Does Twitter hurt or help writing?

Brevity is the soul of tweeting, and the restrictions that it imposes can either breed bad habits or require writers to become clearer and more concise.

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Take copywriting, for example. Have social media and text messaging taken marketers’ use of English language two steps forward or two steps backward?

Where do you stand? You may feel a passionate instinct to defend Twitter and texting’s 140-character gifts to marketing copy. You may disagree. You may just think “LOLz.” There’s something to be said for each viewpoint.

The good

Today’s average reader gives a story seven seconds before, in most cases, losing interest and moving on. It’s in a writer’s interest to be concise and get to the point quickly. If you tweet, that should sound familiar.

Clear, succinct writing are the basis of tweeting, as tweets are limited to 140 characters, forcing people to say what’s important instead of beating around the bush. Why use five words when you can say it in one?’s Geoffrey James nails it when he says, “It is easier to write 1,000 words carelessly than to write 100 words carefully.”

Sometimes, communicating within 140 characters requires you to rewrite your tweet. Revising text is a good habit and essential to strong writing. Twitter sharpens that skill.

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