Please use the sharing tools determined through the proportion button on the pinnacle or aspect of articles. Copying articles to proportion with others is a breach of FT.Com T&Cs and Copyright Policy.
Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Subscribers can also share up to ten or 20 articles per month with the usage of the present article carrier. Twitter views page more facts may be observed.
What is the nice manner of describing yourself on Twitter? I ask following a disaster concerning my very own bio on the microblogging web page. Until the final Thursday, it examines:
“Columnist at the FT, among different matters”, but then someone talked about that “amongst different things” became unhelpful and slightly passive-aggressive, at the same time as “on” turned into the wrong preposition.
To see a way to do it higher, I’ve been studying some of the 230m examples of this difficult literary genre, in which you need to discover yourself and tempt others to follow you in one hundred sixty characters.
The bio I like first-rate is from the comic David Baddiel, which truly says “Jew”. This is smart, accurate, funny and painless to study; I could reproduce it, best “Gentile” doesn’t have quite the equal ring to it.
I additionally admire Bill Gates’s: “Sharing things I am learning from my foundation work and different pastimes . . .” This is simple and serious and tells you what to anticipate from his tweets. Only here once more, it wouldn’t work for me because I don’t have a foundation, and I can’t use the word “sharing” since I’m now not American.
Table of Contents
Otherwise, my studies have unearthed 5 Twitter bio clichés, all to be avoided.
The first is syntax. Short sentences. Whimsical. Thoroughly annoying. Anne-Marie Slaughter ends hers with “Mother. Mentor. Foodie. Foreign policy curator.” At least she uses capital letters. Arianna Huffington dispenses with those and finishes her bio with “mother. Sister. Flat shoe endorse. Sleep evangelist.”
These efforts exhibit 3 further matters to avoid. One is to say your family. An exceptional variety of people say they are dad/husband/sister/0.33-cousin-as soon as-removed and so on, that is completely baffling. A bio is meant to help differentiate you, whereas nearly absolutely everyone inside the world has blood relations.
In writing “dad”, perhaps they’re attempting to say “I love my family”. But we’re all genetically predisposed to try this, and anyhow a Twitter bio isn’t the proper region for such declarations.
The clichéd bio must include a list of hobbies, jostling up against family participants: “Skier cook dinner triathlete stepfather”. Alas, there’s a rule with pursuits:
while indexed they continually look uninteresting, even when leavened with the aid of the ever-present “uncommon” hobby. The head of technology at Cisco writes: “Love art, pictures, Haiku and food :)”. The haikus are a valiant try but don’t help.
This sort of laboured quirkiness is the biggest Twitter cliché of all. I’m willing to charge Stephen Fry for placing an awful example to his 6m-plus followers with “Prince of Swimwear”.
He is permitted to be the prince of something he likes because he is Stephen Fry. Arianna Huffington just about gets away along with her flat shoe fetish, however, most people aren’t extraordinarily wacky and should not force it in one hundred sixty characters.
Yet the maximum needless cliché in a bio is a variant on “Views my personal”. Companies encourage the workforce to write down this even though most attorneys say it won’t make the tiniest bit of distinction in the courtroom.
Because everybody is aware of its miles stupid, the end result is a string of predictable jokes: “Views my own (though someone else stated it better first)”. “All views borrowed.”
There are things which you would possibly suppose awful, but which can paintings nicely in a bio. The first is blatant promoting. To place a hyperlink in your bio to the Amazon web page in which your ebook can be offered or to have the e-book cowl as a profile picture is not exactly classy, but has a savage honesty to it that I instead recognize.
The second is to make the whole lot a funny story. The actor Hugh Bonneville’s bio made me giggle: “Tweet as you will be tweeted”, as did Rory Bremner’s: “Stand-up chameleon. 140 characters or fewer.”
The problem with a comic story is that it needs to be funny. If I were Rosa Monckton, a former confidante of Princess Diana, I’d have every other cross. Hers reads: “Champagne is the answer. The question is extra difficult.”
So in which does this depart me? If I’m now not allowed hobbies, disclaimers, circle of relatives, quirkiness or snappy sentences, and don’t have a brand new e-book to sell and may think of a comic story, my alternatives are few.
After an awful lot of notions, and bearing in mind that the factor of my tweets is to direct people in the direction of FT.Com, I even have written a new bio. It says “Financial Times columnist”. Even even though it doesn’t quite reflect the hours of work that went into the composition, I am happy. It does the task.