The Art of the Tweet

If you know anything about me, you know I take Twitter VERY seriously. It is a door to so many things: news, entertainment, marketing for your organization/brand/event/skills, friends, making connections, and even spiritually uplifting reminders.

Tweeting is an art. One needs to craft a thought so perfectly that it fits within a 140-character limit. This can be a turnoff for new users, but really, it’s a part of the Twitter culture. And if you’re meant for this social media website, you’ll soon find yourself loving this restriction.

There are many types of Twitter users. There are many types of tweets, and there are certain tones tweets give off. Depending on the way a user types the tweet (i.e., its punctuation or lack thereof, emojis, abbreviations, etc.), one can get a sense of the tone.

This, for example, is my tweet used for sharing a professional work of writing.

Proper punctuation, tagging appropriate accounts, linking to another site, pinned to the profile page, etc. (Click the link in the tweet by the way—it’s an opinion piece I wrote for SLAM about FIBA’s latest move regarding its ridiculous headgear rule that affects hijab-wearing women who play basketball).

Sometimes, you see more casual posts. Tweeting for the heck of it, because you can. That’ll give off a laid back, whatevs-kind of tone. Not much regard for punctuation, sprinkling abbreviations here and there even when the character limit doesn’t call for it, that kind of thing. BUT even with this kind of tone, the topic may be serious, pointing out issues a lot of people like to ignore. These tweets should be paid attention to.

Then, you have the live-tweeting during sporting events, often clad with all caps and multiple exclamation points.

While usually all caps and multiple exclamations are seen as obnoxious, they’re not in the above tweet, except maybe to the non-sports fans. But then they would’ve never clicked follow. And if you are a non-sports fan following a friend who’s a sports fan, you can turn off their retweets, if you must.

Speaking of retweets, there are the regular retweets when you just click/tap “retweet,” and there are manual retweets, usually used to throw in a comment with the original tweet:

And when your comment can’t fit in with the original tweet, you can modify it to fit. Just make sure to type “MT” before the original tweet instead of “RT.” Also, notice the hashtag. That can contribute to wider movements to spread awareness about certain issues, or even be used among a smaller group to link posts together. You can create a hashtag for a class/study group to tweet review questions and answers for an upcoming exam. It won’t even feel like you’re studying. :)

Some of my favorite tweets are the timely spiritual reminders, which oftentimes serve as great pieces of advice on life in general. Like this one:

Along with the above account that mostly tweets quotes of Rumi and other writers, accounts dedicated to Qur’an exist too. These fill up your timeline with meaningful verses that are exactly what you need to see in a timeline which can get crowded with dunya.

There’s a lot more to Twitter, and I feel like I don’t even know half of it. I’m learning more and more everyday, and loving the experience. If you want to learn more about Twitter culture, I’d say the best way is to make an account, follow people, and then observe. There are a bunch of niche communities within the wider Twittersphere, and that’s what’s really cool. You find people who share your interests, work in your industry, follow your favorite teams—and you can connect with them! I met a number of connections on Twitter, whether to complete actual work assignments, or become a part of a network of individuals who care about the same things I care about.

Tweet away, friends.


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