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February 1, 2010

Do you change blog intros because of Twitter? Titles?

My previous post made me think of a question for those of you who use Twitterfeed and the like to get your blog out there.  Do you find yourself re-writing the introduction to your post because of the limited number of characters that are used on a tweet?

My preferred method of writing is to introduce the subject and why I'm actually writing about this topic.  For example, I might begin a review of a book by saying "I've been a big fan of [insert author here] for a long time, enjoying every one of her books.  So imagine my surprise when I discovered that [insert author's latest book] was truly horrible, not to mention offensive!"  That's over 140 characters already, and don't forget that Twitterfeed inserts the title of your blog post too!  And the shortened URL, of course.

Either you write more of a gripping first sentence, or you'd better make damned sure that your title is interesting enough for people to want to read the rest of the post.

Which brings to mind something else:  the title!  Maybe the title is actually more important than the first sentence in this day and age.  When you're reading blogs through a feed reader, or from Twitter, or even just browsing the page, how many of you disregard a post because the title doesn't sound interesting?

So, an interesting title is mandatory.  Also, a killer first sentence.  Has blogging and social media really changed how we write?

The above is just kind of off the top of my head, inspired by my rewriting the opening paragraph to my last post, so it's not totally thought out.

I'd love to hear your ideas about it, though.  Both as a writer *and* as a reader.


  1. I honestly don't know. My automated twitter updates only include the post's title and a few labels in them. I don't think many people actually read my tweets, so it isn't that important to me at the moment.

  2. Interesting. You don't use Twitterfeed, do you? Because that basically does the same as Networked Blogs does: title, first couple of sentences and then the link, except that it has to fit in Twitter's 140 character limit.

    I haven't heard of a Twitter program that only does title and label. That's intriguing.

  3. I post my blog on FB through Networked Blogs, then I tweet it through the Networked blogs tweet my tweet just says "new post: title. link." I never really worry/think about my title & what it'll say on Twitter. So I guess to answer your question, blogging/social media have NOT changed the way I write.

  4. Since I use Twitterfeed, I didn't even explore the Networked Blogs one. Didn't even know it had that ability. That is kind of cool.

    Thanks for the comment!

  5. I don't use Twitterfeed either (in fact, I found your blog through Networked Blogs on Facebook), but you bring up a very interesting point with your post. I think it has changed the way some write in the sense because of the new ways information is being delivered to us. We're more aware of our digital surroundings.

    Twitter allows information to be sent in less than 140 characters, so in order to widen the accessibility of our posts (if one wants to drive traffic in their direction), one has to make sure that it is compatible to as many types of media out there. And yes, in that sense there is the compelling need to change our writing. While one can use the body of the post to provide the rest of the information that was kept out of the title, it is indeed the title that determines on whether or not a reader is interested to read in the first place.

    I used to have very ambiguous titles, taken from song lyrics or very vague references. They sounded poetic, but would only reach to a handful of people. Now my titles are more to-the-point. It may not be eye-catching for the sake of being eye-catching, but it's practical. It gets the relevant visitors in addition to my existing digital circle.

    The greater availability of media in which our writing can circulate has instead has improved the way I write. I speak for myself, though. I have become more receptive to the potential readers I could have and want to keep. Because of the fact that writing online has become more established, more rules and thought have been placed into the art of it more than what it used to be: anything goes.

    I came from an "anything goes" approach before taking a sabbatical from blogging and starting up again. And boy! Has it been difficult to start the blogging fuel again! However, I haven't stopped reading about the changes in blogging and am being a lot more conscious in composing my posts. While the "anything goes" approach is good for good quality cathartic writing, I believe in a greater conscience in choosing my words now. I'd like to believe it's a good thing.

  6. I don't use Twitterfeeds either. I just tweet the name of the blog & the topic for today. It's worked well for me since I started the blog in June. I originally started it because of friends on Twitter & built a nice following just doing it that way.

    Hope this helps,



  7. Hi Maria

    Welcome!! It's always good to see new visitors (or at least new commenters, if you've come here before).

    Thank you so much for your insightful thoughts into this. I agree that I think it has changed how some of us write our posts, though certainly not everybody.

    It's always fascinating to get somebody else's point of view on blogging.

    Bill: thanks for the comment. Do you manually post yours to Twitter? Or do you have something else that automatically does it?


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