New Yorker Writer Orlean Talks About How Twitter Helps Her Write

Ever wonder how to take that step and begin interacting on the Twittersphere (is that a phrase now?). New Yorker writer Susan Orlean gives some advice and insight into how she uses the social media tool to interact with fans and strengthen her writing.

Orlean took baby steps before embracing the world of the tweet.
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“It was gradual,” said Orlean to Nieman Journalism Lab. “When I was following a particular narrative in my life (when I was talking about one of my chickens being sick, for example), and seeing people respond to it – that made me think, ‘Interesting. Maybe this is a different way of talking to readers.'”

But she said it wasn’t until she downloaded Tweetdeck that she began to understand how Twitter works. Since then, she has increased her following to over 78,000. Orlean often uses the feed to help her fans understand how her stories are built and reported. It gives them insight into her day-to-day while also giving Orlean a chance to see if they can help in any way.

Surprisingly, though, Orlean thinks Twitter has improved her writing.

“If nothing else, Twitter is just a very useful reminder that you don’t have to go on ad nauseam to make a point or even to say something of real emotion,” said Orlean. She goes on to add, “for a writer, any writing you do, whether it’s an email or anything else, exercises the same muscles that are going to be used when you sit down to write your magnum opus.”

I never thought of it that way, but she might have a point. Get tweeting to improve that writing just don’t forget to take out those Twitter shorteners. An editor probably won’t appreciate that level of brevity.