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Feb 1, 2023

How to Transform Your Tweets into a Published Book

Here are 7 steps to organise your tweets into a non-fiction title

A mobile screen with twitter open

You probably know that, on an average, 6,000 tweets are tweeted every second - making it 500 million tweets per day or 200 billion tweets per year. And 92% of these tweets are posted by just 10% of Twitter users - clearly those who hold influential positions. According to Pew Research data, the average user tweets only once a month, while the most prolific users do so 157 times. That’s a treasury of powerful content.

Also, importantly, India has the third highest number of Twitter users. 

The only challenge is - how does one extract valuable information from thousands of tweets spread across months and years, and make any sense from them? Twitter moves too fast, and it is impossible to scroll through scores of images, stats, data and infographics posted in no predictable order. So if you want to learn from the insights of a leader or anyone you admire, you have to be okay with what they are tweeting in real time. You may try to browse through older tweets, and you would find nuggets of wisdom certainly but very little narrative thread that holds the opinions together.

A book born out of tweets comes in very handy therefore. A single piece of work could cull together a range of life lessons into a meaningful, structured account. The myriad ideas from one’s favourite tweets could be expanded and documented for posterity. And, of course, the writer-thought leader would hold exclusive copyright to this original content. 

The only catch - the tweets would have to be perused just once to prioritise and segment the messaging and data. But once that’s done, it becomes pretty easy to pen a book.

Here are 7 steps to organise your tweets into a non-fiction title:

Step 1: Go through all the posts to check which ones are still relevant today.

We’ve all posted tweets that are irrelevant, sentimental or something we are embarrassed by. And some we’re truly proud of. The trick is to list the best ones - say the top 100 - on a doc and take a hard look at what they are. They may not all fit in together, but they certainly provide a window into your best work.

Step 2: Identify the underlying patterns of thought.

Understand if there’s an underlying pattern behind your top 100 tweets. Are you speaking about company culture, or are you delving into consumer psyche? Or, is product-market fit your biggest area of interest? From this exercise, you will be able to decipher what matters to you the most.

Step 3: What is the one grand central idea that holds your tweets together?

Once the above exercise is done, choose the top 10 tweets to decide upon that one idea that could be the subject of your book. You may conclude that a management book works the best, or perhaps a biography. Or, if you would rather keep your organisation in the foreground, then a corporate history book would do justice to the subject. There could be ten different topics that are interesting, but there is most likely one theme that works best as the subject matter of your book. That will be it’s USP / elevator pitch.

Step 4: Once the elevator pitch is clear, it’s a matter of segregating the tweets under major headings.

Under the central overarching theme, jot down 10 sub-topics that could serve as chapters in your book. Under each one, it is advisable to note down all the relevant tweets you can discover from your timeline so important ideas are not left out.

Step 5: Expand on the chapters.

The most difficult part of structuring is done. Now it is a matter of expanding your thoughts on each of these 10 chapters. A biography could have 10 different life lessons; a management book on starting-up could speak about 10 business challenges in starting a company; or you could curate 10 insightful interviews with leaders you admire. It’s good to have 15-20 bullet points under each chapter before one starts writing - for each of these points could be expanded into paragraphs with the argument / story flowing seamlessly from one point to the next.

Step 6: What happens to thoughts and ideas that do not fall into this narrative? 

Thought clouds are always mushrooming in our heads, giving birth to new ideas and possibilities. With our heads abuzz, it is difficult to edit out conflicting opinions. You could work with an editor to add or delete complementary ideas so the central messaging of the book remains consistent.

Step 7: Graphs and charts and other research.

All graphs and stats are crucial for readers to retain the information they’re taking away. So are references to other books, articles, blogs and so on. Keeping a list of these comes in handy for the book’s bibliography section and adds trust in your narrative.  

It takes a few months to pen a book, but once it is written, the copyright is yours. And it can be saved and documented for posterity as your original contribution to the vibrant universe of critical thinking on business and leadership.