Five good Twitter habits for writers

A few things I’ve learned in the three months since I got busy on Twitter.

1. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Twitter has its place in my day; not my life, but my day. Once you ‘follow’ the people, sites, and blogs of interest, you’re almost creating a personalized newspaper for yourself, which you can check once or twice a day.

2. There are loads of tools and apps but my favorite find is echofon, to quickly scan from a small dot in my Firefox browser. It keeps me from visiting my Twitter page #cclarity or the pages of friends where I’m likely to lose track of time. With echofon, I’m following the New York Times, New Yorker essays, a dozen tech sites, my favorite writing mags, publishers, and sages from all walks of life. I can comment, retweet, or stop following someone if they start posting too frequently.

3. When you want to retweet something you see on a web page, and the site doesn’t have a Twitter button, you can use tiny.url or to shorten the web address to something manageable.

Here’s one I did this morning. This was the actual link:\. I pasted the link aqnd at I shortened it to

(click to enlarge image if you want clarification of how this looks on echofon)

The next two tips come from Scott Stratten, of spoke at Writers & Editors 1-on-1 conference in Chicago last month. These last two habits came from him:

4. “Write retweetable content every single day.” Just commenting on other people’s posts won’t get you very far. But write something of value, that has impact, and it may be retweeted around the world.

5. “Be brief.” Stratten keeps his tweet posts under 120 characters, well within the 140 character limit. Why? It allows the retweeter to add a few words of their own, like: “This guy is good. Follow him.”

That’s it – keep it simple, and be on Twitter just enough to know what’s out there. You can check my page at, or follow  me for a while. but do try ecofon, so you can read the twitter stream in your browser’s pop-up window, as shown above. Otherwise, you’ll never get any writing done!

Have a great Saturday,



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