5 phrases that ruin your Twitter bio

I decide on who to follow on Twitter based, almost exclusively, on their bio. Turn me off in those 160 characters and our relationship is over before it even began.

Unfortunately, too many think of that bio as a hassle. Something they've gotta plug a few words into. Or, worse yet, some people don't put anything at all. Big mistake. Your Twitter bio is your one shot to sell yourself to a stranger; don't blow it.

Think of it this way. Twitter is a networking event or a cocktail party. A stranger approaches you in the crowd, "Hi, I'm John," he says. "So, tell me about yourself." Your Twitter bio is, in essence, the two or three sentences that you'd use to answer that question.

Your bio opens the gateway to meet people and showcase your personality. A good combo of your professional interests and hobbies usually make for the best Twitter bios. Those few words can open doors and welcome others into your world. Unfortunately, nothing can yank away that welcome mat faster than including the following phrases in your Twitter bio:

Staunch Republican or Liberal Democrat
We all have opinions, but why put one out there that at least 50% of the people are bound to disagree with? Twitter is about expanding your network; not creating conflict.

Affiliate Marketer
Sure, I know that lots of people do affiliate marketing. Even some big time bloggers have affiliate links on their sites. But, none of those people use the term "affiliate marketer" to describe themselves. To do so, in my humble opinion, makes me feel like you're gonna spam me with your affiliate links. I already feel under attack before we've even connected.

I Tweet a Lot
This is something I see fairly frequently. It's not a practice that scares me aware, but I love Twitter and manage my stream pretty well. However, folks who are new to Twitter can get really overwhelmed when they see that.  Forge the connection first and let them decide if you tweet too much. If you do, they'll unfollow. If not, maybe they'll become your new best friend or next client.

Follower of Christ 
Okay, I know some people are gonna beat me up for this one. And, no, I'm not a Satan worshipper. But, much like politics, religion can create divisions. Your purpose on Twitter is to meet new people, right? So, why put up walls that may alienate people who think differently? 

I Follow Back or #TeamFollowBack
Ugh. I hate these ones. People who say this stuff are almost always all about numbers. They don't care about connecting with you or me, they just want to grow their follower count. You'll never be Sally or Stewart to them, you're just someone who has helped them reach that next milestone. 

So, back to the cocktail party. John has asked you about yourself. What phrases will describe you, while putting out that welcome mat? What will give John an overview of the value you can bring to this new relationship (professionally or personally)? Is there anything you could say that might spark a positive conversation? Why should John introduce you around to others?

If your Twitter bio isn't something you'd use to answer John's question, perhaps it's time to tinker with it a little. It's only 160 characters, but it's someone's first impression of you. Shouldn't it be the best you can offer?

What can someone put in their Twitter bio that's an immediate deal breaker for you? What key phrases draw you in or push you away?

118 comments:

  1. Great post. A few others that bother me in a Twitter bio are: "libertarian", frequently mentioned with "patriot" and "gun-toting."

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  2. I am going to be contrary if only because I prefer to see those SIGNPOSTS out there.
    Thank you for letting me know to avoid you like the plague.
    I dare say more ambiguous and misleading descriptors are even more annoying.
    At least those people are being honest, which does not fit your goal of expanding contacts etc, but the reality is- not everyone is "on" Twitter to be followed or to expand their base.

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  3. Hi Todd. I don't think honesty is really the point here. Personally, in my case, I want to connect with many people on social media that I find interesting relating to business and other interests. I'm not comfortable connecting with people who bios cause division or implicate hostility. But, everyone has their own opinion.

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  4. Hi Karen! Thanks so much for stopping by and chiming in!

    I've never seen gun-toting! Although I imagine in some parts of the country, that's popular. There are several words people use that are all centered around political beliefs, aren't there?

    I just go back to thinking about the cocktail party. Would any of us EVER answer John by saying our political affiliation? I just don't think so.

    Thanks again for adding to the dialogue, Karen!

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  5. Ohhh, good point/counter point going here! I like it ;-)

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  6. I don't mind someone stating that they tweet a lot or that they are a Christian (or any other belief system.) Some people do not want to follow heavy tweeters or Believers so better they know up front.

