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This week’s New York Times Cultural Studies is quite relevant for authors.
The Twitter bio is a postmodern art form, an opportunity in 160 characters or fewer to cleverly synopsize one’s professional and personal accomplishments, along with a carefully edited non sequitur or two. It lets the famous and the anonymous, athletes and accountants, surreal Dadaists and suburban dads alike demonstrate that they are special snowflakes with Wes Anderson-worthy quirks.
– From “Twitter Bios and What They Really Say“
The article points out the Twitter bio behaviors of famous people (“The more famous one is, the less the need for straightforwardness,” as the article bluntly states). One must strike a delicate balance between self-promotion and sincerity.
Example: “See Lady Gaga’s capitalized imperative: “Buy my new single ‘Applause’ and pre-order my album ‘Artpop’ here now!”
Of course, this bio feeds into Lady Gaga’s public persona. But if you are not the type to aggressively self promote, migrate these types of announcements to your individual Tweets.
Keep it simple. If you try to say too much, the bio will probably just come out as confusing. If you use a few key words (example: “author. scholar. father. boating enthusiast” for example) you will get your point across coherently.
Remember, bios can be updated whenever you desire. So if you would like to a promote something, make sure the information is up to date. No one likes to see old news from their Twitter friends.
Like the profile picture, the bio is another one of the “small details” of Twitter. With the right wording, you can make this 160 character bio shine.