Friday, February 22, 2008

weekly writing coach: twitter it

Readers of the coach's musings know I advocate tight, short writing. That's always been true, but never more so than now, in a world where readers' attention spans are distracted from all directions. So this week, in honor of George Washington's birthday, let me urge you to practice crafting messages the size of a "tweet," the popular name for the 140-characters or less you can use on to send micro-blog-posts to a collection of friends--or marketing messages to key audiences.

Writing in just 140 characters is tough, we know, so I'll give you a warm-up: Try 140 words first. And that's where Washington comes in. Our first president had the honor of delivering the shortest inaugural speech ever, just 133 words and 90 seconds long. Once you're down to 140 words, the 140 characters can't seem so far off. Seriously, though, you'll find more and more opportunities to communicate that require short writing. Practice until you've mastered the 140-character length that seems to be the new standard for short.

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