Anatomy of a tweet

Here is the anatomy of a tweet I posted. It went semi-viral (by my standards).

anatomy of a tweet

First of all, it’s viral in comparison to my usual tweets. It was a writing experiment.

Here’s the tweet:

Wanna know a secret?

Your 30’s will be amazing compared to your 20’s.

Our youth obsession was made by ad execs like Don Draper in the 50s.

You probably won’t believe me, but as long as you’re open to learning new things, your life will improve so much.

I’m excited for you.

You’re probably looking at it and thinking what’s the big deal?

Before we pop the hood on it and look inside lets set a few things straight.

Clarifications

1: This isn’t an original tweet. The wording is mine, but the origin of the idea is not. I saw a tweet and agreed with the sentiment. The sentiment in essence – things get better as you get older, we’re all a bit youth-obsessed, and it’s not helpful. I concur with the message. I didn’t like how it was worded. It was all “My life is so awesome, things are going well for me, me, me”. Fair play to the person but it wasn’t relatable to you or me.

2: I made a none controversial statement. It’s hard to disagree with this tweet. The message is apolitical. It’s not like I’m saying “Wanna know a secret, we need more boots on the ground in Syria”. It’s an inoffensive tweet. There are some people who disagreed. Disagreed in the sense, they believe that life did not get better, their loss.

3: This tweet only went big through actively engaging with others on Twitter. Twitter gets a lot of flak for being a dumpster fire burning of negativity. It feels Twitter is more like a magic mirror. You get what you bring. I like to be positive engaging with what people say rather than who says it. There are a couple of accounts I’ve had nothing but beautiful interactions. Accounts like Scott Adams, Jose Rosado, Brometheus and Dani California. Those are just a few.

When you interact with people honestly, it tends to go a lot better. Other people will click your profile and give your timeline a scroll. If you have something that resonates with them. All the better. This tweet would not have gone big were it not for Dev.

I hope I made myself clear.

Right, onto the tweet.

Anatomy of a Tweet

What made it go big is it has a hook. It has a promise, identifies an obstacle. It acknowledges scepticism, a choice and ends on a reassurance.

anatomy of a tweet

There are a few techniques at work.

There’s my own Simplified Story System. Read that here now.

There’s four-sentence persuasion. Four sentence persuasion is: People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams. Justify their failures, allay their fears. Confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.

There’s also some basic copywriting. If you want to learn more, would you mind clicking this affiliate link to Cashvertising? I ask because it helps me out. Cashvertising is one of the most excellent books on copywriting. The book is a beautiful introduction to the subject.

Right onto the tweet. Here it is again, in case you forgot.

Wanna know a secret?

Your 30’s will be amazing compared to your 20’s.

Our youth obsession was made by ad execs like Don Draper in the 50s.

You probably won’t believe me, but as long as you’re open to learning new things, your life will improve so much.

I’m excited for you.

Got it read? Ok, let’s take it line by line.

One final thing, pay attention to the use of “you”. If I turned everything into first-person, do you think it would resonate people?

Even look how I’m writing now, you’ve probably noticed I’m using “you” more often that “I”. Something you can consider.

Anatomy of a tweet
Look at those engagements

Right, line by line, anatomy of a tweet, commentary in italics.

The Breakdown

Wanna know a secret?

This is the hook. Who doesn’t want to know a secret? I used the more informal “wanna” instead of “Do you want to”. I’m trying to write how I speak.

Your 30’s will be amazing compared to your 20’s.

This is the promise. I’m addressing you directly. Either you’re in your twenties, or you’ve been through the decade already. I believe I’m improving with age. Since I have thought that though it means that millions more have also had that thought.

Our youth obsession was made by ad execs like Don Draper in the 50s.

Here I identify an obstacle. A youth-obsessed culture. That’s how it seems right? Look at ads, art entertainment. We’re youth-obsessed. I go a step further and make you think of an actual person. In this case, Jon Hamm in Mad Men. I include “ad execs” and “the 50s” in case you don’t get the specific reference. It’s visual, you are imagining a stiff, uptight guy in a suit. Cigarette in one hand, neat Scotch in the other. He sits slumped in a leather chair overlooking the Manhatten skyline from his penthouse in Chelsea. His mistress is in the next room, her sobbing annoys him. Can you see the image? Well, if you weren’t imagining it before, you sure are now.

You probably won’t believe me, but as long as you’re open to learning new things, your life will improve so much.

Here I acknowledge to you that yes, this idea is not new. I’m not trying to be original. You need to know this. You’re also presented with a choice. Do you stay closed off or do allow yourself to learn something new? It’s a trick choice. Who actually has ever said “I know everything already” and had your respect?

I’m excited for you.

A final reassurance. I do mean this, I am excited to see what people do. If they up their game then I feel obliged to up mine. It’s terse, has a positive adjective, what if “anxious” or “nervous” was there instead?

There you have it, that’s it in essence. Let’s conclude.

Conclusion

Here’s a reminder about what helped this tweet go big. The anatomy of a tweet.

  1. The sentiment: Something that is uncontroversial and relatable.
  2. The Wording. When you’re writing, appeal to the reader, not your own ego.
  3. Interact: This tweet would not have gone big without interacting with people. Interacting genuinely, keep that in mind. Don’t set out with the intention of having a viral tweet.

Anyway, that’s all I got for now.

Would you mind following me on Twitter because then I can do more of this content?

Thank you, have a great day.

I am excited for you.

Kieran

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