How Twitter Makes You A Better Writer

Twitter

By now you’ve most likely joined Twitter (and if you haven’t, you need to, pronto!). Twitter is not only a great place for businesses and marketers, but it’s also a great place to spruce up your writing skills.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Twitter can make you a better writer. Here’s how.

Twitter forces you to be concise

If you’ve ever used Twitter, you know that you have 140 characters to say whatever you want to say. Now keep in mind, I didn’t say 140 words—or even 140 letters—I said 140 characters.

That’s not a lot of room. Letters, numbers, symbols, punctuation and spaces all count as characters on Twitter.

What all of this means is, you have to be concise. You have to know exactly what you want to say, and say it in as few words as possible.

Many writers, however, are “wordy” and often have long, drawn out descriptions and sentences, so it can be pretty difficult to create a message that’s only 140 characters.

Here’s where Twitter comes in again.

Twitter forces you to exercise your vocabulary

Since you only have 140 characters to get your message across, you’re forced to dust off your dictionary and thesaurus and find new words to use—Words that are shorter, words that are more descriptive, and words that get the job done in 140 characters or less.

Crafting a message for Twitter requires you to “pump up” your verbs (replacing adverbs and adjectives with them), and discover a better, clearer and more concise way to say what you want to say.

Now most people won’t hit 140 characters right away. No, they’ll end up with 160 or 148 characters to start out with (Twitter tells you how many characters you need to remove to make your message fit).

This is the final way that Twitter makes you a better writer.

Twitter forces you to improve your editing skills

Every writer needs to be able to edit their work. And by using Twitter, you can really hone your editing skills and make them top-notch.

It’s almost like playing a game; trying to write a 140-character message and still get your point across in a way that inspires your followers to take action, to click on your link or to “retweet” your post.

I like to think of it as a brainteaser, forcing me to think hard and dig deep down into my vocabulary to find a way to shorten my message.

I’ve been using Twitter since January, and my writing skills have not only improved, but I’ve been writing better copy as well.

Yet another reason you should be using Twitter. Not that you needed one.

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is a creative and effective copywriter. Her blog, Procrastinating Writers, offers writing advice, motivation and inspiration for writers who procrastinate.

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  1. Despite a lot of hype from friends and colleagues, I have been a huge Twitter skeptic, perceiving it as an enormous time-sink with little or no value except self-gratification. (No, not that kind!) That is, until I finally took the time to actually visit the site yesterday. Wow, amazing people and ideas flying around there. Fun, too.

    Now my problem is, how do I get any work done? Being a twit (hmm, that’s probably not the right term, is it?) is a lot more fun than actually working!

    Shameless plug: Follow me at @tom_mckay

  2. E.B. White in The Elements of Style recalled how his teacher William Strunk, Jr. frequently said: “Omit needless words!”

    Twitter helps us practice Strunk’s advice.

  3. Very true. I’ve been very pleased with not only Twitter but how much it has helped me in so many areas!

  4. So true, I noticed the same thing.

    In fact, sometimes, before I write my article I try to craft a 140-character summary. That way I’m clearer about what’s my maint point, and the writing flows more smoothly.

  5. Twitter is very good in every aspect, but its dangerous then Cocaine. if you get addicted you will end up twiting all the time. which is not good for your health and your profession. excess of any Social media can reduce your productivity.

  6. Wow, I was JUST thinking this exact same thing in my head the other day. I guess great minds think alike.

  7. @Vlad Dolezal What a great idea! Do you think the 140-character summary helps you focus a piece of writing when you haven’t come up with a main focus yet? I may have to try doing that from now on!

    @Terry Heath Great reminder! The Elements of Style is a great reference for all writers.

    @Tom McKay I think the best part about Twitter is, even if you take time to post something, since it’s so short, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds and then you can get right back to what you were doing…sometimes… :-)

  8. You stated the obvious !

  9. This is exactly the same phenomonon I noticed when I created a newspaper ad a few months ago. I first designed a large version with lots of copy space, but had to cut it down for budget reasons. On the small ad, my writing was much clearer because I didn’t have as much space. Even when I made a slightly bigger ad later, I kept the small version’s text, and the ad worked well.

    Thanks, Jennifer!

  10. Terry, check out the link at “as few words as possible” for some Strunk & White goodness. :)

  11. Yes it really does force you to learn how to be more concise. I often can be too wordy in trying to explain or describe something. But then, with only 140 characters sometimes I resort to IM-style shorthand! :D

  12. @Sunil Pathak Yes, social media obsession can definitely cause decreases in productivity. That’s why it’s important to have a balance. I think if you set boundaries, such as only using social media for an hour throughout the work day, it helps.

  13. They say when writing poetry, every word counts. The same thing with Twitter: EVERY word counts. So are Twitterers poets? Perhaps they are the 21st century poets. In the 19th century, Poets would meet in coffee shops and discuss politics and current events. Aren’t we just updating the theme?

  14. @Emily Sheetz Tweeters as poets…I like that!

    @WeSeed Writer Great minds DO think alike… :)

    • Jennifer, you could kill the Epic in me, lol. I have found ‘Tweeting’ has given me a new view on expression. Concise is not always for the fiction writer but it does help the flow.

      Danniethewriter. Follow and I shall try.