    I do find it DEEPLY ANNOYING when someone mentions their bio with their political affiliation first as if that is what defines their entire existence. I saw someone put "Conservative" before they put their own career, things they love or even wife/mother. Really? It's that serious? I tweet about politics too but you won't find pro-woman, Liberal, or any of that in my bio.

    My bio speaks to what I do, who I am and what I love. Positive direction not negative. I block people as spam if they do the team followback garbage so that's totally immaterial to me. LOL.

    Good post.

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  7. Agree with your post 100%. I dislike when ppl call themselves a RockStar or an Expert. Let me be the judge.

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  8. Hey Trudy, thanks for adding your perspective. Your Twitter bio is a good one. Gives a great sense of who you are and how you spend your time.

    I guess we all have our opinions, some share those thoughts in their tweets and others don't. However, when you follow someone's stream you get to know all the other parts of them. You may later find out something you don't like about them, but by connecting initially, you've already found out many things you DO like.

    Like most things, it's all subjective, right?

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  9. I couldn't agree more with you! Thank you for putting it out there!
    Things that also put me off are blatant spammy links, auto DMs, seeing their tweets and all are self-promoting with no interaction whatsoever with other twitters, when they follow tons of peeps but have few followers (poor interaction)...what else? Let's see...lol

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  10. You're welcome, Amber. I don't know too many people in a general biz setting that would describe themselves as gun-toting, patriotic liberals. There's a place and time for everything. I consider myself patriotic, especially since my son is in the military, but to put information in a social media bio that proclaims oneself as red-blooded, gun-toting, et al, kind of scares me. I mean, really, one doesn't have to own a gun or call oneself anything to be patriotic. :)

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  11. Hey Maria, thanks for stopping by!

    Yeah, I think I ranted about all those things in my "12 Reasons I Won't Follow You Back" and the "7 Twitter Crimes that Should Be Outlawed" posts. Oh, well. As the site becomes more popular, hopefully people will begin to see what yields the best results in the community ;-)

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  12. Interesting points and responses. I think that if a bio profile does or doesn't encourage a person to click follow, it's done it's job. If you are on twitter to find like-minded people, specifics like Christ follower, republican, etc. are ways to filter.

    Would they respond in such a manner at a cocktail party? Perhaps not... but the cocktail party is a completely different venue; I don't think the analogy works. Twitter lets you ignore conversation openers, filter out topics you don't wish to participate in. Where Sally is at a Cocktail party and the umpteenth John approaches here and says 'Hi, tell me about yourself!'... the 'Please, tell me why I should tell you!' response makes her a witch, even as she curses wearing her LBD and favorite shoes. On twitter, it's a valid strategy.

    Twitter opens avenues of conversation. If you want to filter those, guide the topics, select the information that is most important/relevant to you, there are tools for that. Your bio is one of those tools. Turned off by my bio? Perhaps we wouldn't have a conversation that we would _both_ value. Who's to say it's not worthwhile? Me, it's my twitter. :-)

    If your response to a particular word/phrase in a bio is to feel like it is exclusionary, a wall, perhaps the wall is not of their making but you own - you don't want to deal with that part of them, just what you're interested in. Isn't that the same thing?

    Acceptance is a two way street - you can't criticize someone for presenting their view of themselves because it makes _you_ feel excluded. That feeling is based on your own view excluding them to the same degree.

    I decide who to follow in twitter based on who they are. I look at their tweet history, their followers, the rest of their 'web presence'. Twitter is but one part of the online experience for me. My entire presence doesn't go into twitter, or facebook, or forums. It's a part of my life, not the whole of my life.

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  13. It's not an automatic deal-breaker, but I have a hard time following anyone with the word "coach" in their bio unless they're Mike Ditka. In other words, a REAL coach. Although anyone with "Life-Coach"? Forget about it. Instant non-follow.

    And I hate coyness. For instance, Location: "The universe" does not amuse me. Don't be so damned cutesy. Nobody is going to come find you and bust your door down in the middle of the night if you say you live in Kansas. Kansas is a big place.

