Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Who Am I? The Dreaded Twitter Bio

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you'll know that a grasp of social media is essential for getting ahead in life - whether you're using it to build a business, network or gain influence amongst your peers, you need it. It's how you interact with your audience. And in this reality TV show, fly-on-the-wall, celebrity obsessed culture, like it or loathe it, apparently we all need an audience!

So, after a few days of tweaking my website and preparing the ground for a bit of freelancing, I decided to turn my attention to my sporadically used Twitter account. I unintentionally took a Twitter hiatus in the latter half of last year, probably because I was in the early stages of pregnancy. Which was top secret. But if you can't tweet about The Biggest Development in your life, then your profound thoughts about public transport and the Starbucks v Costa debate suddenly seem rather mundane (probably because they are).

I updated my website information, had a little look through my feed and tinkered about for a few minutes before turning my attention to the one thing that we all dread. The one aspect of any social media profile that causes us the most angst and indecision. Your Bio. You are now faced with the task of describing yourself in 160 characters. Of squeezing a synopsis of you, the whole of you, your core being and identity, into the shortest sentence possible.

It's the internet equivalent of being in a job interview and being asked 'So, tell us a bit about yourself'. You want to appear witty, intelligent and interesting whilst giving factual information on who you are and what you do. You want to say 'Follow Me', but appear cool and nonchalant, as if to add '...or not, whatever.'

Some people opt for the simple, straight-forward approach of listing their many 'hats'. For example 'Wife, mother, PR specialist and keen chef'. It does the job, it tells us what you do, it might even give us a glimpse of your interests, which is great if I'm looking to follow someone with similar hobbies. Does it show us your personality? Does it tell us who you really are? Maybe.

If it's a business account, you'll use it as an opportunity to promote your business, such as 'Selling retro typewriters to the masses since 1999! Check out our website...' But this does get more complicated if, as in the case of many freelancers, you are your business. You want to operate a professional business account and build a following, whilst being a real person.

The cool kids, who I will always admire, are the ones who give nothing away. The confident ones. They don't care if you follow them. They don't care if you know anything about them. They're just there to tweet for tweeting's sake and if you come along for the ride so be it. They're popular enough without you but often they are the funniest and wittiest of them all. My friend's bio, @KateHemmings, simply reads 'I like odd socks'. And she does. 

So when I came to update my Bio with trepidation, to sum up my whole identity in 160 characters and scream 'Pick me, pick me! I'm interesting! Witty! ...Honest!', I choked. Here's my very safe, work in progress bio: 
Freelance journalist, wife, soon-to-be mum and eternal optimist who likes coffee, crafts and handwritten post.
How did you decide what to write in your Twitter Bio?

You can of course follow my interesting and witty tweets relating to writing, coffee, crafts and post @emilydavies85 ... or not, whatever.

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