For most writers, updating status on Facebook or Tweeting is not a very healthy activity. In fact, writers look down upon the art of writing short, concise messages on Twitter. Their point of view is that writing skills are grossly undermined when you are drafting these updates and alerts. They have a valid point here. Getting on Twitter and writing within the limitations of 140 characters (not words!) is not a writer’s dream. After all, any writer worth their keyboard wants an expansive document page to rain down their thoughts. Who would enjoy being scuttled to just a tiny rectangular box? In this line of thinking, you are missing out vital lessons as a writer! Here’s how.
Twitter is all about being precise and relevant. You cannot go beyond the specified limit of 140 characters. In other words, even if your thoughts spill over, you have to somehow cramp them in to fit into that box. That forces you to write accordingly. You are not dealing in excess anymore. That is the core of online writing. You have to get to the point quickly. The more you weave yarns of words, the more you are allowing your reader to get distracted. You cannot afford to do that because you run the risk of losing the online reader to other websites, content web pages and blogs. Hit the nail on the head when you are writing a web copy.
Secondly, Twitter forces you to think in terms of using smaller words so that you fit your sentence in 140 characters. You are compelled to rack your brains and come up with leaner lines. You cannot use words like ‘notwithstanding’ if you are Tweeting! The same principle needs to be followed in web content writing. Online readers are not reading your web page because they want to use your material for higher studies (unless you’re writing for such a project). Usually, it is for commercial purposes that you are writing. So, readers are laymen who want to glance through the content quickly, look for words and phrases that match what is on their mind and get it done with. Give them easy words, shorter sentences and clarity of thought.
Think that’s all Twitter can teach you? It’s not just web writing that Tweeting brushes up for you! You can pick up a trick or two about editing as well. Because 140 characters are all you get, the editor in you has a full-time job when you are on Twitter. You have to cut out the frills and chop off phrases that look redundant. Apply these skills in web writing. It is a common fallacy that the length of the content is a factor in online reading. What matters is what you have written. Readers will go through a long web page packed with writing if they find it engaging. Brush up your editing skills and throw out any line that you think is looking out of place.