    Just tell me about what you do using no superlative adjectives and maybe what you like or find fun.

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  14. I had to check out your Twitter bio, of course, and had to smile when I saw your handle is @CaveManJim ;-)

    It really goes back to one's intentions. If you only want to connect with people who think like you about things such as religion and politics, you can certainly do that. I, however, use Twitter for professional networking. And, to your example, would never say, "Please tell me why I should tell you" when someone asks me about myself. I'm usually honored when someone reaches out to me.

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  15. Joe, thanks for adding to the discussion. Funny, I have a similar aversion to the word coach. Usually, when I see "success coach" it makes me grimace. I instantly think of someone who probably paid an insane amount of money to attend a class and now has some phony certification.

    I'm with ya on the universe thing, too. I take privacy seriously, but listing a city is pretty darn harmless. It's not a street address or anything.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Joe!

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  16. I'm glad Trudy is with me on understanding that not everyone is on Twitter to market themselves.
    I'm also with James in that the analogy isn't perfect. Granted at many cocktail parties you will introduce yourself, but even that differs depending on the crowd, your mood, your reason for even being there.

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  17. I may be in the minority but I like to get a glimpse of the whole person and not just their professional side. I like knowing people have interests and passions outside of their work. I don't necessarily have to agree with them all the time to follow them either.

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  18. Oh, I agree. That's why I said the best bios have a mix of professional and personal info.

    And, absolutely, you're not going to agree with everyone all the time. It's just that putting up walls in your bio can prevent people from getting to know you at all.

    Thanks so much for visiting and adding your thoughts to the discussion, Philip!

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  19. That's a great list. Though I can't say that any one of those things will really scare me away. I like to see a bio that looks authentic, and tweets that look real (w/ both @ replies and real tweets), even if the bio seems a little off. I don't want to admit this, but I am very sure that my own twitter bio scares lots of people away: Bios that have a person passionately intertwined with a big corporate brand are going to drive away those who don't like that brand. I sometimes think that @ikeafans might have the same problem as me in that regard.

    To answer your question, I am a little suspicious of people who are "SEO" experts in their bios, and I'm dumb-founded at how many "entrepreneurs" are all on twitter. I'm sure many really are, but twitter seems to have a lot of people who claim to be entrepreneurs of something.

    In the end, twitter is like real life in the sense that birds of a feather flock together! ;)

    Sorry this is so long, and I think it's the first time I have commented here, but it's an interesting discussion!

    ~Melody

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  20. Wow, I really thought I was the only one who avoided the "coach" word!!! Sometimes, Twitter seems like an online dating service where people say whatever they think will work, as opposed to the truth! Of course, the problem is when you really meet them and its NOTHING like the bio! LOL! Great post, thanks for helping to keep me in line with my social media! :-)

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  21. Karen, that's so funny that you'd mention online dating. I frequently think bios read like something from Match.com! And, as for meeting them in person, and them not being what you expected? Well, that's kinda like online dating too, huh? ;-)

    Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the dialogue, Karen!

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  22. No need to apologize! This blog is only as good as all the commenters, so I appreciate you taking the time to chime in, Melody!

    Oh, there are waaaaaay too many experts and gurus on Twitter! I'm totally with you on that. For sure!

    As for you, yes, you do have a unique situation being so closely attached to Starbucks. I'm sure that opens a lot of doors and maybe closes a few windows. But, nothing wrong with lovin' a brand!

    Thanks for reading and chiming in, Melody!

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  23. hi im new to twitter,well laptops if i'm honest.through twitter i have recieved a massive amount of help with social networking,especially from @mayhemstudios.is so difficult though i'm extremly good with communication,with people all over the world,but i think if you dont know someting,instead of being worried what you look like,you will never learn if you dont ask?i am finding it difficult to express myself,as i do so many things,have so many interests&on the other side i am a very private person when unsure about something,iv'e learnt so much through twitter as it opens up a brand new world,plus is essential due to things i do,that i am up to date i thankyou all very much that i found this as i need to go forward i cant set up a website? i did warn you im a novice:-)but your interaction has been so valuable,i did get a horrible twet,i was stunned how a peson i dont even know,jst because i liked the sme music but am not into idolising celebritys,if that young person only knew words at such a devistating time,hit me like a bullet as i believe you dont have to agree but can have a disgussion not argue,im very oen not judgmental,you dont have to agree to get on well,i dont assume as the person i was telling you about did,it was so way out i guessed it was a young fan of a musician we both like.im not into team this team that you know anyway if you could tell me more about what you do i really appreciate any time anyone gives,thanks evalena xx my twitter is @evalena13/twinkletoes i think is my live messenger and you have my email above thank you keep smilin:-)lol x