  15. Absolutely. Twitter’s been very, very, very good for me personally to trim my elaborate stories down to what I’m actually trying to convey.

    There’s a time for the story, and it’s a huge asset, but it doesn’t always apply.

    Have an awesome day!
    Dan

  16. Twitter also encourages imaginative abbrevs. ;-)

    And by the way, that would be “you read that correctLY.” Even though “correctly” has two more letters.

  17. I used to be a skeptic and didn’t think I needed this. Now I believe!

  18. Makes me think of the old advertising adage on editing:

    “I would have written a shorter ad if I had more time.”

  19. @Ryan Congrats! Welcome to the wonderful world of Twitter :) (and in case you need someone to follow… @ProcrastWriter … shameless self-plug, right Tom McKay? :) )

  20. I like Twitter

    because I speak in short bursts

    but, …

    it is distracting me

    from my blog, and paying

    writing projects

    HELP

  21. Spot on comments about twitter and becoming a better writer. I have written a similar blog post.

  22. @Michael A. Stelzner Maybe you can find a way to use Twitter to drive traffic to your blog AND to get paying writing projects? Kill two birds with one stone…

  23. Thanks Jennifer, great post.

    Just one thing: shouldn’t that be ‘you read that correctly’?

  24. Wow, fast work. I hit submit, the page refreshed, and ‘correct’ was already corrected!

  25. Less Tolkien. More Hemmingway. Gets the message across. Thanks for this post!

  26. Not a big fan of Twitter as a something that would help you be a better writer. Seems more like IM writing.

  27. @Franklin Bishop It is a lot like IM writing, but if you are using it for marketing/business purposes, it can make you a better writer/copywriter. I think it’s all a matter of what you use it for.

  28. Twitter gives me more ideas on writing, train me to think/act fast. However, at times quite distracting and I have to turn it off to concentrate on whatever work I’m in. What makes it captivating, is it’s a micro-blogging tool; which makes it equally (well, almost) important besides Blogging. Thanks Jennifer. ^^

  29. Congrats on your first article on Copyblogger and your 1st anniversary on your Procasting Writers blog. You are awesome!!!

  30. Yes! I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my writing since I started using Twitter. I am wordy at best, but it’s getting easier and easier for me to be clear and concise.

  31. very true !! I recently wrote a blog post saying that I could write more after starting twittering :D

  32. Excellent post on Twitter taking us back to Strunk & White basics. Twitter’s great for demanding clarity. Recently suggested Tweeting to a colleague whose photo caps need to be shorter.

  33. It’s a stretch to say that Twitter can improve your writing. Most “tweeters” get around the 140 character cap by butchering words, which has become all too common in social media. Blogging, on the other hand, is a great way to help your writing skills because you must be concise, stay on topic, and publish regularly if you have any hope of actually being read. Practice makes progress…

  34. I agree, it seems simple to write such short phrases but it is not. It helps for writing quick marketing messages or info material that needs to be short, eye catching and descriptive.

  35. @Michael A. Stelzner Try using tweetdeck. It makes it much easier to review replies and direct messages. In Tweetdeck, you can make a list of people who post tips and articles that are helpful to your work and you can make a group with just them. When you are free and have more time, you can be more liberal in browsing to what everyone else has to say.

  36. OK, this is my 3rd attempt to post a clever follow-up about missing a lot of this thread because I was off twittering/ frittering away my time… but somehow it didn’t show up. Twice! Gone! Now the world will never see this little chunk of my genius. A tragedy for the world…

    … but a great topic for a tweet! [Uh-oh, Twitter really is like crack! (Twack?)]

    PS: If this comment doesn’t show up either, I’ll know it’s definitely a conspiracy.

  37. @Denise Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed this post and my blog. Keep on reading! :)

    @Mandi I am with you! As a part-time fiction writer, I definitely have issues with being “wordy,” which often carries over into my non-fiction work. That’s why I love Twitter. It has made me so much more concise and my editing skills have improved tremendously.

    @MJ Blogging IS a great way to improve your writing skills! I wrote a post about that on Procrastinating Writers (http://procrastinatingwriters.blogspot.com/2009/01/consider-starting-your-own-blog.html).

    @Craig Yes, you would think being able to write short phrases would be simple, but it’s really very challenging (at least is it for me). Especially trying to write short phrases that your followers actually care about.

  38. considering that it is a fact that women talk more then men on any given day…tweeting has provided an avenue for me to streamline my content. Not that I am still not thinking all those words…I just can’t put them all down in writing now!!

  39. Great post, so true! Twitter also forces tweep to be concise with URLs as well.

  40. Twitter has been of great help to me.Sometimes a bit difficult to understand how words are cut into pieces.I’m not a native speaker,that’s why it’s been a challenge for me

  41. @Patricia Yes, it can be difficult to understand what is being said when words are shortened or cut into pieces…that’s why your aim should always be to find a shorter, yet clear, way to write your message.

    So rather than cut the word apart, find a different word to use!

  42. I discipline myself to no more than 2 posts per day on Twitter and as a poet I love the opportunity to write meaningful and soulful thoughts in 140 characters as a result I am compiling an anthology called:
    ‘Tweets for My Tweetheart!’

  43. In India, we have Google SMS channel too.

  44. When I first started with Twitter I could’t imagine how I was going to get the whole message in. I have since learned brevity and getting an idea across with as few words as possible.

