In the past few weeks I have had a chance to meet many writers, foreign language students and students of literature, even journalists, who do not use Twitter. Having Twitter account is not mandatory; however, if you are a writer of any kind you should be familiar with the benefits you can gain from Twitter. Therefore, I have decided to write about my experience and to share some tips on how to improve writing skills.
We know that a lot has changed since Jack Dorsey wrote “just setting up my twttr” back in March 2006. Twitter founders worked very hard to meet the needs of their consumers in various ways, and these changes positioned Twitter very high amongst social networks, which in turn made Twitter inevitable tool in our social, political, business and private aspects of life.
Apart from all the changes and improvements, one thing is sure – Twitter stepped in our world as a powerful 140 characters information-sharing media. Back in 2006, and now Twitter has the most powerful weapon – a word.
If you recall the incident during anti-government protests in Egypt, where James Buck managed to inform his family, media, American Embassy and the University about his arrest, and to get his situation solved very quickly by tweeting the word “arrested”, you will see my point.
The power of words and the information – it is priceless.
When Twitter appeared, I was a bit sceptic. After some time, I embraced it wholeheartedly, but back then, I did not use its full potential. It was not until I got an invitation to participate in a short story competition that I realized how Twitter was and could be beneficial for me.
In short, we were to form a group of three, and write the story together. My group had several problems: lack of time, extended working hours, different opinions on quality literature, different writing styles, and so on.
Although we knew each other our whole lives, we could not agree on the theme, not to mention we could not even find the time to meet. As stubborn as we are, we wanted to take part in it. At that point, Twitter came as an ideal platform for brainstorming and sharing ideas.
Why am I telling you this? We won.
As writers, we all encounter the same problems now and then. Apart from the major shutdown of inspiration – writer’s block, we have problems with organizing our thoughts and writings, source of valuable and interesting information, resources, writing tools, memos, vocabulary etc. If you are one of “us”, Twitter is your best friend.
How Twitter can help you?
Hashtags are wonderful organization tools. I am one of those writers who get the inspiration anywhere and anytime, and if I do not write down my ideas immediately, I am lost. You can use hashtags to follow your own ideas and thoughts. Everything that pops up in your mind, just write it down and add the suitable hashtag. This comes very handy when you are working on several projects at the same time.
Imposed character limit is a solution for those who grew up reading famous Russian novels, and Arabic as I think about it now, and ended up hooked on long descriptions and long sentences. Unless you are writing a novel, or stories, everything “long or too long” could ruin any other piece of work. A friend of mine once wrote a recommendation letter that looked like a long, confusing draft written for a character. If you are having problems with expressing your thoughts concisely, use this Twitter benefit. Take it as an experiment, start writing your thoughts and ideas within 140 characters for a month, and reap the fruits of your work later.
Another advantage of character limitation is an opportunity to write a mini literature masterpiece. Do you remember Hemingway? Although some say that is was wrongly attributed to him, not to mention the technology development back then, but it is still a masterpiece, and it has only 47 characters.
To tell a story in 140 characters – Is this big enough challenge for you?
The common mistake is to understand and use Twitter as a one-way communication media – you will not improve your writing skills if you do not receive feedbacks and comments. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, critique is very productive for a writer. Engage with other people in conversation, you never know what you may find out or learn. Simply, communicate.
Lastly, Twitter is an enormous source of ideas for us writers. Whether it is a photo, video, or a comment, breaking news, discounts, commercials, movies reviews, book critics, true or false, you will not go empty handed once you sign in.
Let me also remind you this – before you start tweeting think about whom you want to follow. Otherwise, you will be bombed with information, and that could be contra productive.
Use your intuition, enjoy tweeting, and let me know how this worked out for you.