How Does Social Media Affect Our Writing?

By on September 18, 2018
How Does Social Media Affect Our Writing? - Writer's

The way we access our information has changed hugely over the past decade. Writers have been told time and time again that readers have increasingly short attention spans.

We also know that competition for the reader’s attention is more intense than ever before.

The rise of social media has dramatically affected the way that readers access information and absorb it. A considerable number of people who used to sit back with a newspaper or book now get their information and entertainment via a screen.

But how does this affect the way that writers write, should we adapt our writing so they can be consumed by this hungry yet distracted audience in a different way?

The answer is both yes and no.

There are always going to be readers who want to indulge in the pleasure of reading how it used to be. Those who are looking for a riveting tale to get lost in as they sip cocktails on a sun lounger on holiday. Or those who are traveling to far-flung lands and want a fantastic, inspiring story they can read as they embark on epic journeys across the globe.

However, there is a vast market ready and waiting to lap up our writing online if it is presented to them in the right way.

We scroll throughout Facebook feeds and click on things that pop up that look interesting to us, so writing attention-grabbing headlines is vital.

We read Tweets where you are restricted in how much you can reveal - so to be effective you must be able to say what you want to say in a limited number of words.

We look at Instagram where you can create stories through a collection of images that must work as one to create a lasting impression on the observer.

Writer’s don't have to change the way they write, but if they want to make an impact on social media they have to adapt and conform to its limitations, and it’s opportunities too.

A 21st-century writer must be flexible and willing to learn how to manage social media and use it to their advantage.

Teaching ourselves how to write short, impactful sentences can ensure our readers remain focused.

Learning how to turn the heads of readers whose attention was elsewhere and get them to lean in, and to want to learn more can increase our fans and our followers by significant numbers.

Discovering new trends, and creating our own, and pitching new ideas, bringing something fresh, exciting and relatable to these platforms will give us a voice that stands out.

Engaging with social media as a writer may mean adapting ones writing to communicate better via these avenues.

These days, avoiding social media only makes our job harder, and while our ideal readers might be those sipping cocktails under an umbrella with all the time in the world on their hands, if we don’t try to engage with the others we are dismissing a significant potential readership, who could be our next biggest fans.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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