  45. I agree, but I will be adding another one ‘Twitter helps you find your voice’ to the list in my next post.

    I also find it more reliable than searching blogs, which may be old and out of date.

    Hey, there’s another benefit. :)

  46. @Angel Good addition! Twitter also makes you a better copywriter because your goal is usually to get a “retweet” so you’re always trying to generate messages that inspire people to take action (and retweet your content!).

  47. I totally agree that twitter can make you a better writer. Many is the time I’ve had to cut my tweets down to fit the 140 char. requirement and still make sense. It really does force you to think. I’ve always tended to write a lot of run on sentances and twitter has kind of helped me to stop doing it somewhat. I still have some more practice to do:)

  48. Really? Twitter? Please. <– That’s 24 characters.

  49. Me too! I play a game trying to craft tweet that has enough words 2 capture interest & B retweeted! That means less than 140 characters 2 B sent by someone else as RT!

    Gotta Love Twitter! Way 2 much time spent on there but it’s a great source of friendships & new clients!

  50. Nicely done! [Although you do have to overlook the writer using 2,456 characters to explain the supremacy of 140. ;-) ]

  51. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for replying to my comment and giving me the link to your blog post. I really enjoyed the post–love your blog and your concept. Blogging has been my answer to getting over my writer’s procrastination. I subscribed to your posts and am now following you on Twitter. For any bloggers out there who have the same “affliction” check out Jennifer’s blog. It’s definitely worth your time!

  52. @MJ Wow, thank you so much! I really appreciate that. It’s nice to know my crazy concept (resources for writers who procrastinate) is hitting home with so many people! Procrastination is something I deal with first-hand. I’m still not as productive as I’d like to be!

    Another writer told me she read that post and it was the final “push” she needed to start her blog (http://tenaciousme3.wordpress.com/ in case you’re interested). She’s blogged almost everyday since!!

  53. It seems a lot of people are getting with the Twitter program at the moment. I’ve noticed a decreas in performance in recent days. I wonder how the system will cope with the massive influx of new users.

  54. Big Twitter fan here. You make many good points in your post. But, comparing tweets to poems (per one comment)? No way. (118)

  55. I heartily agree. Twittering teaches the fine art of honing your writing! You have to find every unnecessary word and weed it out. That’s editing at its best.

  56. This is completely absurd. It’s like saying youtube commenting makes us better writers. If twitter is making us all better writers, then why hasn’t anything interesting ever been tweeted . . . like ever?

    If you asked me to show you 50 great blog articles, I could do it in a heartbeat. If I asked you to see 50 pithy or interesting tweets that don’t include a link . . .

  57. True, twittering is more like chirping than song, but it seems to suit the many – seeking the multitude with less time to invest.
    @designarts

  58. @quadzilla “Interesting” is subjective. You might not have come across an “interesting” Twitter post, but many of us have. In fact, I think many people using Twitter for business and marketing think what they post is interesting in some way, otherwise why waste time posting it?

  59. I’m working on a short story. And I’m writing it all on Twitter. Check it out. twitter.com/atweetstory

  60. @Michael Stelzner, the timer is your friend. Set up some walls around tweeting time or you are DOOMED.

    @quadzilla, I’ve got tons of them. Can’t work out how to link, but here’s an example:

    (hotdogsladies) People who went to Berkeley and shop at Whole Foods refer to their superstition as “Karma.” Which I think is Sanskrit for “hilarious irony.”

  61. I must edit

  62. @Nic Garcia This is fantastic! What an interesting way to use Twitter :) I look forward to reading more!

  63. My only problem with getting too comfy w/ using Twitter (and working within its 140 w limit) is that, if I don’t watch it, I keep trying to write in short sentences–everywhere else–and with little punctuation.

    Twittering particularly affects my paragraph structure, which unconsciously ends up being a series of spurts or sentences that I need to go back and wind together into paragraphs.

    In a way, having gotten used to Twitter helps with my writing brainstorming and quickly writing down some structure to ideas that I will revisit later. It does have its benefits. But as with anything anymore, it’s in the writer’s interest to be conscious and in-the-moment to prevent writing faux pas outside the Twitter environment.

  64. I understand fully the constraint of 140 characters and how that can affect writing. It has however taught me to be more concise and I do not have great long rambling paragraphs when I write now. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!

  65. I wish that were true. Twitter also loves the trash abbreviations of texting U=you, BRB, and the everly lovley POS (parent over shoulder).

  66. Quad, here are a few from last year:

    Mickipedia: Oprah is on Dr. Phil. Is this the singularity?

    zeldman: I don’t judge you for having those thighs. I judge you for having those thighs and wearing those shorts.

    calinative: My date is late. He better get right or get left.

    kareem: “social media consultant” is the “webmaster” of the 21st century.

    Stranahan: BREAKING: Scoble to acquire Calacanis after sudden merger of Rose, Dvorak, Kawasaki & Laporte. Twitter users now only need follow 3 people.

    copyblogger: Please pick one: (a) Coldplay is the most overrated band ever (b) Coldplay is terrible (c) Coldplay should be jailed for musical treason.

    rafikam: It was so easy for me to become a Mets fan as an 8 year old in ‘85. Next time I should shop around before making that kind of decision.

