I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a headline reader. Sometimes that’s all I read. If a headline doesn’t grab my attention, I move on to what’s next.

When I do read a story, I’m likely to bail after two paragraphs if there’s nothing worthwhile or my interest is fading.

Perhaps there was a time when I felt alone about this habit. Not anymore. I’m joined by a big crowd today. The way we communicate is shifting. We want information fast. We want it in short bursts. And we want it to get to the point.

twitterTwitter, the social media phenom, forces you to fit only what matters into 140 characters. By default, it’s an incredibly brilliant self-editing tool. Everyone should experience it. It teaches discipline.

Even you don’t use Twitter, its premise should send a concise message to you and your team about how you communicate and market your organization or company in the 21st century via social media.

Now, let’s be clear, Twitterization is not intended to completely take over all your methods of communications. It should be viewed as just one more tool in how you market your organization or company online. But you would be wise to embrace it, rather than dismiss it as a fad.

Here are three basic keys to think about when Twitterizing your communications and marketing:

1. Think better email subject lines. Most email readers look at the subject line and either hit DELETE or click to open. Boring subject lines are email marketing killers. They are destined for DELETE. When you think in terms of Twitterizing your subject lines, you force yourself to analyze what is absolutely crucial information to get a conversation started. That conversation can only get started if the user clicks to open your email. You generally have between 20 and 50 characters to get it right. Start filtering what’s important and what isn’t.

2. Think viral. When you Twitterize your messaging, you’re instantly making it appealing to the social web. This medium can be hugely powerful in spreading your message — provided you package it in a format that can be easily circulated by users. Twitterizing your messages immediately puts it in this social web-friendly format.

3. Think headlines. Twitterization means everyone should put themselves in the position of being a headline writer. If the media were to write about your organization or company tomorrow, based on the latest news, what would you want the headline to say? Write that headline now in 140 characters or less. Make it compelling. Make it interesting. Make readers want to know more. The very best Twitterized headlines may actually be used verbatim by media. Now, that’s controlling your message!

Finally, no matter what you’re doing for communications or marketing, always try to craft a Twitterized version. Start getting in the habit of creating condensed versions of your messaging. It will help you online and in print…. and in person when you have to make a quick pitch.