Are You on Twitter? Then You’re a Writer. So Start Acting Like One.

You only have 140 characters to work with. You have to tweet quickly. There is no time to edit your tweets. Sure, there are plenty of excuses for poor spelling, grammar and sentence structure on Twitter, and some are more valid than others. But just because you’re limited in your character count and time doesn’t mean you give up on penning thoughtful, coherent and well-written tweets.

Everyone on Twitter is a writer. So is every blogger, everyone who updates their status on Facebook, and everyone who corresponds via email. All of our text-based communications means that we’re increasingly tied to a keyboard – so we might as well make the most of it.

Writers in the traditional sense can be “good” or “bad”; they can be “provocative” or “dull”; they can be “unique” or “cookie-cutter”. And writers on Twitter can fall into the same categories.

Of course, novel writing is not like tweeting in most ways, other than the fact that you’re using the written word to communicate. However, this similarity means more than you might think. Whatever language you speak, the written word is usually more scrutinized than anything spoken.

People expect a certain quality from the written word that they are more willing to forgive in the spoken. They expect some type of editing for (at least the very obvious) mistakes, no “um”s or “ah”s (unless for a literary reason), sentences that have all of their components in the right order, and the list goes on.

As a Twitter user, you’ve got to act like a writer, at least if you want to be taken seriously. You must edit your tweets, even if you feel rushed. Giving them a quick once-over will usually illuminate any typos and major grammatical errors. I’m not saying you’ve got to use semicolons or sweat over a misplaced comma here and there, but approaching each tweet as something to be proud of and something that matters will ensure that your followers not only understand you, but appreciate your tweets as a pleasure to read.

Some simple editing and thought put into your tweets can make the difference between being ignored and being retweeted.

So while Twitter has indeed created its own language of sorts (with hashtags, shortened words, @mentions and the like), that doesn’t mean you should throw away the basics of sentence construction you learned in the first grade.

Trust me, your followers will thank you.