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  24. Eva, I've met a TON of great people on Twitter. And, albeit rare, I've met a few crackpots. There will always be people out there without social skills. Don't let it get you down. Just stick with it, be yourself, and have fun.

    A pleasure to meet you, Eva! Thanks so much for chiming in and adding your thoughts to the conversation ;-)

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  25. Stopping by because I'm always concerned about how my Twitter-bio plays out to people. I try not to use buzz-words or jargon, but that's not me IRL anyway. But, as you say, our bio is all we have to tell someone about ourselves. It may not be a literary masterpiece but it's something.

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  26. Good list, all those things are red flags to me as well. For me the inclusion of Christian is a turn off (despite being a regular church goer myself) is that I presume your planning to preach to me. I have my own resources for that, thanks very much.

    The other thing that's a "no" for me on your bio is if you use "awesome," and have nearly the exact number of followers/following. That tells me you bought the entourage, and I'm not into fake.

    And don't tell me you know the greatest way to make money on the interet. You're the guy everyone at the cocktail party is trying to avoid.

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  27. snoring dog studioMarch 21, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    Not putting anything in the bio will instantly exclude them. I'm not so concerned about stating one's political or religious leanings, though - like some of the other commenters here it does help me filter. It goes to who you believe your audience is and being aware of that when you write the bio. But I do read their tweets - that's the best way for me to figure out whether I want to follow or not.

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  28. I would like to add 'ninja' to the list of descriptors that just aren't cute or clever anymore. Also, I get nervous when someone says they're 'obsessed' with something. I assume they're going to tweet about it non-stop, and a quick glance through their recent tweets usually confirms my suspicion.

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  29. I do use 'liberal' in my bio- it's the last word you see. It's not that I don't have conservative friends, because I do- but, my views about the world ARE an integral part of who I am. If someone has a problem with this, I'm sad that we can't dialogue- but, in reality, we wouldn't be a good fit in business or in friendship. I

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  30. What an interesting discussion. I can see both sides - the wall and non-wall approach. Personally? I look at a person's bio first, then their recent tweets. I avoid anything and everything that looks like I'll get a stream of junk mail-style tweets. Beyond that? It really depends on the vibe I get from someone.

    As for my bio? Well...it is what it is...a 160 character synopsis of me - the whole me. What I do, what I love, and what I usually talk about (both on and off Twitter, Facebook, etc.) I couldn't tell you how many followers I have, or why they follow me. When I have enough time to spend on Twitter, I look for interesting articles & news bits, new blogs to read, etc. I share what I find. Every once in awhile, I actually have enough time to join a conversation. Those are usually my favorite Twitter days.

    I follow people who have something interesting to say. I follow people who do more than just tweet on a single subject. I follow people who AREN'T just looking for people to sell to or followers for the sake of followers. I follow real people - the kind I wouldn't mind having a cup of coffee with at Starbucks (or the local coffee shop, or the Dunkin' Donuts, or wherever.)

    Thanks for an interesting conversation, Amber! I've enjoyed getting a glimpse of other peoples' perspective on how they use Twitter or find followers. And I agree...some things in a bio are a turn off. For some, perhaps that's the point. I could add "avid hater of affiliate marketers and salespeople" to my bio...maybe then I wouldn't get so many quacks following me. lol.

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  31. Expert. Guru. Wordsmith. Pretty. Witty. Or any other term usually reserved for other people to anoint upon you, not for you to anoint upon yourself.

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  32. Yes! Couldn't agree with you more, Jim! Anyone who calls themselves an expert or guru is pretty questionable in my book! :-)

    Thanks for weighing in!

