I’ve had a fairly dis-congruous spike in my twitter follow numbers lately – apparently there’s a gravitational effect when you hit the 1000 followers mark that means you just suck in other people like a force of nature. It’s a platform thing.
One thing I’ve had comments on, though, is my bio. I’ve been using this tagline for years with no comment:
“Super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.”
Mark Schaefer asked if I had the best twitter bio ever. @mizdiva RT’d that immediately. I was touched and amused.
Marsha Friedman asked how promotion and PR fits into my overall marketing strategy.
That startled me a bit. And it made me think of how we fill out information on forms in different spaces.
I could just as easily have said something like;
“Online Marketing Specialist with Modern Earth Web Design; SEO, copy writer, advertiser, strategic social media trainer, user experience developer”.
Oh my various gods, how boring.
There’s nothing wrong with the second one. In fact, it’s entirely accurate and utilitarian. This is basically what my LinkedIn bio looks like, and what I enter in some other forms, depending on the purpose of the bio. I’m not going to make obscure mathematical references or pop-culture plays in professional settings – or am I?
When I write a bio for myself, I tend to want to reflect who I am, more than just what I do. The mundane details can be useful. In fact, they can be wholly appropriate most of the time – however, in any venue where the expectation is creativity, a demonstration of certain skills, and an understanding of the audience at large, the bio space – like the resume and professional profile in general – can become an excellent showcase for your skill.
I’m not claiming that my Bad Breath Bio demonstrates extraordinary skill. What I’m trying to get across is very simple.
Wherever you are, write it like you’ll execute it.
I’m very aware that my presence on Twitter and in any other public space could be vastly beneficial to my professional life, and to my company. I’m also achingly aware that a misstep could be embarrassing. Does this mean I should change my bio to reflect the care with which I’m handling my presence? I don’t think so. If I were to make that assumption, I’d be forgoing the ambiance of Twitter in general, as well as pidgeon-holing myself into executing to a specified code. In this respect, a bio can become like an unofficial personal policy for involvement in a space; the tone there affects the tone everywhere.
As with so many written communication pieces, the bio and the activity must line up. Fragmented voice leads only to mistrust.
I’m going to make jokes on Twitter. I’m going to mince words and other things. It’s a personal tool at its core, as well as having sideline benefits for business down the road. Which is why I wrote the bio with both pieces represented:
“Super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis. All around stand-up guy. Blogger, web novelist, roleplayer by night. Online marketer by day.”
That’s the execution right there. Setting a sense of tone. Providing a little background information. Wrapping up with a basic description of what I do.
I put a lot of thought into that bio, I’m glad to have an excuse to trot it out now and then.
Involvement without intention is a hobby. Involvement with concerted cultivation becomes personal/professional development.
How much effort and thought are you putting into all of the varying aspects of your online presence?