How to fix your tweets

Theory: make short form content such as tweets harder to create to improve the quality of them.

The problem with tweets

  • It’s too easy to publish. This often means it isn’t very well thought out.
  • By its nature its too short, meaning it’s often brief, bold and dogmatic.

Short form content is too easy to write and lacks clarity and detail. I spend the majority of my writing time publishing things on Twitter.

Twitter is good for many things, but detail is not one of them. The limit of 280 characters forces you to be brief, bold and dogmatic with your ideas. There’s no room for nuance and you can’t explain it even if you want to.

The amount of times I (and others) have to clarify ideas or explain them further shows the limits of Twitter for any kind of explanations. Threads go some way to help this, but it’s just shoehorning a concept into a medium that isn’t designed for it.

The ease of publishing is the problem. As Donald Trump frequently discovers, it’s extremely easy to think of something you think is revolutionary and immediately post it on Twitter. 20 minutes later you come back to it and realise it was hackneyed or lacked nuance.

Twitter doesn’t force you think before you write. This is its primary problem.

How to fix your short form writing

Make it more difficult to write short form content.

The main problem with writing tweets is that they’re too direct and easy to publish. Instead, put a blocker in the way.

I’ve been experimenting with this for a week or two by writing my tweets in a notebook. It sounds ridiculous I know, but you know what? It’s working.

The notebook acts as the buffer between what I’m thinking and what gets published. It isn’t any harder for me to write tweets, it’s just harder to publish them.

It makes me think carefully before I publish it. After I’ve written it once in a notebook then copied it out into Hypefury I’ve had plenty of time to consider whether it’s something I actually want to say.

It also changes the medium. I’m now not writing tweets for Twitter. I’m writing in a notebook. It’s making my write more timeless messages and ideas, because my thoughts aren’t influenced by consuming Twitter before I write in there.

I get an idea, then write it in a notebook.

Give it a try. See how it works for you.

Whenever we can move ourselves further away from the medium we’re looking to create for, we should. We’ll make more timeless messages that will be less influenced by the trend of the medium.

The medium is the message, but it’s better when it’s not.