I have recently discovered Twitter and it has taken over my life. Well, it has taken over this afternoon’s research, anyway. Christian conversion practices in tenth century Europe bit the dust in favour of stalking my favourite authors, feeling painful amounts of envy as fellow-writers declared being signed by agents and trying to figure out how to get this elusive thing called a following.
In aid of the latter, I ended up down a cyber-space cul-de-sac of admirably enthusiastic social media buffs trying to explain how to create a bio without irritating people. Vanessa Doctor from #Hashtags.org had some pretty good advice, as did the guys at You Social Move. But I have to say the helpfulness biscuit goes to Pitch & Post. Not only did the author say how to make a good bio, he also pointed out what makes a bad one based on the ever-confusing social etiquette of the Tweeting world.
Head filled with their wise words, I sat down and began to draft a summary of myself in 160 characters. Turns out, very tricky. According to my advisers above, I should mention my name, job, favourite hobby, key traits and what people can expect from my tweets plus an invitation to follow me. I don’t think that list even fits into 160 characters.
But the more I sat there and wrote and rewrote my bio, the more I felt like I was submitting a personal add. You know: Diane, 40, artist seeks like-minded homosapien 30-60 for nsfw fun. Likes crystals, walks on the beach & 50 Shades of Grey. How very different are most Twitter bios?
The principle is the same too: A set number of characters in which to impress upon someone that you are worthy of being followed/dated. In fact, speed dating and personal ads have a remarkable amount in common with Twitter full stop as far as I can tell. In a speed-date, you have a certain number of minutes to conduct a staccato conversation with the person opposite in which both of you try to impress and humour the other as much as possible in order to gain that gold-dust second-meeting. The only difference it that, on Twitter, the conversation span seems to be limited by how long the topic in question is fashionable for. Anything from sixty seconds to a few days.
Having said all that, the best Tweeter bios seem to rise above the personal-ad similarity, by being at once witty, concise and, in typical hip-Tweeter fashion, hopelessly self-deprecating. In the end, my bio isn’t any of those things. It’s too long, too wordy and a little bit lack-lustre. But I did my best:
Must write or subject to mood swings. Prefer fantasy, will deal with reality. Drowning in essays from MA in Ancient History. Seeks followers for Tweeting fun!
Not quite bio-of-the-month, but at least I got a personal joke in.