If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you’ve probably noticed something.
The most popular / best-performing threads on Twitter almost always use one common tactic, and it’s so simple that you might not even notice it. And it may be effective – but it drives me absolutely bonkers.
So in this article, I’m going to discuss the writing style that’s gripped Twitter (and more broadly, the internet). I call it Taki writing.
In this article, I'm going to cover:
- What Taki writing is
- Why it's called Taki writing
- Why Taki writing is terrible and lazy
- How to write incredible pieces of writing without using Taki writing
1. What's Taki writing?
Here's a good example of what Taki writing looks like.
You should space out your sentences to the logical extreme.
If you have two ideas that are similar, why put them together in a paragraph?
Here's a bit of information.
Here's another bit of information that is related to the previous sentence.
Here's yet another bit of information that's related to both of the previous sentences, but since paragraphs are too annoying to figure out, I'm not going to do anything.
Paragraphs are reminiscient of an oppressive society when English teachers ruled the world.
Whew, that's both exhausting to write and to look at. Here's a more formal definition of Taki writing:
Taki writing (noun): Writing where almost all of the sentences are purposefully indented as to avoid any semblance of paragraphs. Can also be referred to as "one-line" writing.
But why do I call it Taki writing?
2. Why it's called Taki writing
Have you ever had a bag of Takis?
If not, you're seriously missing out. These little red fire sticks are freaking delicious. On more than one occasion, I've ruined my entire appetite for dinner by eating 50+ Takis in less than 10 minutes. Most importantly, they're really small. It's so easy to just eat one more.
Think of each Taki as a little sentence within a larger piece of writing. If you're the writer, it's really easy to continually feed the reader Takis – since individually, the Takis are delicious and digestible.
But when the reader reaches the end of the piece, they feel unsatisfied by their "meal". This makes sense, because eating only Takis for dinner is not fulfilling, nor is it especially nutritious.
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If you're the writer, it's much better to consolidate your individual lines of writing into larger components of an actual meal. Instead of feeding your reader individual Takis, feed them one or two paragraphs beefy enough to qualify as a rotisserie chicken. And feed them a few decent-sized paragraphs so the reader can have some broccoli and rice.
If you're a writer, one of your most important goals is to make your reader satisfied. I'll talk about how you can avoid Taki writing in section 4.
And if you weren't the biggest fan of this analogy, read on. In the next section, I'm going to list concrete arguments detailing why I hate Taki writing.
3. Why Taki writing is terrible and lazy
If you haven't encountered Taki writing on a widespread scale, consider yourself very, very lucky. I've encountered an alarmingly large number of Twitter users who consistently use Taki writing:
- @contentkuba // 12k+ followers
- @claudiastellner // 22k+ followers
- @jayyanginspires // 26k+ followers
- @jonbrosio // 47k+ followers
- @Nicolascole77 // 132k+ followers
And of course, there are many, many more.
I think these writers use Taki writing because a) it's easy and b) they're trying to compete with the 1.8 second attention spans that TikTok has given an entire generation. Since videos are much more engaging than writing, these writers have to eliminate any paragraphs to even compete with TikTok.
Additionally, it's much easier to do something if everyone else is doing it. If you're trying to grow an audience on Twitter (or your blog, or whatever), you'll naturally look to the people who have done well on Twitter. And those people almost always use Taki writing.
I think using Taki writing is one of the worst things you can do as a writer. Here are a few reasons why:
- It looks very un-aesthetically pleasing. I really don't feel inclined to read your piece if it's just a bunch of single sentences separated by whitespace.
- It requires much less effort & is lazy. It's much, much easier to structure your piece if there's no structure at all. I love 2-5 sentence paragraphs, because they actually group relevant ideas together. It's much easier for me to read your piece if I can tell you put effort into structuring it well.
- Most importantly, it's hard to identify the main insights of a piece if you use Taki writing. You should reserve one-sentence paragraphs for especially insightful ideas (or transitional sentences).
But this article isn't over just yet. Let's talk about how you can write incredible pieces without using Taki writing.
4. How to write well without Taki writing
If I could only offer you one piece of advice, it'd be to follow the style of Julian Shapiro's blog.
Julian's paragraph structuring is incredible. He knows when to group ideas together in paragraphs, but he also knows when to highlight the most important ideas by using whitespace correctly. (See above image.)
Also, don't write in an overly academic style. No one really wants to read 10-sentence paragraphs. You want to find the sweet spot on the continuum between Taki writing and academic writing – and I think 2-5 sentence paragraphs accomplish this best.
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And if there's only one thing you remember from this piece, remember this: Use 2-5 sentence paragraphs in your writing, and please don't fall to the curse of Taki writing.