Twitter Tips: How to Write Better Tweets

Twitter's 140-character message format demands concise, engaging writing, and that's a skill that a lot of people just don't have. Here's practical, expert advice to help you engage your followers and avoid common tweet writing blunders.

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Learn from Past Tweets

Twitter's web-based version, and its ecosystem of apps such as TweetDeck, track every time your Twitter handle appears in a tweet. After you tweet a link or make a statement, watch how your followers receive it and whether they retweet it.

In addition to following your retweets on Twitter's search tool, other tools help you track the pervasiveness of the links you share. TweetDeck users utilize bit.ly to shorten URLs they tweet. If you visit bit.ly's website, you can track the performance of links you tweet.

Over time, you should notice patterns for what material your followers receive well. In many cases, it will depend on the audience, which can be quite diverse. Figuring out what makes your Twitter followers click and retweet is a process Boyd calls "micro-psychographics."

In his blog post explaining the phenomenon, Boyd observed that, based on anecdotal evidence, Twitter users respond to tweets differently. Some engage more heavily with questions or declarative sentences, while others prefer emotional prompts evincing anger or happiness. "I have noticed very different responses to different styles of URL-ed tweets," Boyd wrote. "And I think it has to do with the psychological makeup of the recipients of the messages, just as much as the text in the message."

Staff Writer C.G. Lynch covers consumer and social technologies for CIO. You can follow him at @cglynch.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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