Why Twitter Helps You Write Better (But Only if You Don't Use Shortened Words)

One of my biggest pet peeves is when words are shortened or spelled incorrectly. I occasionally make a few spelling mistakes myself, but I cannot abide the new 'text speak' where you're is turned into 'ur' and the like. This is why I cannot text message. Because by the time I write out a full sentence, it takes too long!

I was worried that Twitter would follow the same vein and suddenly, shortened words would replace the real ones and our children would grow up thinking that later was actually spelled l8tr. Instead I find the opposite. Most of the people on Twitter articulate themselves extremely well.

So how does it help you write better?

Twitter has a 140 word character limit in which you must express yourself as succinctly as possible. Several times I've found through my tweets that I've gone on too long and had to reword my sentences.

This rewording has made my sentences clearer and easy to read. It also subconsciously teaches you to be tight and concise with your writing. As a writer, the most common thing I see with nonprofits is the tendency to be wordy. Whether it's a mission statement or website, there's a mentality of 'the more you throw up there, the better'.

Keeping your sentences clear and concise will attract your readers more, especially when it comes to web writing.

Twitter also helps remove a passive tone from your words.

Example:

I think this is a great article versus This is a great article.

You removed two words and become more confident.

So take a look at your content, whether it be on your website on in a brochure and assess whether or not it's as concise as it could be. So it's writing exercise time!

Writing exercise: Can you describe your mission statement in 140 characters? Give it a shot below in the comments!


1 comments:

Eric said...

I too find myself rewriting my Tweets to make them fit. What an interesting point.

I cited this entry in my blog post. Check it out:
http://www.ericleist.com/blog/our-news-capsule-culture

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