  67. Yeah, I’ve been finding this a lot with twitter. It definitely improves your ability to be concise and direct, and to self-edit.

    It reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a friend of mine who was taking a creative writing course at the local university. She was telling me that when they were working on poetry the lecturer told them that a very easy way to improve one’s poetry better was to REMOVE ALL THE ADJECTIVES.

    Sounds kind of crazy, right? But if any of you write poetry, I’d seriously recommend trying it. I guarantee you’ll be impressed with the results.

    I think that it’s a natural tendency for anyone with language facility to want to show off their vocabulary and skill, but “purple prose” often robs work of its power and effectiveness.

    And you’ll often find that it’s the Latinate terms that are chiefly responsible. Winston Churchill’s oratorial style was founded heavily upon Anglo-Saxon words and his speeches still resonate with people today.

    It’s the good, old words that do the business.

  68. Twitter has helped me to take in my surroundings in a different, more interesting way. If I hear a Bob Marley song or read a cool quote somewhere, I actually take more interest in it and then tweet about it! Maybe it inspires or ignites nostalgia in someone else…

  69. I love your point about how Twitter teaches you to be concise. I’ve always been one to be challenged when the assignment was an essay of 500 words vs. 10 pages (no problem).

    Melanie Jordan
    Author Of “What You Know Is Worth More Than You Know(TM)”
    http://Twitter.com/Melaniejor

  70. I read this site as often as possible, but now following Copyblogger on Twitter (I just started using Twitter a few weeks ago @HelpMeRick) makes me keep up even better. Excellent site, and excellent article. Thanks.

  71. I think that’s a good observation. My only “complaint” with Twitter right now is the fact that I am clicking through to others’ sites and blogs, but it doesn’t seem as if anyone is clicking through to mine … or, for that matter, responding to my tweets. I am a bit frustrated by Twitter.

  72. Great article, I definitely agree and didn’t really think about it helping me be more concise until reading this post as I have had to ditch the unnecessary words a few times. I have posted this on my Twitter feed!

  73. @Mogul Yes! What a brilliant suggestion. Try removing all the adjectives in your poetry. I wonder if that would work for fiction as well? I could definitely use some help in that area!

    @Katie Me too! Now when I read something/watch something/hear about something/learn something I think “I wonder if this would make a good tweet!”

    @Petula Don’t worry, it takes time to build a following on Twitter. You’ll get there. Just keep posting relevant content, no matter how long it takes! One suggestion would be to pose questions for your followers…that may help you get some responses.

  74. Excellent post! You’ve articulated a lot of the reasons why I love Twitter!

  75. I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but I think you’re right. 140 characters really does force you to get to the point.

  76. Hey Jennifer.. The progress that you have made as far as the presence in Twitter is tremendous. I agree with you regarding twitter making us better writers. However, it is not always good tool for making us a better writer. It can be vice versa also. It depends on the people whom we follow. If the quality of language of the people whom you are following is not up to the mark we will become worse writers. Let us be positive and hope for the best!

  77. I know Twitter is really good for those who are optimizing URLs. I also try to make my ideas promoted in the same manners.

  78. I Love Twitter so much :)
    and I like this article :)
    thanks alot

  79. Up to now I’ve been putting Twitter on the back-burner. Guess it’s time to get on the bandwagon!

  80. Aye…being concise and having a large vocabulary definitely helps make a good twitterer…I get the same sort of creative exercise out of writing my haikus…

  81. I don’t agree with the article. Yes, Twitter makes you concise, forces you to find synonyms etc., but also forces you to use acronyms and abbreviations commonly not used (e.g. sntc = sentence etc.), forces you to throw all the typographical knowledge (commas, dots and spaces after those characters) for the sake of 140 characters.

    Basically, you are saying Twitter is like exercising in a cage and celebrating the fact you have to be folded just to do some push ups…

    I realli like Twitter, but it does not make you a better writer. Definitely not.

  82. but also forces you to use acronyms and abbreviations commonly not used

    Twitter does not “force” you to do anything. What you’ve done is choose to compromise.

    The article suggests you try harder not to compromise. :)

  83. Yes, it’s the same reason practicing journalism makes you a better writer. There’s only so much space so you have to learn to be economical with your words and cut to fit.

  84. @Dax Turner I’m not saying Twitter is the only thing that makes you a better writer. Obviously, that is not the case. I also don’t think that we could become worse writers due to the people we follow not having high-quality language. It is up to each individual “Tweeter” to uphold the standards of good writing. If they choose not to, I don’t think it’s due to the people they follow. But that’s just my opinion :)

    @Reverend Mike Haikus are a great way to practice being concise!

    @Brian Clark Exactly! Try harder NOT to compromise. Well said.

  85. I love brevity ergo Twitter.

    “The fewer the words, the better the prayer.” ~Martin Luther

    “Brevity is the soul of wit.” ~Shakespeare

  86. Not only am I short writer I write short too so twitter is ideal for me.

  87. @Maria Schneider — True. Daily journalism also teaches you the importance of not waiting for inspiration to strike before you start writing (at least for non-fiction). Because when your editor or producer needs it by 2 pm, he doesn’t mean 2:30pm. Besides, inspiration is often attracted by the sound of typing. :-)

  88. Recently join Twitter myself. Here’s a great article on this subject by @rands: The Art of the Tweet

  89. Twitter definitely makes you think about the most concise way to express yourself, but I don’t think that all writing needs to be so crisp and curt! I don’t know that I would want to read a novel that consists of very short sentences with little description.

