Your Bio

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Updated January 28, 2020
Using Twitter

Your Twitter bio serves to give people a reason to follow you. It’s common to mention where you currently work and where you’ve worked in the past. You can list these companies in plain text or, if the company you work for is lesser known, @mention them. In most cases, it’s a good idea to give people a sneak peek on the kind of tweets they might expect if they were to follow you.

caution Try not to be self-aggrandizing—watch out for words that make people cringe: “thought leader,” “provocateur,” “innovator,” or “contrarian.” Often a one-liner on the type of work you do and what interests you will be more effective than those cliches. Use the link section of your bio to link to your company’s website, personal website, online portfolio (i.e. Dribbble), or your newsletter subscription page.

A Twitter bio can signal which professional community you belong to or the corner of Twitter you inhabit (like “Design Twitter” (#designtwitter), “History Twitter (#twitterstorians),” or “Black Tech Twitter” (#BlackTechTwitter). Different corners of Twitter or Twitter “communities” have different Twitter bio conventions, for example:

  • Members of “Writer Twitter” will include the books they’ve written or where their bylines are featured online (like @IjeomaOluo or @CherylStrayed)

  • Members of “VC Twitter” will include the investment firm they work for and a list of their investments (like @BrianNorgard or @bgurley)

Here are a few other conventions to keep in mind:

  • Users sometimes disclose their significant other and tag them, often mutually (like couple @briannekimmel and @andrewchen) as a way of supporting each other’s work.

  • Some people choose to display their preferred pronouns: (She/Her, He/Him, They/Them).

  • It’s common to add the phrase “Views my own” to the end of a bio. This denotes your tweets and thoughts are not reflective of the affiliations you may have mentioned. You may also see the phrase, “Retweets are not endorsements.”

Anonymous Accounts

Sparking conversations in real life is different from doing so on Twitter. The results are magnified; saying something that resonates with your group of friends is different from saying the same on Twitter and having it spread—liked, RTd, and commented on—by tens of thousands of people.

For the most part, using Twitter is an asymmetric risk. Posting is generally low-effort and will yield few responses or nothing at all. On the other hand, if an idea you share is embraced, you might get thousands of comments and a host of new followers. Enough of this over time, as the community around your tweets grows, leads to new relationships and potentially being viewed as someone to follow. On the flip side, on a platform where people can be equally compelled to engage with positive and negative, and someone disagreeing with you can lead to Twitter mobbing.

Anonymous accounts provide a viable solution; they allow you to express yourself freely without any of the potential downside. However, none of these benefits of Twitter are gained if you shrink under the pressure and anxiety of potentially being called out and opt, instead, for an anonymous account. To a lesser extent, this is also true of having a private account. Posting as yourself is often the best way to establish an online presence that helps you meet others and learn about opportunities. Test out saying things under your own name and owning your opinions and ideas. Without this skin in the game, you won’t be afforded any of the upsides of being on the platform.

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