The Evolution of Tweet

Jerry Jones guano

Evolving a tweet.

I thought it might be an interesting diversion to show you the creative process. The author stuff that goes on behind the curtain. This is also known as “I got nothing.”

For today we’ll consider the creation of a tweet, an art form limited to 140 characters or less.

The process begins with the humble germination of an idea. There’s nothing quite like that flash of inspiration that goes off like the proverbial lightbulb over one’s head. It may even be prompted by physical stimuli, such as something cold and squishy between one’s toes. Whatever it takes because the tweet is the thing!

Whatever the source, capture that sublime moment of invention and write it down. At this point do not worry about form or brevity.

After taking the first load of cat vomit to the trash I can never find the rest of it, even though I know that squishy spot is somewhere out there in the carpet.

Not too bad for an initial effort. Our composition window says this is 161 characters which is way too long. We’ll have to trim it down. For this phase I usually remove all instances of the word “the.” That’s a real space saver!

We also have to be careful. Does this tweet communicate the story we want to tell? Is anything unclear? Are we getting across the ideas as we originally intended? Are we being deliberately obtuse so as to ensure sure we’re the only one who gets it? We have to keep these thoughts in mind as we shape and craft the tweet.

Taking first load of cat vomit to trash I can never find the rest of it, even though I know that squishy spot is somewhere out there in the carpet.

The word “after” that started things off was really irrelevant. It’s gone along with an extraneous “the.” Now it’s 147 characters long. We’re getting there but we’ve got a bit more to go.

Other key edit possibilities include removal of all narcissistic references of self like “I” and “me” and “my.” These often comprise up to 95% of my tweets. I’m not sure why.

Took first load of cat vomit to trash, never found the rest of it, even though I know that squishy spot is somewhere in the carpet.

Also, changing tense can often be a character saver. “Taking” uses a whopping six slots. Change that to “took,” however, and it only consumes four. That’s a 33% improvement.

After every edit comes a recount. 131 characters. Ah! Victory! At this point we could justifiably rest on our laurels and call it a day. But now, since we’ve been so successful, we actually have a little room to play with. Let’s get creative and sprinkle a hashtag on top.

Also, without fail, always remove every instance of the word “that,” a word which has absolutely no purpose and should be stricken from the English language. Never allow this fluff word to spoil your tweets.

Took first load of cat vomit to trash, never found the rest of it, even though I know squishy spot is still somewhere in the carpet. #puddle

140 characters exactly. There’s something about a 140-character tweet that excites me. I’m not sure why.

So, that’s it. Here’s the final product in all it’s glory. It garnered exactly zero favorites and zero retweets, the usual outcome of my efforts. My work here is done. Twitter is where my thoughts go to die.

15 responses

  1. I work miracles with commas spaces, dashes and puntuation elimination.
    I have yet to use text-shorthand, though I may have dropped a few vowels once or twice.


    1. Yeah. Commas that once looked good early on eventually has gots to go. I never fully understood most commas.

      Vowel dropping is cheating.


      1. Fortunately, there aren’t any rules on twitter!


      2. LOL IMHO u r rite! OICU812 AFAIK. Blame SWIM. Woot. FTW!


      3. Woot?!?
        I guess no you think you’re L33T.


  2. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    Twitter is definitely where your thoughts and your best stuff, okay maybe sometimes your mediocre stuff, goes to die. It’s a void, a vast empty void of white noise. Why do we bother??! Outside of my marriage, I’ve never had such a meaningless, soulless experience. At least, if you’re sitting next to someone, trying to engage him or her in a conversation, you can get all up in their grill or rap them on the head. Some response, any response. It kills me.


    1. There have been times I witted my ass off and got absolutely no response. I’d say that’s about 99% of the time.

      I don’t seem to gain followers, either.

      My twitter isn’t (usually) a lot of boring bullshit about how I just ate a bowl of Fruit Loops or the license plate on the car in front of me has COK in it (ha ha) or even about the size of my boogers. I try very hard to make it more entertaining than that.

      The world seldom notices.

      My guess is that Twitter is very much about timing. If someone sticks a device in their face and your tweet happens to be the first thing they see, there’s a very good chance they’ll love the shit out of it. If not, and it scrolls down and into the nether in the next 12 seconds, that’s it. Game over.

      It’s not like someone’s going to get on Twitter and scroll back to get caught up on all the tweets from you that they missed. That’s because they follow 5,000 other people and if they tried that they’d run out of time to write their own tweets and that must not be allowed to happen.

      The problem with real life, however, is that you can’t walk up to a stranger and say, “So, yeah, check this out. These two pumpkins walk into a bar…”


      1. Snoring Dog Studio

        My Twitter is never about ablutions or what I’ve just eaten. But it seems to me that it’s a social media site that greatly resembles high school. I’m the unpopular one trying to join in on a conversation with the popular girls. They keep ignoring me. Ah, life.


  3. Loved this! #mademelaugh


    1. Woot! What part? Was it the tweet “poop” that got scared out of the little blue bird? 🙂


      1. That and the actual tweet itself. Our dog has outgrown this … A phase, we guess … But I can relate! On a more serious note, good advice and well written. I reluctantly tweet..


  4. You are definitely a mastertweeter.


    1. I accept that compliment. And you, sir, are a masterwoofer.


  5. You know how to #bitchtweet. I will always be your true follower.


    1. You have too high of an opinion of me. It’s worse than you know.


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