Remove "Check Out" From Your Social Media Vocabulary
June 2, 2014
Yes, it’s my pet peeve. It’s the use of the phrase “check out.” The phrase isn’t inherently good or bad; what really stands out is its overuse as a sign of vocabulary laziness.
In the past 30 days, 10 million tweets used the phrase “check out.” I’ve included some examples below, with the number of times each phrase has been tweeted in the last 30 days. Data was taken at the time of this writing.
“Check out our…” (846,000)
“Check out the new…” (178,000)
“Check out this video…” (65,000)
“Check out our website” (34,000)
“Check out this article” (23,000)
The benefits of going beyond “check out”
It’s easy to announce something great by telling your followers to “check it out.” However, taking a little extra effort to use different wording can add value to your posts. The benefits include the following:
Your posts will have a simple uniqueness.
While 34,000 tweets used the phrase “check out our website” over the past 30 days, fewer than 100 tweets used the phrase “explore our website.”
If you tweet for an academic department, your posts should reflect the tone of the department’s work. Why reduce many varied action words (e.g., view, visit, explore, see, read, watch) down to one over-used phrase?
You will successfully focus on the message, not the medium. When you use the phrase “check out,” you are more likely to follow it with a medium such as “check out this video,” “check out our website for more information,” and “check out what the dean said about…”. In this case, you focus on the fact that the message is a video, on the website, or coming from the dean’s mouth. Instead, focus on the message – use your precious character count on the headline, discovery, or point.
Below are some examples and their alternatives.
Sometimes you just need a more descriptive word.
- Example: “Check out our new website!”
- Alternative: “Explore our new website!”
Replace the phrase with more information.
- Example: “Check out our nanotechnology program.”
- Alternative: “Interested in nanotechnology? Try our new program: http://….”
Focus character count on the message, not the medium.
- Example: “Check out this video with Professor Y.”
- Alternative: “[Video] Professor Y explains how…”
The phrase “check out” may be superfluous; in this case, just remove it.
- Examples: “Check out this article about Professor Y on STEM education” or “Professor Y explains why STEM education is important. Check out the article: …. [link]“
- Alternative: “Professor Y explains why STEM education is important. [link]“
You may want to try even more creative approaches, such as asking a question the article attempts to answer, using a catchy headline, or inserting a quote from the content. You may even attach an image. There are many possibilities.