Anyone who spends time on Twitter will gradually see a pattern of different tweet styles emerging, not all of which contribute much to the greater good. Having only been a keen Twitterer for a year or two I can’t claim to be an expert, but speaking as a professional writer I cringe at the time and energy that’s wasted on what I think are bad or inappropriate tweets.
Of course, everyone has their own view of what constitutes good tweeting. Already large sums of money have been spent generating analyses that tell you your tweets should consist of XX percent personal and YY percent business content, they should go out at intervals of no more or less than ZZ minutes, they should contain no more than XX @ symbols and YY hashtags, and so-on. Who would have thought so much science could be found in a mere 140 characters, huh. And not surprisingly, few people seem to take any notice of it.
Before I launch into my attack on what I think are bad tweets, it’s only fair that I should reveal how I put my own together. And please feel free to critique this! They fall into one of these brackets:
- Observations, articles, news stories etc. that interest me and/or make me laugh
- Conversational posts with people I know, but out of courtesy to them and other readers I try to include a précis of the original topic, or respond via a retweet
- Retweets of friends’ and followers’ posts when I feel they’re worth sharing
- Posts about HowToWriteBetter.net and one or two of my own recent books
I try to create a good balance of all four. In every case my main criterion is to write something everyone can understand, either in the style of a newspaper headline, or as a short but self-contained thought. Here, now, are some of the stereotype tweets that irritate me. Do they irritate you?
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