Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
Recently, Twitter allowed some users to write tweets of up to 280 characters instead of the usual 140. Issues like harassment, online bullying, and potentially inciting nuclear war are important, but they had to wait so Twitter could make sure jerks like me would have more sand in their sandboxes, apparently. It is my gift, it is my curse. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I feel a certain noblesse oblige to help other writers who have been or will one day be granted this awesome power. If you’re an author, a writer, or just someone willing to visit this website and click the banner ads, it is your solemn duty to read this column and learn how to wield your words effectively in this expansive new landscape.
(Author’s note: If you’re one of the unwashed still pecking out your book promotions and Twitter pitch contests 140 characters at a time like a caveman chiseling into a stone tablet, I’m sorry that I have nothing for you today. You’ll have to make do with my previous Twitter columns; I stand by what I wrote back then, but now that I’ve seen the 280-character future, my mind has been opened to the thrilling possibilities of the universe, like in that expanding-brain meme (if you don’t know what that is, then you definitely don’t have 280-character Twitter)).
- Lord it over everybody. No one knows how Twitter decided whom to bless, but one thing is obvious: Those fortunate few produce the most valuable #content on the internet, and should be shown the same deference extended to your average princess or archduke. I was selected as one of the fortunate few, and if you think I’m here to gloat, you’re correct. Demand that respect from others, and show it to those who are also gifted. (A great way to show that respect is to send them a tiny coffee payment at the bottom of their article.)
- Acres of white space. In graphic design, one of the most important elements is white space. If you want your words to stand out, you need to clear the stage for them. Think of your tweets like a lawn. The lawn was invented by rich folk who took perfectly good farmland and used it for nothing but giving jealous neighbors something to drool over. So it is with your 280 Twitter characters—you don’t want to use them all on letters, numbers, and emojis. You’ve got to do something like this:
I may have just killed one of my favorite characters today :(
- Use lots more hashtags. All that extra real estate means that you can do #onelinewednesday, #amwriting, #amediting, #pitmad, and #writinglife in a single tweet, with room left over to tag the Twitter accounts you set up for all your characters.
- Take a ride on the omnibus. Combine several of your already-published tweets into a single tweet. Congratulations, you’ve just published your first short story collection!
- Add a signature. Like you do with your email. You can put your email address, Amazon links, and that all-important confidentiality notice that this tweet is is intended only for the named recipient(s) on your followers list and is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act 18 U.S.C. Section 2510-2521.
- Sell ad space. Monetize those extra characters by selling some of them. I’ve tried it, and it’s great—almost as great as two medium Domino’s pizzas for $12.99, carryout only.
- Make stronger, more meaningful connections with other writers. Before, we barely had space to introduce ourselves and fawn over our favorite authors’ Twitter accounts before we’d run out of characters. Now, we can connect on a deep level.
- Old way, 140 characters: U up???
- New way, 280 characters: My dearest Catherine, The indications are very strong that the haters shall overtake me in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to tweet again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more. #writerproblems
And finally, now that you know all my secrets, you can write your own writing-advice column about how authors can use 280 characters. With all that extra Tweeting space, you can practically fit it into a single tweet.
How are you planning to use your 280 characters on Twitter? Share your ideas in the comments!
Now, thanks to tinyCoffee and PayPal, you can!