In the video below, Dom Sagolla, the Co creator of twitter, explains, “One can change the world with 140 characters.”


As stated in one of the earlier blogs, “I am no expect in PR”. But I am and expert at researching and gathering my own opinion about something. While some of you may agree or disagree with twitter enhancing or hindering your pr writing skills, I want to know your opinion either way.

Example of the way it all started

In grade school, we all learned the basics of how to write an essay or a research paper. Some of your teachers have told you that the paper has to be a certain length. 200 words, 600 words, either way you were limited to how much you can write. You knew that you couldn’t write no more than that, so you had to come up with different strategies when trying to get your point across addressing the topic of the paper. Mean while, you had to write it so that it wouldn’t be below or exceed the limit given to you. This is an example of how Twitter helps PR agents enhance their writing skills.
The importance of social media and public relations

How can I get my point across using only 140 characters? There are many people that work well under pressure, and in certain situations in the PR industry, you are not givin alot of time to come up with ideas and broadcast them to the media. In order to become a successful PR agent, it is imparative that you familiarize yourself with the social media platform to network with people and promote your business or blog. You need to be able to adapt to any circumstance when it comes to your career. Successful business across the United States have a twitter account and expect PR to communicate with consumers as clear, crisp, and quickly as possible.

Referring to Jeremy Porter and his article, he discusses how the media have embraced Twitter as their new platform of choice, and many PR specialists use this tool as a way to communicate fast-paced and efficient. Using too many words to convey a message can hinder you from explaining the core idea. Being persuasive is all about simplifying, but still able to convey the message. Social media gives you the ability to communicate in real time with your customer base and gives you a chance to build strong interactions. With social media you can provide special incentives, promotional codes, as well as sneak peeks at upcoming products.

Name one company that chooses not to communicate via twitter? I don’t think I can. Persuasive tactics are used on a daily basis from businesses via twitter. 140 characters must not be that difficult to phatham with. According to our text book “Think Public Relations” on page 241, Coffee company Starbucks uses twitter messages to refute a rumor that it wasn’t sending coffee troops to Iraq in protest of the war. It’s interesting to see how such an important and controversial issue can be discussed using Twitter even though your limited to the messages. Facebook is another story in how using the tool can enhance writing skills. Some have argued that Facebook is an easier tool to use because you are not limited to conversations and have room to carry out the message. In PR there are situations where you are not givin a lot of time or space when getting the message out to the public. Since the industry is so faced paced, twitter is a more productive tool when trying to reach the point.

Ways in which microblogging can enhance PR writing skills:

  • You start writing short and to the point-Writing short and crisp allows you to attract others and make them read your post. Also gives a fast-paced launch.
  • You get a chance to sharpen your editing skills-The purpose is to share your idea w/in a few words such that it encourages your followers to perform some action such as clicking on the link or retweeting your post and spread it amongst their followers.
  • Your vocabulary gets better-Look through the dictionary and thesaurus and find out the right words which can be used as substitutes for phrases.

Now, you should be able to focus only on the important pieces of your topic! The less words, the more interesting! Millions of PR agents use twitter to launch new products and events, send messages, communicate with other businesses, and inform consumers about the benefits of their product in only 140 characters. How cool is that? Twitter

“Social media is like a snowball rolling down the hill. It’s picking up speed. Five years from now, it’s going to be the standard.” – Jeff Antaya, chief marketing officer of Plante Moran

-Martise Wilson :]



  1. Martise I agree! Thinking back to high school I loved writing papers but what i hated was the length of the paper that we were limited to! I found myslef doing alot of editing just to minimize my papers and say everything that I wanted to express. With Social Media such as facebook and twitter it does help you do that! Expressing ideas and thoughts alot of the time takes alot of explaining because when doing so you’re explaining the basics as well as the point one is trying to get across. With twitter and the 140 characters, I find that the hardest to do! Alot of my tweets that are tweeted from my cell phone have the tmi link to the rest because i have went over. I also break up my thoughts in multiple tweets. I dont like doing that as much so alot of times im forced to stay within that 140 character limit!