  90. @GoEverywhere Team When it comes to fiction, you can be more wordy and use a combination of long and short sentences and descriptions. When it comes to copywriting, less is more.

  91. With Twitter’s popularity rate skyrocketing as it has, 1238% in 2008 according to some estimates, it is hard to create unique content about the site. This article puts a fresh face gives writers who are Tweeters a new perspective on utilizing the tool.

  92. Being concise, a better editor, using verbs well, and building vocab are huge benefits of being active on Twitter. For me, this is twice as important, since I teach people to write bio-vignettes (these, obviously have to be concise) to honor a loved one. I’ll use your article to shore-up the ideas in my guide book to help get my points across, especially to the younger crowd who enjoy information gleaned from the internet.

  93. I agree! That is one of the reasons I started using Twitter. I am wordy! I has helped me to be concise. However, I refuse to use things like numbers instead of words as that is defeating my purpose. But, I do retain the right to use the “&” sign.

    Blessings,
    Wendy

  94. I couldn’t agree more. It’s a nightmare for me as I like to write an essay every time I say anything. For once, I will keep this comment to within 140 characters, or thereabouts.

  95. Thanks for a great post.
    Great reminder to verbal people who write the same way they speak. This can often make their written words twice or three times as long as they need to be…Oops there I go … taking too many words again!

  96. John DeGaspari :

    I agree. Less can be more. Nicely said.

  97. Twitter is great….thanks for sharing information

  98. I agree, Jennifer. Twitter does make you a better writer. Also, it is a treasure trove of information for research-gathering purpose. However, about those 140 characters, it sure would eat into my paycheck if I were only getting paid for 140-character articles. But, I guess for you, as a copywriter, brevity is the thing. Nice post.

  99. As an educator, your post really makes me think. English/Language Arts teachers could really use Twitter to help students learn how to write. Let’s not forget that there is a definite correlation between writing and thinking.

  100. @Andrew Pass Most definitely! I think using Twitter to help teach students how to write also helps you relate to their world, since so many young people are very into social media.

  101. Great post, I have been loving Twitter a lot too recently. Though I would like to find a nice slim quick application to use instead of the website. TweetDeck was a bust.

  102. Brevity = discipline. Thank you for the fine post…

  103. great read, I too have recently discovered the wonders of twitter. It really does change things in the way people communicate online.

  104. Gary Marlowe :

    I agree the 140 character restriction forces you to think more about the words you use as well as how many you include. Sometimes though, the notion of less is more doesn’t allow you to get your message across – there’s simply not enough space to convey what you want to say. Reducing the word count can lose the gist of what you’re trying to say and of course it takes longer to write short than it does to write long. There is an answer however: stop, send then restart your conversation. You’ve now got another 140 characters to continue where you left off! But be quick, or your message might lose its context.

  105. Exactly. Right to the point. No fluff.

  106. Good post on how Twitter teaches you to write concisely- it helped! I definitely have a big problem writing concisely. I want to turn everything into some big, brilliant masterpiece novel…not exactly for Twitter.

  107. I don’t necessarily agree with this article. Concise copy is great and highly sought after – however, grammatically correct and concise copy is even better. Twitter just does not allow for all of the necessary punctuation required to write a complete thought, or even sentence!

    Just taking a quick peak over at my TweetDeck app, I couldn’t find a single “tweet” that was grammatically correct or used complete words (or was a complete sentence, for that matter). That doesn’t seem like copy anyone would actually pay for, does it?

  108. @Kim Stearns Yes, there are plenty of people on Twitter who don’t use proper punctuation, grammar, words, complete sentences, etc. But what you need to keep in mind is that these people are choosing not to use it. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

    Most people just take the easy road and rather than finding shorter ways to say things or more concise word choices, they just compromise and abbreviate or remove all punctuation.

    I refer back to Brian Clark’s well-said comment from above (number 82 in the list):

    The article suggests you try harder not to.

  109. When I taught journalism at Ball State I strongly encouraged my students to write two page papers on one page and to be sure and stop writing when they finished. They found this very useful.
    A lot of folks write like they think writing should sound with wordy, nearly endless sentences often longer than a well composed paragraph.
    SC

  110. I think you are right. I have never heard about Twitter. I must try it.

  111. Ever since I started using Twitter
    My breath doesn’t stink
    My hair is less grey
    My kids love me more

    I could go on and on, but It has changed my life

    To become a Twit

    Praise Jesus!

    ZuD

  112. Twitter sure has helped me with my writing. Thanks for the encouragement.

  113. I concur. If you want to be followed, you must make sense within the Twitter character limit. Short and simple almost always works.

  114. I’ve never really been that bothered about Twitter. I installed it once and then thought – “Whats the point ?”. I suppose to a certain degree I still feel the same, but if it can improve my writing skills then….I’ll give anything a go !

  115. Twitter helped me create better headlines. The catchier the better, really.

  116. I couldn’t agree more! It definitely has helped me become better at writing press releases and even in my everyday writing like emails. Thanks for the post!

