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Twitter is headline writing

Image of the Twitter logo on a wall

Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

I still don’t get print journalists who don’t get Twitter and use that as an excuse to ignore it. Yes, Twitter’s brief. Yes, it sometimes butchers the English language. Yes, there are a bunch of stupid acronyms floating around that no one can understand.

You know what else does all those things? Newspaper headlines.

But a newspaper headline is just an attention-getter for a more robust, detailed story.

Right. Which is why, on Twitter, we have short URLs.

Tweets just go out without any thought. Newspaper headlines are crafted over several hours.

B.S. We’ve all run a headline ’cause it fit, knowing full well that it wasn’t exactly our Sistine Chapel. And trust me, tweets get written, deleted, rewritten and blown up all over again all the time. I gnash my teeth a lot.

It has a bunch of goofy made-up words (“LOLs,” “#urdoinitright,” etc.).

Twitter has an unspoken language, whereas newspaper headlines follow pretty well defined (spoken) formats. Both require a period of learning and perfecting — don’t be afraid of it.

If you’re a great headline writer, I’m confident you’d make a great Twitter-er. The benefit for you is the potential for more eyeballs on your work. Isn’t that what you want?

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