One thing to keep in mind, no matter what social media platform you are using, is to keep your writing professional. I mean this specifically when you are using social media on behalf of a club, business, or organization, but this applies to an individual as well. While the media may seem casual, you are still a “professional” and should use it as so. It helps your brand image, as a group and as a person.
As a person holding a degree in English literature, I have strong feelings about the tendency of individuals to use “text speak” while writing. (Disclosure: I am one of those people who uses all the proper punctuation and capital letters when I send a text message.) In particular, it drives me crazy to see “text speak” creep into formal situations- in an online class forum for instance. It may be online- but it is still a college course!
So how does my little rant above apply to you? I’d like to request that you give your utmost effort to remaining professional while using Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook, etc. This is probably the most difficult on Twitter and other micro-blogging sites. In an effort to fit your message into 140 characters, you may be tempted to adjust spellings, leave out punctuation, etc. Resist!
To help you out, here is a guide I’ve compiled for professional, but brief, Twitter posts (all of which are 140 characters or less):
- Grammatical rules dictate that you spell out numbers between zero and ten. It’s okay to use numeric figures on Twitter.
- If your sentence is too long, leave out the final period. If you have multiple sentences, retain punctuation between them.
- Substituting punctuation marks for commonly accepted word equivalents is fine (i.e., = for equal, + for plus, & for and, # for number, etc.)
- Don’t change the spelling of words to shorten them. Dnt chng speling of wrds to shrtn thm. Text speak is bad!
- Use link shortening services. My favorites are www.hootsuite.com and www.bit.ly.
- Always proofread your tweets.
- It is okay to only have one space between sentences. Keep the “two-space” rule for non-Twitter writing.
- Commonly accepted abbreviations are fine, used sparingly. You don’t want your reader taking 5 minutes to read a tweet with 10 abbreviations.
Photo courtesy: Mark Rodder, www.flickr.com/photos/subcess/