  2. Exactly. The limits we are given believe it or not helps to simplify our thoughts. Text messaging is another great example of this. We abbreviate words and phrases but still writes it so that the reader can understand the message. Social media networks and text messaging is great practice before moving foward to the world of PR, where the experiences of writing fast-paced are imparative. And I agree, 140 characters is a bit limited but the creators of twitter would have never thought up the idea if they believed it wasn’t possible. “One can change the world with 140 characters!” Practice!

  3. The fact that 140 characters is the limit forces people posting to be concise and to the point. This trains PR professionals to make sure that they have a clear message that they can communicate to the public if they don’t have a lot of time or attention to read something lengthy. It’s also beneficial to PR firms because it makes them more available to consumers. There’s a lot of reasons why Twitter is a great resource. I think you hit the nail on the head when you described how it specifically helps PR practitioners. Thankfully, I think it’s fun too so I don’t mind that Twitter could be part of my job description. (:


    • I agree with you Silvana! I more so pay attention to things posted on twitter rather than facebook; especially since Facebook has lifted the limit of characters one can post in a status. I get tired of reading paragraph after paragraph from professionals. Twitter is concise, and i love it! lol

      • Porsha, thats exactly my point. Drawn out paragraphs don’t bring as much interest to it, rather than stating something in 140 characters, which makes people want to tune in to it. I had to get used to twitter and its limit, and from my experience my writing skills have enhanced because I was able to learn a new style and make sure I get my point across without exceeding the limit given.

    • Twitter definitely takes some getting used to, but with practice and experience it will come as second nature to anyone, just like the world of text messaging. Text messaging has been around for years and everyday the usage of text messaging increases.

  4. I think all of you have made many valid points here. What happens when you have the “old school” PR person who doesn’t quite understand Twitter? What would you say to them to convince them to use Twitter? Martise you have a good start with the list you’ve provided us, but if I’m unfamiliar I could envision someone with decision making power saying “No. No. No. Grammar is important. Can’t get our point across in 140 characters. What about our image and brand?”


    • Grammar is important i totally agree with you. I feel like the “old school PR person” needs “new school PR people” to help because we are in the 20th century and technology is changing rapidly. Some can definitelty get their point across with 140 characters and I’m not saying that its easy. How can you get your point across via text? I guess it all depends on the type of company you work for after College. If you work for a fast-paced company that requires you to tweet then this tactic works. Many businesses are linked to twitter because they want to follow their audience. Their audiences use twitter as a way to communicate so it’s important as a brand to stay within that niche.

  5. Martise,

    I understand completely with what you are saying about how, it forces people to be straight and to the point with their message and allows a quick method to get information out or to respond to someone. But, one of my biggest pet peeves is the need for shorthand abbreviation. I truly can’t stand it, it always makes me think of Orwell’s newspeak from 1984. I think the same thing when I receive text messages that have all the crazy abbreviations. When professionals send me information like that, it just sends this vibe of lack of professionalism with it and I just don’t like that. So, while I understand the importance of using social media to communicate to the masses, I think it sends off an air of 1984 and I swear one day we are going to get daily updated versions of dictionaries with a newly condensed word and our words of today will be oldspeak. It may seem exaggerated but it’s really what I think when I recieve texts and tweets like that and it all kind of perturbs me.


    • Sure! Everyone’s opinion differs with how they like to communicate. Some hate abbreviations, some love it. In this particular field though its not 100% always about being precise. Getting the point across and a response from an audience is the main focus. I believe that its less professional to spell words wrong, but abbreviating them is saving space and time. Many environments are so fast-paced with certain launches and may not have the time to spell things “full out” or whatever the case may be. But I totally get your point also.

  6. Martise,

    I think social networking is a great and convenient way for companies to reach their audiences, but I personally don’t think writing in 140 characters or less is not something that makes you a better writer. I do think it’s a quick and simple alternative compared to constantly writing formal letters to consumers however.

    I find it interesting that in this class we are learning how to shape our writing skills. Being able write according to each type of social media is something I would have never thought about. Twitter was quite an adjustment for me, but it is useful. Sadly, many people don’t fully read what you write anyways so it’s a very effective way to communicate.

    I agree with Dayna, when she shared her annoyance with all the shortened abbreviations. That surely will not make you a better writer. You should be able to communicate in 140 or less without a crazy mess of slang.


