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3 Ways Twitter Makes You a Better Writer

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Twitter will make you a better writer

A few months ago, I wrote a post on how Blogs and Wikis make students better writers–teachers too for that matter–and wanted to follow it up with how tweeting improves writing. In the interest of brevity, here are three quick ways:

You learn to be concise.

Twitter gives you only 140 characters to get the entire message across. Letters, numbers, symbols, punctuation and spaces all count as characters on Twitter. Wordiness doesn’t work. Twitter counts every keystroke and won’t publish anything with a minus in front of the word count.

At first blush, that seems impossible. It’s not, though. It challenges you to know the right word for every situation. People with a big vocabulary are at an advantage because they don’t use collections of little words to say what they mean, they jump right to it. All those hints your English teacher gave you–picture nouns and action verbs, get rid of adverbs and adjectives–take on new meaning to the Twitter afficionado.

You learn to be focused

With only 140 characters, you can’t get off topic or cover tangential ideas. You have to save those for a different tweet. Tweeple like that trait in writers. They like to hear what your main topic is and hear your thoughts on it, not your meanderings. When you force yourself to write this way, it really doesn’t take a paragraph to make a point. Use the right words, people get it. Consider that the average reader gives a story seven seconds before moving on. OK, yes, that’s more than 140 characters, but not much.

Here’s an idea. If you feel you must get into those off-topic thoughts. write them in the tweet and then edit. Go through your overly-long tweet and cut cut cut.

Writing short messages helps you perfect the art of “headlining”.

Fiction writers call this the book or story’s title. Bloggers and journalists call it the headline. It has to be cogent and pithy enough to make the audience keep reading, but it also has to grab them. That’s a tweet. if you can’t grab tweeple in 140 characters, they won’t come back to your profile.

Tweets need to be written knowing that tweeple can @reply

Yes. This is the world of social networks where people will read what you say and comment. That’s a good thing. It’s feedback and builds an online community, be it for socializing or business. Develop a thick skin and take comments with a grain of salt and two grains of aspirin.

Tweet me at #askatechteacher with your thoughts.

–reprinted with permission © Examiner

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3 thoughts on “3 Ways Twitter Makes You a Better Writer

  1. I love your post! I give workshops on how to use Twitter in the classroom and begin my presentation discussing the benefits of using Twitter with kids. I love it when my teachers realize the 140 character limit is a blessing of a teaching tool and not a hinderence! In fact, my website has a free app that shows teachers how to get started using Twitter in their classroom. lessonpop.com/shop/join-our-newsletter-get-a-free-app It always amazes me how so many teachers are so nervous about getting started. Happily, I have received encouraging feedback and am thrilled that you are blogging about Tweeting in the classroom as well!!!

  2. Back at you, Marsha. What a wonderful website you have. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Twitter. It’s one of those teaching tools that got a bad name at the beginning (that tweeters just talked about watching their grass grow and such boring topics) and its usefulness in the classroom got lost. It seems to be an uphill battle to convince teachers and school admin of the usefulness of Twitter in the classroom, but between you and I, we can do it.

    Thanks for visiting.

  3. Pingback: How Do You Use Twitter in Education « Ask a Tech Teacher

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