March 24, 2014

Embedding #Writing Hashtags in Your Tweets

The PCCC Writing Center does not use the blog exclusively to promote writing center content. Twitter is incorporated to help expand our content reach and facilitate conversation in a way to build a virtual social presence. One way that we promote content is by using hashtags or the "#" sign followed by a keyword such as "#writing." Hashtags "allow you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords," as per Mashable. Hashtags also make you more discoverable and searchable, which is what helps tweeps find you (#VeryCool).

Let's have a look, shall we?

The use of hashtags has helped promote our content by making it more searchable (discoverable). For example, by using the hashtag #WriterWednesday (#WW) we’ve been able to connect with and gain followers to expand our Twitter stream.  For example, we’ve written tweets for this hashtag such as: “Looking to follow some new tweeps? Check out @[TwitterName].”  Some additional hashtags used in Tweets that help build an account are: #FollowFriday, which was started to recommend favorite tweeps to followers; #amwriting; #amediting; #writetips; #writertips; #writing; and #grammartip.

The PCCC Writing Center uses hashtags either at the end or beginning of the tweet. For example: “Experience/practice the writing assignment first before distributing it to students. Any revisions needed? #TeachingTips #justsayin.” Or, incorporate the hashtag in with the tweet: “Each language has its own confusing rules, like word order; sentence organization, missing (or extra) parts of speech. #L2 fact.”  In addition, the center’s Twitter account utilizes hashtags like #MondayBlogs or #MentionMonday to promote the PCCC Writing Center blog posts every Monday, which allows us to build our Twitter account through the addition of new followers, and help disseminate our content to new or existing followers.

Remember, social media is not for everyone, and it takes time and practice. However, you might find it inspirational, or somewhat enlightening to branch out beyond your writing center walls and share content over various writing landscapes.

How does your center use hashtags to promote content? 

March 7, 2014

Imitating Other Writers

After I’ve been reading something from one of my favorite authors, I often find myself adopting their style of writing for a little while. I form my words differently and start “thinking” in a peculiar way. This always gets me inspired to start writing again. Next time you are feeling uninspired, pick up a book from a writer you like and immerse yourself in their language.  See if you can adopt their style to get yourself started. You can even read a small excerpt from a book and then try to continue it in the same voice.

Don’t worry about copying another author too closely. You will find that as you write, you will naturally create a hybrid style, influenced by all the writer’s you read, and all of your experiences, thoughts, and emotions.

Another great exercise is to take a passage from someone else’s writing and try to revise it and make it your own. The trick is not to change the content of the writing, but the style and voice of the writer.

Try it now with this short passage from author Simon Van Booy:

When small drops began to fall and darken the world in penny-shaped circles, no one around him scurried for cover. For lonely people, rain is a chance to be touched.