Tight writing

Write Tight, Write for a Tweet

Do your readers a favor and write tight. While you're at it, include a quotable phrase or two that readers will remember and you can use on Twitter to promote what you wrote.

Roy Peter Clark, author of "How to Write Short; Word Craft for Fast Times," says he now edits essays, opinion pieces, anything to make sure there are memorable lines. He says that's what will stick in people's minds and what can be shared, tweeted and retweeted.

In his review of Clark's book, Washington Post Outlook Editor Carlos Lozada says "the veteran writing guru not only praises Twitter's 140-character limit as a tool for 'intelligent cutting,' but dismantles the staid lament that writing in the Twitter era has grown shallow, fleeting, anti-literary."

Even though Clark is "old school," Lozada says he has embraced digital media as a platform for short, potent writing. "We need more good, short writing," Clark insists, "the kind that makes us stop, read and think in an accelerating world."

For the public affairs professional who addresses often hostile audiences, this is excellent advice. Whether or not you are active on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you need to write like you are. The time for dry, drawn out prose has gone, unless you are taking a college English class studying the collected works of John Milton.