Social media, according to the popular narrative, is where the rules of writing go to die. You could go through your entire news feed and not see one properly written sentence. Spelling errors are all around, good grammar is a forgotten entity, and forget about periods after sentences and proper nouns beginning with capital letters. Script writing services could never come up with this cast of characters and its inability to employ basic writing rules. It’s enough to make your head spin! But it can also help you out, if you’re willing to think outside the box.
A Learning Experience
Yeah, you could take the stance that social media is the devil and has nothing to offer to any writer. But this line of thinking can cause you to miss a big opportunity.
The first reason why social media can help you is the same reason that reading anything is beneficial. Everything you read makes you a better writer, whether you realize it or not. Every time you read, you subconsciously judge what you like and what you don’t like. This helps you to further refine your style. And while your Facebook feed might not be War and Peace, it’s not as far off as you might think.
The great works of literature all have compelling characters, each with his or her own personality. As you read, you create images of these characters, visualizing them in your mind as though they were real people. This type of thinking isn’t limited to novels and short stories, though – it’s something you do every day.
Where in the world could you possibly meet a group of people as diverse and insane as the people you read about every day via social media? Your news feed is a gateway into a diverse array of personalities, writing styles and forms of expression. Logging into Facebook or Twitter gives you unprecedented access into how people communicate and handle life situations. If you know how to use this information, it can do a lot to help your writing.
Bringing it All Together
Social media can be your best friend as a writer if you’re smart enough to process what’s around you. You have the opportunity to tap into dozens of different writing styles each time you view your news feed. Why not incorporate that into your writing? Take the best parts of what you see, clean them up, and use them to your advantage.
You don’t have to embark on a grandiose work of fiction to use the lessons you’ve learned from social media. Being a good writer is all about knowing exactly what tone to use in a given situation. Even if you’ve never had to utilize a given voice, odds are very good that you’ve read someone else who has. All you have to do is take what you’ve picked up and apply it to your work. If you practice this enough, you’ll have a dynamic array of styles that you can use at any moment, giving your writing that much more depth.
Less is More
In addition to learning by reading, social media also gives you the opportunity to write in different ways. There’s no better example of this than Twitter, which forces you to get your message across in 140 or fewer characters. In this medium, you can’t afford to waste a single character. By using Twitter, you’ll learn how to trim the fat out of your writing, leaving only the most relevant content for your readers to enjoy. The ability to be brief and concise — yet still laden with personality — will send the quality of your work through the roof.
Bryan B is a freelance writer based in Long Island, N.Y. He is passionate about bad movies and bad puns, and he still thinks pro wrestling is real.