For too long advertising copywriters have taken a backseat to designers, artists, directors, traffic coordinators, programmers, IT people, researchers and oh yes, account execs. Sure, we like our offices dimly lit. Yes, we do our best work *outside* of the conference room. And many of us do like to work in our underwear. But thanks to Social Media (SM) and Twitter, the worm has turned.

While it seems that everyone is scrambling to ‘define’ Twitter or figure out a way to trick/attract ‘followers’, the simple truth is that Twitter’s core concept is dialogue. The more engaging the dialogue, the more people listen, pay attention, respond, reply and yes, ‘follow.’ But being able to write a sentence with no grammatical errors is not enough to succeed in SM. If you’re well-dressed but have bad breath, no one is going to dance with you. You must be sincere, honest, true to your brand (whether commercial or personal) and you must think on your feet.

This is where the modern-day copywriter fits in. We’re trained to attack dialogue – quickly, with relevance and resonance. Yes, there are some people who think that I write too much on Twitter or say things that might be a bit controversial. But I don’t cuss (much), I don’t offend (directly) and I don’t take anything too seriously (mostly). I’m just doing what comes naturally to me. Yes, in the new world order of minimalism, 140 characters is plenty to A) get attention, B) make a point and C) get people thinking about something. Combine this skill with the amazing growth Twitter is currently experiencing, and I think that before 2009 is out you’re going to see big brands across the globe seek out and hire talented copywriters to engage their target audience in dialogue. For example, Goodyear wants to capitalize on SM. They hire a copywriter to ‘Tweet’ 10 original tweets a day in a way that keeps their product interesting while also following X# of people per day who represent their target audience. They’ll also ask us to monitor certain trending words so we can interject the Goodyear brand into relevant dialogue threads. Seriously – this is going to happen.

So sharpen your pencils, and your wit, because SM needs copywriters more than any other traditional advertising discipline. Whether we work in our underwear or not, our time has come. Finally.

Note: I started a group on Linkedin in 2008 called Copywriter’s Guild. It now has 5,000 members worldwide. So if you want to hire someone to help you sharpen your message in Social Media, or anywhere, it’s a great place to start.


Jim Mitchem

A Great Stand.
Twitter. Engage.

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.