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  33. Sandi, I beg to differ. I think your bio is fine (I just looked at it). A good glimpse of your professional and personal self.

    It sounds as though we share the same approach on connecting. As a matter of fact, some of my closest friends are folks I met on Twitter.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective, Sandi. Good stuff ;-)

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  34. Hi Kate. Well, at the end of the day, we all own our Twitter experience. I looked at your bio and you have a lot of descriptive words that give folks a great idea of who you are. And as long as you're happy with what you have, well, that's what matters most ;-)

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion, Kate.

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  35. Ha ha. Good ones, Erin. Ninja is so last year, isn't it? :-) And as for obsessed, you're probably smart to check the stream to see how far gone that person is!

    Nice additions to the list, Erin. Thanks for chiming in!

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  36. Hi Jean. Yeah, I do look at tweets too. But if I'm doing a quick glance for followbacks, a good bio can capture me (or vice versa). And no bio is an automatic no follow for me. Sorry! If someone can't be bothered to tell me something about themselves, I can't be bothered to connect with them ;-)

    Thanks for adding to the dialogue, Jean!

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  37. Oh, yes! People who tell you how to make money!!!!! That's a good one! How could I have not included that one? Immediate turn off. Bleck!

    Thanks for the "awesome" comment, Carla. Hee hee ;-)

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  38. Oh, jargon is the worst. Why won't people and businesses stop using that and start talking like real people? Such a waste! Yucky!

    I appreciate you adding to our discussion here, Sara!

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  39. Well done, Amber ... I agree. Generally, I like when people craft their profile around what they tend to tweet about. It allows people to get a sense of why (or why not) following them is a good decision. This is how I tried to create my profile ... but it's subjective and I could certainly have critics of mine.

    One other point - just as bad as focusing on the topics you highlighted can be, I tend to dismiss people that don't take the time to put some kind of profile summary - even if it's simple and basic. If you want to engage and interact with people, they need some details to work from.

    My twenty two cents ... cheers all!

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  40. Hi Ian. Good input! I agree on the lack of a profile. If someone can't invest in that, I can't invest in them.

    Thanks for sharing your 22 cents! I'll round it up to a quarter ;-)

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  41. Haha! ==> #TeamFollowBack

    You and I know someone who's big on this. I"ll be nice and refrain from naming names but that's just plain ol' funny.

    Agreed, a well written Twitter bio can go a long way. Though I do find myself looking at a person's bio a bit less nowadays and focusing more on their streams to see what they Tweet about. Do they interact with others? Or do they blatantly self-promote their own content? Those are two factors that I way my decision to follow someone or not.

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  42. Wow. What a great list. I've never thought about my Twitter bio as a response to "tell me about yourself" ... but I love it. Part of me wants to say that memorizing my Twitter bio and reciting that when someone asks what I do might be kind of cool (or at least part of it). You might think, "why is that important?" ... but I know Kirsten Wright is all about consistent... and I think that's important. Between photos, between bios, between attire, between real world and online world personality, etc. Anyway, great thought. :)

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  43. Hey RB! Oh, sure, I look at tweets, too. But the first test someone has to pass is the bio. If the bio looks alright, I'll check out the tweets. I think we're both on the same page on criteria for followbacks, for sure. #TeamFollowBackBitesTheBigOne

    Thanks for the comment, Ricardo!

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  44. That's an interesting thought, Matt. Kinda your own personal branding campaign. I'd love to hear how it goes if you try it. Why not start at the Gary V event tomorrow? We'll call it our own little social media branding experiment! :-)

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  45. Nice list, Amber. I'll have to go back and look at my bio, now! I guess the only thing I've discovered that will ALWAYS keep me away is if they can't be bothered to say anything!

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  46. And when they get in, it's like 'what's that smell'?

    I will admit, my bio is kind of generic; I've changed it a few times but still haven't decided what I want my '30 second commercial' to be. It might not be an overwhelming attractor, but probably not a repellent either.

    I'm using twitter strictly for non-commercial purposes; I guess you could say my twitter mission is currently to meet and engage w/ interesting people.