  117. Jennifer,

    Absolutely true. Twitter turns everyone into a little Ernest Hemingway, sparse with their words but making each one as powerful as ever. The only thing it doesn’t teach is editing the content, but you can tell by who you truly follow who’s good at that.

  118. Signed up for twitter the other day and really trying hard to figure out the purpose of it. Thanks for the article, will keep working on it!

  119. Yes, Twitter has helped me a lot in improving my writing skills

  120. I have been procrastinating starting to Twitter, but after this, I have no more excuses! Thank you!

  121. Dear Jennifer,

    I must agree with you. Eventhough English is not my native language, I think i have improved a lot my writing skill since joining Twitter. I really love Twitter !

    Cheers!

  122. I think this goes with what i was always taught about writing in as many different styles and in as many different places as possible. People are always advising you read different materials, so why not write in the same way?
    It develops different skills and I must admit, writing in 140 characters isn’t easy.

  123. @wordwrangler

    ‘I would have written a shorter letter, but did not have the time’ was written by Blaise Pascal (French mathmatician) in the 17th century, although it has also been attributed to Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but I thought you’d like to know!

  124. Yes, twitter makes you more succinct… Nothing more to add really. Vince

  125. Oops… sorry — I meant Jennifer :-(. Arrived here via a tweet that referenced @copyblogger, and automatically associated the post with Brian… apologies! That’ll teach me to pay more attention to post titles / author details :-(.

  126. It doesn’t do much for people who write too little, though.

  127. “So are Twitterers poets? Perhaps they are the 21st century poets.”

    ya, perhaps NOT. Poetry is beautiful, twitter is just micro-blogging, or should I say, micro-boring. Tweeting about useless mundane crap you are doing is NOT poetry, it’s just boring crap. Nice try.

  128. Yeah Clarkson, I’m sure an anonymous narrow-minded dickhead like you is making great art. Why not share it with us?

  129. Thanks Jennifer for sharing this informative article. Before this I didn’t know what Twitter is all about even though I have heard of the name. It is especially suitable for people like me who can’t write a great content and who doesn’t have much to write about.

  130. What about all the advantages to the writer of reading all those great articles?

  131. I was thinking the same thing a few days ago. Too bad you can’t explain things over twitter

  132. I think this goes with what i was always taught about writing in as many different styles and in as many different places as possible..and Yes, Twitter has helped me a lot in improving my writing skills

  133. Fascinating post – you’re right, but I think that using twitter to become a better writer may have to be an intentional choice.

  134. I’ve been blogging for months about the benefits of online communication to improve the way you speak & write. So true! And I agree with Jeff: It only works (like anything else in life) if you CHOOSE to work it!

  135. I totally disagree … 140 characters is a great obstacle … you are saying that as if 100 characters wud make us even better … lol

  136. Twitter is indeed a good way for communications and it also does help bloggers or internet marketer businesses in one way of the other..

    Great post!

  137. Great post. Your site rocks. So useful and informative. Keep it up :)

  138. Twitter as a micro-blogging platform enables us to leave a message to the community where tons of our followers are hanging out.

    With that being said, we have a chance to communicate with other interested people in a very unique way, answering the question: “What are you doing?”

    As you mentioned, we only have 140 characters space to say what we want to say. So, it should be straightforward and concise.

    In my opinion, Twitter could be smartly used as a an announcement tool. It should be considered as a platform where we start a conversation in Twitter and then let it be followed from a link to the main source.

    Let’s say, we have written an informative and promotional article on our blog. Now, we need to get people know about it. Twitter is one of the first places we should go and let our Followers know about the new published article. We could start with something like “Hey, I’m now reading this amazing article about…..”

    That way, we attract the Followers’ attention and have them visit the link which is ultimately our goal from using Twitter.

    That’s why we must know how to write an eye-catching message as brief as possible and that’s not easy.

    In this article, you have covered one of the most interesting points we need to learn. Thanks a lot.

    Peace!

    Hooshmand

  139. Your points are true to a certain extent. My vocabulary too improved after i started tweeting, and the creativity factor that comes in when trying to get across your message in a limited number of characters makes it all the more better!

  140. So very true and to the point. Twitter does help a LOT in opening up the limitations in the mind when it comes to writing :)

  141. Ya as Strunk & White, and even Shakespeare pointed out- brevity is good. I dig Twitter for making me do that. I see it as a challenge.

  142. Hi, I agree with your post. Before, I just used twitter to gain new friends. However, when I had read this article, I will post a sensible and inspiring message on twitter.

  143. Curtis W. Smith :

    I definitely agree with this article. When I first set up a Twitter account it appeared to be nothing more than a chat room for people who love to create text messages on their phone. However because I found some very interesting people I kept my account but didn’t use it very often.

    Now I use it more and more to sharpen my communication skills. The 140 character limit sharpens a lot of skills: grammar, creating a very clear message, and creative problem solving.

  144. Yeah, Twitter is good, I can learn writing using it.

  145. Twitter definitely tests our skills in briefing skills..

  146. I have learned so much from twitter- in fact I would not be reading this if not for twitter.
    I have improved my spelling from it as well.
    @sandwichmom

  147. So true, I noticed the same thing.

    In fact, sometimes, before I write my article I try to craft a 140-character summary. That way I’m clearer about what’s my maint point, and the writing flows more smoothly.

