Each Twitter Character Counts

photo.PNGI can’t decide if the Word Count tool has been my best friend or my worst enemy over the course of my many journalism classes. Minimizing the amount of words I use and compacting my sentences to exclude adjectives are two things I have struggled with in my writing.

Mallary Tenore’s “6 ways Twitter has made me a better writer” helped to show me that I am not the only journalist who struggles with making their word deadlines.

In changing her own writing, she decided to begin to treat each sentence as if it were a tweet to gauge the importance of each word. I think this method is brilliant because Twitter limits each user to 140 characters on a post. I definitely want to start trying this with my own work because I’m the type of person who has many opinions in which I feel like everyone should want to listen, but in reality, most people don’t care.

Twitter is able to get out what I want to say without dragging it on and annoying all of my followers. In my opinion, Twitter has altered the way we receive news as a whole. Steve Buttry’s “10 ways Twitter is valuable to journalists” talks about how immediately after news breaks, people post it on Twitter. This allows for people to quickly and easily learn about what’s happening without having to read more than 140 characters.

Tenore and Buttry have helped to reinforce why Twitter limits the amount each person can tweet. As a journalist, my job is to get the news out as fast, accurate, and concise as I possibly can. People don’t want to read more than they have to and they want to have the opportunity to form their own opinions of the news happening around the world. Through Twitter, I plan to improve my wordiness in my stories by ensuring each part of my sentence is necessary for breaking the news to my followers.


7 thoughts on “Each Twitter Character Counts

  1. Hey Sarah,

    We are definitely on the same page when it came to wordiness. Though I am not sure where your inclination of verbosity came from, for me it was because of the fact that English is my third language. Unlike a native speaker, I have a hard time writing in pithy language.

    It is very soothing to see that I am not alone in pursuing conciseness in writing. On the other hand, I am still grudging the possibility of Twitter in creating a writing paranoia. Because of its 140-word count, many are scrambling to trim their texts and it did not appear to be cost-effective in the perspective of time management.

    Some may argue that one saves time in writing short, but I believe there are still plenty of people struggle to scale down their writing provided that they have no trouble doing so. What’s your opinion on this issue?


  2. Harry,

    I don’t necessarily believe that people save time by writing more shortly, at least not me. My first draft is always a longer version and then I revise to take the less important words out. I also think it’s very difficult for some people to choose what the necessary words are. Everyone has a different opinion on what makes up a critical piece of information. I think it takes a great journalist to put out a story that’s not only informational but brief and interesting as well. I have faith that both of us will be able to get the conciseness down pat in our stories in the near future.


  3. Sarah,

    I’m right there with you on the helpfulness of the 140 character limit. If that limit wasn’t there, Twitter would be a blog of me ranting on baseball and rap music topics. It also limits me from being a creeper by not letting me write novels to Jay-Z about how huge of a fan I am of him. Now it’s just 100 Tweets of 140 characters……… That’s not weird, is it? When it comes to journalism, you’re right as well. I mention in my post about the journalistic revolution that Twitter has started. The speed of journalism now is insane and it’s in part due to the creation of Twitter. I wonder who the first journalist was to use Twitter. Someone had to be the first, right?


  4. Jordan,

    I’m sure Jay-Z appreciates you spamming his mentions in 140 characters or less. Don’t feel bad I proposed to Allen Robinson via Twitter once; sadly, I never got a response, haha! You are completely right that Twitter has majorly influenced the journalistic revolution. In the olden times, people wouldn’t find out breaking news until it was on their doorstep the following morning. Now, we are so lucky to be able to find out important information just seconds after it happens. The journalist that decided to start utilizing Twitter’s speed and technology was definitely brilliant. I’m sure some newspaper or television station was very pleased that day!


    • Sarah,

      I’m totally on the fence with you about the word count tool. It’s hard for me to decide if it helps me write more concisely or stops me from reporting all the important facts. I was also really interested in trying out Mallary’s way of writing sentences as if they were tweets to weigh what words are most essential in one of our next assignments. Without the word limit, twitter would look a lot like facebook and wouldn’t have a unique look to it. The word count tool is essentially what makes twitter, twitter.


  5. Sarah,

    I completely agree with you on the 140 character limit and hot helpful it is. Like Jordan, I to would most likely blowing up my favorite athletes and musical artists Twitter pages with huge tweets consisting of how much I am a fan. Even though this character limits may “roadblock” you into getting all the important details into one tweet, I feel that making multiple tweets and making sure you have all the information in there wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. Let me know what you think!


  6. Kristina: I love the fact that you pointed out that if Twitter didn’t have a character limit, it would look more like Facebook. I never even thought of it that way. Facebook seems to be so cluttered with long baby momma drama sagas and other pointless items anymore. Twitter has mastered managing the amount of meaningless words people can post. It also gives people the feature to follow and unfollow exactly what they do or do not want to see. It’s really interesting how Twitter has shaped not only the journalism world, but also the media world.

    Chris: I completely agree with you! Although I do completely support Twitter’s 140 character limit, I sometimes find myself struggling to compact all my thoughts into one tweet. I notice this happening a lot when it comes to tweeting from events for this class. I try to introduce the person and the main ideas that they are speaking about and then support that with their quotes. I think this helps me to get my ideas across effectively and get enough tweets to fill the assignment’s quota!

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