after taking the time to really develop networks for about a year, and I know the service's attrition rates are somewhat high... people just don't give it a chance. Of course, I think the advantages are more apparent to folks in ours and related fields.