  148. Great post! Folks can follow me on twitter at @financialsamura.

    Twitter is great when used properly.

    Best

  149. I think, anything that works well, should be used very carefully.
    As it may lead one to be known to many.

    It is very helpful at times.

  150. I think, expressing own understanding within a few words
    may be quite challenging, but nothing comes simple in this
    competitive world.

  151. Really? Twitter? Please. <– That’s 24 characters.

  152. I love Twitter just because it allows me to be precise and on point. The conversation is good; but my writing skills have improved greatly.

  153. There isn’t a whole lot of negative I can say about Twitter. The 140 character blogging phenomenon has definitely helped me be more concise, attract traffic, visitors, and great blogging friends. I visited a site recently that had the cute little blue bird holding the follow me sign. The blog author’s caption read “Follow Me or the bird gets it!” I thought that was priceless :)

  154. I luuuuuuvvvv twitter. It really helped me to promote my new book, sleep your way to the top in business. Mainstream media picked it up through twitter alone. I couldn’t think of a quicker and more effective way to building a personal brand. It’s also great to weed out who the odd balls are in the business community, especially the one’s that continually complain about things in their twitter feed. Don’t they have something better to do!? Oh crap, I think I’m complaining!

  155. Sometimes when I get stuck writing I look at Twitter. It can give you some mind opening ideas.. Great article and write up, so true!

  156. True, a lot of people find twitter quite challenging. They also find it hard to figure out what’s the power behind the 140 characters. But thanks to this post and Copyblogger…enlightenment is absolutely available.

  157. Twitter is the best place to flaunt your creativity. It’s sleek, concise and huge platform for writers. Nice write up!

  158. I agree on the concise part but I am not writing complete thoughts.

  159. I agree that twitter will sharpen your writing skills even without your knowledge. I more often than not find myself beyond the 140 character limit and have to go back and rewrite the message and like magic yep! vocabularies and ideas starting flowing.

  160. Twitter does help one be more concise as well as creative, which I love, however, it turns me into a bad speller which I despise… sounds like 1984, where we get rid of needless words and reduce or vocabulary to 20% or something like that.

  161. Took me ages before I found love for Twitter. I joined in like 07/08 I think for some market research thing and thought it was the weirdest idea ever. I didn’t touch it again until recently and have come to the conclusion it is actually awesome. Tops Facebook any day.

    Let’s see if you’re right and my writing improves because of it =]

  162. Yeah Clarkson, I’m sure an anonymous narrow-minded dickhead like you is making great art. Why not share it with us?

  163. Twitter is the voice of the unheard small businessman. Longlive Twitter long gone the days of the dinosaurs !!!

  164. So true. Teaches you to get the point across quickly and efficiently. The government should learn those same lessons.

  165. I agree with “Twitter is the voice of the unheard small businessman. Longlive Twitter long gone the days of the dinosaurs !!!”Teaches you to get the point across quickly and efficiently.”

  166. Great points. However, I still struggle with the idea that I want to receive a bunch of text messages on my cell phone.

  167. I think the process of writing a tweet is rather entertaining. To be able to express what I want in as few words as possible is a fun challenge. I typically can write forever, so Twitter really helps with cutting away the fat. :) Thanks for the post.

  168. Hmmm… Verdicts still out on this one, Jennifer. Whereas brevity, well chosen vocabulary and precise editing might emerge from good tweeting, so many on twitter are practicing the opposite. It’d be interesting to see an analysis of the top 100 words used on twitter. It’s almost as if twitter narrows the vocabulary pool for many, reaching for a lingua franca. And editing? Seems like more and more shorthand, slang, etc. Perhaps this is part of the joy of twitter?

    Nevertheless, there’s much creativity overflowing from twitter writing, and I suspect that twitter will have a profound and enduring impact on popular fiction. Who’ll write the first twitter novel? Is it already out there? Twitter screen play?

  169. That’a a really good perspective and quite a fresh one as well. Never thought of Twitter as offering me the opportunity to polish my writing skills.

  170. You’d think that the difficulty of typing text messages would, like Twitter, motivate people to be more concise –but instead it just seems to motivate people to be more sloppy. Why? The purposes of the writers are different? The generations of the writers are different? The audiences are different?

  171. Joanna, you’re 100% correct, and the reason may be all three suggestions plus a desire to “express” attitude, style, vernacular in new ways. A whole new pidgin is evolving…

  172. Yes twitter make you think and write better. Though the negative side is that it encourages wrong English and shorten words

  173. I haven’t joined twitter yet but I m convinced to join after reading your article. I hope twitter will help me get rid of wordiness.

  174. If you haven’t tried twitter, I suggest you give it a shot, I am sure it will help in getting rid of your wordiness

  175. I have been using twitter since last year. but I have not been able to maximize my twitter. I am still learning to write effectively. This article gave me inspiration. Thank you.

  176. Twitter definitely helped me to get my ideas out in quick succinct messages. The 140 character limit has forced me to get to the point.

  177. good to know that twitter give some advatages.
    great!!

  178. Yeah, i agree with the fact that twitter helps you increase your Vocabulary, since you have to be concise, you tend to pass your ideas in a few words.

