Why should you care about appearing smart on Twitter? Because the people who hire, promote, fire, date, marry, and divorce you will all read your tweets (updates) at some point. It’s always a good idea to put your best foot forward. Why not do the same on Twitter? Why not make an effort to appear as smart as you can?

A “visible IQ” is a short way of describing the sum total of everything I can point to and say “see, this person [you] is really smart.” As a reader scans your latest tweets, they get an impression of you. You might seem smart, funny, thoughtful, or perhaps even boring, hateful, and sloppy. Twitter makes it easy to seem less intelligent than you truly are for 3 reasons:

  • No context – You don’t get to explain yourself.
  • Real-time pressure – Everybody is updating NOW!
  • Sloppy status quo – Nobody else cares. Why should you?

If you’d like to take some practical steps to make sure you’re doing everything you can to seem smart, try these tips to boost your visible IQ on Twitter:

1. Abandon Predictive Text (T9)

Don’t let your cellphone complete any texts being sent out as a tweet. It might seem like a good idea to let a bit of software choose how you complete your words. But only if you’re willing to be seen on Twitter as apathetic and sloppy. When you’ve only got 140 characters to make your point, every letter of every word needs to be in the right spot if you want your point to hit home.

2. Write Just For Twitter

Posting tweets from Facebook and myriad other social platforms initially looks like a good idea. It actually makes you look like you’re lazy and don’t care much for your audience. Instead of blurting blurbs to the nearest platform and letting RSS spread your thoughts, give Twitter some dedicated attention. After all, didn’t you want to add a few words of extra context to your Facebook status? Take advantage of that extra space! Take Twitter’s space restrictions as a challenge to write particularly brilliant 140-character pieces. Genius!

3. Sidestep Stoner Syndrome

Every complex thought reduced to 140 characters will end up sounding like it was pulled from a hookah. That brilliant thought you had earlier today about how the world could learn a lot just by watching ducks swim? You didn’t seem smarter when you tweeted it. You sounded like you were really, really high. All those inspirational quotes about failure being nothing more than success wrapped in bacon? They make you sound high. This isn’t your fault. Not at all! You can blame it on Twitter’s 140-character limits and our common human tendency to say as many profound things each day as possible. If you focus on sharing your perspective on simpler ideas, you’ll seem insightful and perhaps even witty.

4. Mark Quotes Clearly

If you must quote others, clearly mark the quotes as such. Otherwise, you’re in a prime spot to look like you’re trying pass off other’s words as your own. What’s worse, you might tweet an unmarked quote that seems funny or ironic to you at the time but it may come off as stupid or immature to readers. Look smarter by giving credit and using quotation marks “quote.” for tweets you didn’t come up with yourself. Hopefully others will do the same and you’ll get additional attention for the brilliant tweets you’ve been crafting!

5. Share Only The Best Content

You may have been told that you must share everything your friends are sharing if you want to be a good community member. The quantity of sharing is up to your personal beliefs. The quality of the things you share, however, isn’t up for discussion. If you share low-quality content, you look like an idiot. It doesn’t matter if your best friend published an article. If the article is terrible, you’ll not only damage your own reputation but that of your friend by sharing the article. If you want to be seen as an intelligent and savvy Twitter user, focus on sharing quality.

What tip would you add for Twitter users looking to look their very best for possible employers? (or life partners!) It’d be great to know what you think a smart tweet looks like. Link to your favorite in a comment!

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