    • The point i am trying to make is that twitter CAN better your skills as a writer. I’m not saying that it does. With the changes in technology and creations of social media networking, it is important however, to keep up. I’ve been writing for over 10 years, and I am aware of how twitter is a big adjustment. Comparing to Facebook, you can write w/o a limit and I find that many journalists confide in that. Going back to the article I read by Jeremy Porter he states “lets face it some people use too many words w/o getting to the point”. This reminds me of the “so what who cares” theory when we are writing press releases. However, I respect your opinion and understand that some will not agree with the fact that micro blogging can enhance your skills.

      • Actually Martise I was agreeing with you. Twitter is a nice and simple way of communicating with their consumers. I think it can enhance your writing style, just like we are learning in class…You learn how to say similar things in a different way. I don’t necessarily think it makes you a better writer, but you can learn from it and be able to make your writing skills more concise.


  7. I agree and disagree with the value of Twitter. Brevity is fantastic, in the sense that Twitter practically forces a company to water it down and get right to the point, which would make one think there’d be less to worry about! But some companies just tweet and tweet and tweet and it just gets lost in the swill of updates.
    My own big concern is more what the Twitter culture will do to business communication. Click any nationwide trending topic and, if you’re a stickler for grammar, you can start to feel yourself developing an ulcer. LOL is already pervasive in the non-Internet sphere; how long until businesses start emulating the rest of netspeak? It’s nice to say “No, they’ll keep it professional,” but what if netspeak BECOMES professional due to the overwhelming trend of mkng evrythng short & dum lol??
    I’m pretty much on Dayna and Taylor in this. First time I see a business use “u guise,” I’m out. It just makes me think of a dweeb parent trying to be hip with his/her kid…too much second-hand embarrassment, not enough room to respect or take the entity seriously at all.
    Still, it’s nice to follow a company I buy from and have an outlet with a limited amount of b.s. to read to get to the meat and potatoes, so to speak. And I double like it for news sources, since retweets most likely get more people to at least read headlines than expecting the masses to make that intense effort to highlight the URL box and type in a news source’s web address! #firstworldproblems


    • Laura,
      I feel like in order to be successful in this field, or many others, it is about stepping outside of the norm. It is the norm to spell out things as they are written the dictionary, but I will have to disagree with you and say that it doesn’t neccesarily make you unprofessional as a business or as a writer. Within a company it is important that you come up with new ideas to communicate. According to some research I found (I will share it with the class), Journalists have more of an eye for Facebook because you can write until your fingers turn red, getting the point across without abbreviating words. In my opinion if I was a journalist major I would have a problem with twitter and the way they only allow you to use so many words at a time. And thats why I state that it can enhance your PR writing skills.

      • I can see where you’re coming from, but my dread comes from how stepping outside that norm ultimately becomes the norm and now the norm is something…not as pleasant as the norm. But only in my opinion. It’s perfectly right and good for a company to want to stretch out and breech those barriers of syntax separation business and consumer, and PR practitioners ought to be able to do that in any medium.
        But, yeah…I don’t doubt journalists kind of grind their collective teeth at the character limit on Twitter…unless they’re used to having to write their own space-specific headlines. Then, I’d say it’s more a minor annoyance than an agony, like creating all catchy headlines.

  8. Short messages keeps attention, if twitter allowed 380 characters I doubt it would be as close to popular as it is today, keeping things as short as it is helps to keep peoples attention, with the idea of USA today where short and sweet topics work best and it’s key.
    What twitter has done for PR has saved it by grabbing peoples attention without overstating things and losing peoples attention, I agree with you and getting straight to the point is key these days.

    • YES!!!! Well put. Unfortunately with the world today, you have to cater to consumers attention spans. You want them to buy into whatever you are dishing out there. Abbreviating is the way to go in some cases, not all, but many. “Twitter saved PR”, I like that! But sure enough, its true!

  9. Martise,

    I agree that Twitter can benefit all of our writing skills and those of PR professionals. Clear, concise writing is appropriate in any venue. It forces you to edit yourself when you only have short space to say something exceptional. I like your Starbuck’s example because it demonstrates how PR can really use Twitter to their benefit to communicate with the public efficiently.

    I also agree with what @thecoolkidsopinion said, that if Twitter allowed too many characters it wouldn’t have the same popularity. It would be too much like Facebook, which may have a limit but if so it’s so generous that I’m not aware of it.