  179. twitter now plays a great role in internet marketing tactics, I hear that dell use it to market their products, thanks

  180. I’m writing a new blog. And I’m trying to improve my writing skills. Previously, I did not participate but finish reading this article i think twitter very necessary for me. i will try. Thank

  181. Haha…Jennifer you are simply great…trust me even being a writer myself I never thought of correlating Twitter with any writing skills…great job…I love what I saw :)

  182. I couldn’t agree with you more on the value of disciplining oneself within 140 characters. I have begun keeping the best of my truly inspired 140 character quips. While I do use Twitter for business reasons, I use it more often as a Christian to encourage, inspire and bless others. The 140 character discipline is perfect for leaving memorable gems of truth one can ponder and remember.

  183. I ve always seen twitter as a waste of time until i used it on my site. Loo!!! it helped to boost traffic on it. i recommend it to every writer on the net.

  184. I totally agree with you about Twitter forcing you to be concise. With just a 140 word limit, Twitter sharpens your skill in choosing the right words, and presenting your tweet or sentence in such a way that it gets attention, and gets opened!

  185. So it follows then that all that text-messaging that I did when I was a teenager also made me a better writer! :) dat wud b 2 sic! ;)

  186. @ George I agree with you, I have not been making use of social media like twitter as aggressive as I should have been until lately and wow, it’s been great

  187. Twitter is great. I just love it. No wonder I am writing good nowadays :P

  188. I couldn’t agree more with this post. Becoming more engaged with Twitter has taught me a lot about my writing. I am working on cutting out the adjectives in my writing. Twitter forces me to be simple and to the point with my tweets. This mind set has helped me get to the point in my research and essay writing. It has also helped me write my blogs. Everybody in the marketing world needs to be on Twitter!

  189. I agree with this. I often struggle with twitter before because of their limitations to characters. But heck, I am getting used to it! And now, I can say I improved one step from what I was kinda like before.

  190. Very interesting and informative post, Jennifer. I agree with you 100% and would add that using Twitter can also teach you how to write killer titles for your articles and blog posts. I must admit it: I love Twitter!

  191. I’ve had my Twitter account for a while now and I did not realize that it would so helpful improving my writing skills. I will start twitting more.

  192. I can’t say I’ve ever looked at twitter as something that would enhance one’s writing ability but it makes absolute sense.

  193. Everything you said was so true. I used write more stream of consciousness, long paragraph blog posts and emails. Now after using Twitter, that has cut down significantly due to the realization I can write more, with less.

  194. I think what I like most about twitter is the brevity. It forces me to be creative with my messages. I actually look forward to tweeting, vs. the agony I often feel when I have to come up with a blog post.

  195. Twitter is one of the best tools for communication and disseminating information. It really helps to reach out to the masses. I ve been using it and it does a great work for me. Cheers to twitter. i cant stop twitting.

  196. I never thought about this before.Thanks for giving me some tips.

  197. Some great tips here, we retweet all our articles, Google is definitely ranking sites due to their social signals, Twitter being the main generator.

  198. I like twitter for its length, only 140. It forces me to be creative with my messages.

  199. I find that it’s even better to use much less than the 140 words allocated as you need to leave space for quotes and retweets. Agree with you 100%.

  200. Totally agree with aspects of simplicity, i.e. comprehension is first goal, and ‘impact’ is second. Who cares about clever or grammar? Pas moi, tosh!

  201. Sweet and to the point. Gotta love the little tweets :)

  202. I totaly agree with this article. I am a children’s book writer and wrote a populair Dutch article about this. Because I liked to share it with English people too, I had it translated and transformed into a free iPhone app. It’s called 10 Twitter Writing Tips.

  203. Sometimes when I get stuck writing I look at Twitter. It can give you some mind opening ideas.. Great article and write up, so true!

  204. The jury’s still out for me on this one. When we communicate in 140-character sound bites, I worry that we are losing the ability to write, no longer be able to construct a decent sentence. Remember that people judge you by the way you write and I see some really bad stuff these days. On the other hand, as a writer, I know that it is a lot harder to write a little than a lot. Distilling a thought into 140 characters is a challenge and makes people streamline their thinking. I do like that Twitter is now accepting shortened urls so that we have more latitude to include a link.

  205. You really highlight many features of twitter to improve somehow…Nice post.

  206. Your thoughts about this writing in twitter gives a great point. I enjoyed reading your blog. I’ve been using twitter and just now appreciate how can twitter help us :)

  207. I am a regular reader of Jennifer’s procrastination writer’s blog and I love her write ups. Interesting thing about this post is that the title may sound funny, but when you read the content, you know it is pretty much serious. Conciseness, vocabulary improvement and editing skills – twitter can obviously help you with all these three.

  208. Although your approach to Twitter might be true, I still think it is one of the most overrated ways to waste people’s time on the Internet. =)

  209. Ahhhh…I know I am missing some traffic by not using twitter. I have an account but never use it. Thanks for the encouragement and insight.

  210. Its true how Twitter does make you think more about being more concise with your writing. Condensing what you want to say isn’t always easy but adapting to new styles is good for any writer who wants to expand their skills

  211. This is so true! I often find if I want to say something, I might start with a paragraph that’s 300 – 500 characters. After some tweaking its usually not too hard to get it down to 140 characters of less without losing the meaning.

    It really is interesting how useful Twitter is in this sense. It really does train you to be more creative and say more with less.