As a long-time Twitter user, I can guarantee you this app will step up your writing game.
Currently, I have over 53,000 followers on Twitter. I am also verified, a badge I received a few years into my writing career as a columnist.
I first joined Twitter in 2011 only to keep up to date with my favourite boyband. It was The Wanted, in case anyone is curious. *wink* In time, however, Twitter became more than just an app for me to express my undying love for celebrities. Through it, I have gained invaluable experience that helped further my professional career and my passion for writing.
Here is a list of 5 things that I learned throughout my eight years as a Twitter user. I hope this helps you with your writing too.
1. KISS: Keep It Short and Simple!
While I was working as a content writer and copywriter in a branding consultancy, my boss once commented “Keep It Simple, Shafiqah” when he edited my final drafts. I tend to get a little too descriptive and repetitive, he says. Thankfully, I’ve been getting that comment less!
Now Twitter makes it easier for users to be long-winded because of their increased character limit and thread function, but you should make a conscious effort not to abuse it. Use the thread function only when you need to. Try to keep your tweets within the 280 character limit.
Shorter sentences are easier to read and understand. No one enjoys a large chunk of text.
2. Be concise!
It’s not enough to ensure that your tweets are short; you also have to make sure they are concise.
giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive.
Remember: You have a limited amount of characters to get straight to the point. In trying to keep your tweets short, make sure that your message does not get lost in the process.
The challenge with Twitter is having to remove redundant words without removing important information. I understand this can be difficult. As writers, we believe every little detail is essential. Well, it is. But now we have to identify what’s more important.
The job of a copywriter is to cut through the noise to get their message across.
3. You only have 3 seconds!
Research from the Statistic Brain Research Institute finds that we only have 3 seconds or less to capture a viewer’s attention. Now think about the times you read a headline and just scrolled past because it didn’t pique your interest.
I’ve had some of my tweets go viral before. Usually, they are the ones that are controversial or relatable. Funny tweets do well too, but sadly, humour isn’t my niche.
Instead of seeing Twitter as just a social media app, look at it as a platform to practice your copywriting. After writing a story or an article, grind those brain muscles to see how you can condense the content into one tweet before sharing.
You need to give people something that would be worth their time.
4. Enhance your vocabulary!
The character limit gives you a chance to exercise your vocabulary and see what words can fit the context better. This is the best time for you to whip out that thesaurus and learn new words that are shorter or more descriptive.
However, don’t just pick random synonyms! Every word has subtle differences, so be sure to check the meaning and usage as well.
Even if you’re not seeking out new words, Twitter is an excellent place for you to discover them by reading the tweets of other users. I’ve lost count of how many terms, phrases, and terminologies I have learned through this platform!
You don’t need to use big words to sound smart.
5. The power of editing!
It is no secret that every writer needs to learn to edit effectively. With the shortening of sentences, replacing words, and finding ways to grab a reader’s attention, Twitter serves as a great way for writers to hone their editing skills.
It’s a skill that I am working on too, but I daresay I am slowly getting better at it thanks to spending so much time on Twitter.
Laura Mondragón has put together an amazing list for your reference. There is a second part linked in there, so be sure to check that out too!
I’ve been told a lot of times that I take Twitter “too seriously” and it is something I do not deny. Not only do I do most of my networking on the app, but it has also helped me improve as a copywriter as well.
If you have a Twitter account, it’s time to utilise it. You will be glad that you did.
This article was originally published on Writer’s Blokke.