  10. I think micro blogging is a great way to communicate and it helps writing skills for sure, but only within micro blogging. I don’t think it help enhance writers skills in writing in general, if anything it might actually affect it in a negative way. Hopefully we won’t see all those made up words, abbreviations, and slangs in official writings. I would have to agree with Laura, it does make it unprofessional in a way. Stepping outside the norm and coming up with new ideas does not mean taint originality, but again, people who think like that are some people of today’s world. May be in 20 years it will change and the norm will be abbreviations, slangs and uncommon words.

    • Official writing and social networking are not the same and cannot be compared. Companies use more than 1 base of communication, so when they’re sending a message via twitter, it has to be simplifyed or shortened. I’ll have to disagree with you both about the fact that abbreviating makes you look unprofessional. What about all the companies that are now on twitter. You think they would want to jeaopardize their businesses if people felt like it was “unprofessional” for them to introduce a new burger or new shampoo, doing so in 140 characters? Not unprofessional but more like creative!

  11. I completely agree with you on this topic. When I was first introduced to Twitter I thought it was stupid. I thought of it as people just posting what is the equivalent of a Facebook status, constantly. Which wasn’t that appealing to me and still isn’t. I also didn’t like that I could only say something in 140 characters. That’s hardly enough to say ANYTHING. Though as time went on I got better at saying what I wanted to say. Lately I’ve been helping my group of friends promote their rap group via twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and etc. Twitter especially has been the more popular avenue to communicate with people quickly. People are always on twitter searching and looking for something to pop out. I’ve actually gotten better at using Twitter simply because I’m forced to adapt in order to be successful. I guess it actually can’t be pretty beneficial if you practice at it.

  12. Martise,
    All the replies have great opinions and stances. From the positives to the negatives, I agree with both sides and don’t feel the need to summarize what’s already been said. My issues with Twitter happen to be all about the word count. I feel trapped in space not being able to say all I need to. Because I’m not a business or corporation, that’s porbably a good thing :). But for businesses and corporations, I feel like not all of the message is being given when they tweet. It also takes out the professionalism, because there is a need for traditional media tactics. In it, I feel there is a sense of sophistication and maturity. Many major events in PR happened without the Twitter or Facebook outlets. True, it has its purposes, but it shouldn’t take over. Also, if the Twitter and Facebook “language” , what’s really the use of learning everything we spent time in school for – rhetor, style, grammar, etc.? Sure, it’s great to use for someone’s personal life, but aren’t we making this a little too personal? When does the line of professionalism and personal life become too hazy?

  13. Great read Martise. I have actually never thought of Twitter as micro-blogging. I agree that sites like Twitter does help improve your writing and editing skills. With 140 characters, you DO want people to be moved to act. Its great for launching a product or even to dispel a sleazy rumor. But what about real crisis communication? Would be better to tweet a statement or release one? The 140 characters is a challenge that makes it so interesting. Bloggers, journalists, and PR reps have all had to learn to conform to the ways of Twitter. That in and of itself is pretty powerful. Especially when a professional like a journalist has had the freedom to expound on a subject way past 140 characters to now having shorten up the message is a great challenge but not impossible. Hey we have all done it when we post these blogs and have of us despised or didn’t even know how to use twitter. 🙂


  14. Martise,
    I’m still new and trying to get the hang of twitter, I think I do a lot more reading on Twitter then I do actual Tweeting. I know sometimes reading stuff can be a drag and then there are all those details that really don’t matter to you, but on Twitter its straight to the point. I’m glad they put a limit on it because that way it also makes it different than posting a FB status. I also agree with the fact that it can help your writting skills because you may have to use shorter words with different meanings to make the 140 character limit. I like how its short andconsice and straight to the point. I think its a good way to reach out to your consumers and to try and attract more people but I agree about what Jalessa said about how it seems like big business can’t send out their whole message and how it seems unprofessional to use the language when we spend all this time and money on school so we can utilize those things properly. So I think there are pros and cons to only being able to use 140 characters. I think that only some business aspects should be shown through twitter, or they should at least have links leading to more information because lets say a business post something about an upcoming contest and you want details, the information should just be presented, instead of you going all over the internet to try and get details. So like I said in my opinion i think there are pros/cons just depends what you are using it for.
    -Rhonda Farah

  15. Pingback: Twitter Basics « ginaluttrellphd

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