    When I first signed on I thought it would be a one-off way to talk about my business and get my name out there in another venue. Therefore, I structured my bio to be reflective of this and somewhat local in nature.

    However, as I have progressed and started following and engaging people in the public relations/communication/social media world it has made my network more national and even international. Because of this, I should probably tweak it a little bit.

    Having said that though, I'm not looking for numbers. If you follow me I will check you out. I'm certainly not a twitter snob but if you don't give me the feel of someone who wants to engage me on a personal level; no thanks. And yes, I will check your bio.........

    I'm ok with being under the radar and being a blip every once in awhile. Sometimes invisible when I don't want to be or not part of the 'A' team but I see what it takes to get there and just have to decide if I want to be 'all in' or not.

    Whoa, did I ramble or what; hopefully I answered your question. Hope all is well in your world.

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  47. I hear ya! If they can't be bothered to write a few words about themselves, I can't be bothered to follow. I've never followed anyone with a blank bio.

    Thanks for the comment, Jeanie!

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  48. Good points, Bill. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    I think the way we use Twitter evolves. I know I use it much differently than from when I began. And being discriminating doesn't make you a snob at all. Truly. I'm a firm believer of quality over quantity.

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  49. Love this post. Scare people or intrigue them ... hmmm - there's a tough call ;-)

    Best bio? Olivier Blanchard - @thebrandbuilder: "Pray that I never become your competitor's secret weapon." Now that's sick!

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  50. Ha ha. Interesting way to break it down, Tobey!

    Oh, and yeah. Olivier's bio is short, simple, but incredibly memorable, huh?

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  51. I got one to add. I hate bios that have "expert" in them or something, especially if it's a dynamic expertise like social media or SEO. Like really? Your "professional SEO" website is not even ranked in the top 50.

    As far as the ones you mentioned, I completely agree. Politics/religion/affiliate marketing really have no place but it's unavoidable.

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  52. Hey Nick! Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, expert and guru are both dirty words in my book ;-)

    Really, you think mentioning politics, religion, and affiliate marketing are unavoidable? I totally avoid all of them like the plague.

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  53. I have always had issues when it came to writing bios. Why? I simply don't talk about one specific item in twitter. Not only am I a mom but a recent advertising grad. I agree that what you put into your bio should reflect who you are. It should sound kinda like a 30 sec elevator speech. If you bumped into someone in the elevator what would you say?

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  54. Well said... all though now you have me wondering about mine...

    I agree with the whole God thing, too... Even thought I have written a few posts about my religion I don't feel comfortable when I read it in someone's bio for some reason... even if it is a blog. I do follow a few just in case I get some extra graces :)

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  55. Yep! Always nice to give a somewhat well-rounded description of yourself. Someone might not relate with all of your interests, but if you can connect with them on something, that's always good!

    Thanks for adding your thoughts to the discussion, Liv!

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  56. Hmmm, Mary. Well, that's an interesting observation. Perhaps there's something to that, eh? :-)

    I appreciate your sharing your insights. Thanks for stopping by!

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  57. Great food for thought Amber. I just looked at my twitter bio and am happy with it overall but there is always room for improvement, it's pretty darn close to what I tell people when I meet them.

    My take on your categories:

    Staunch Liberal or Republican: Most of my views are middle of the road and I don't care to be labeled when it comes to politics. That said I don't mind be challenged either but I draw the line at hateful or negative attitudes.

    Affiliate Marketer: This is a turn off 99% of the time, the exception would be if they were marketing something I regularly buy or want I might consider it.

    I Tweet a Lot: Agree with you 100% here, I'll decide if you tweet a lot ;) If you tweet a lot about something I'm interested in by all means have at it.

    Follower of Christ: This doesn't bother me at all, in fact I respect when a person will put it out there. Not everyone uses Twitter to meet "new people who think differently" I get the sense some people use it more to connect with like-minded people who reinforce their beliefs and build their community in that way. Same as with politics though I draw the line at hateful or negative attitudes. Unfortunately there are some who call themselves followers of Christ that portray themselves in a way that has nothing to do with him.

    I Follow Back or Team Follow Back: ICK! You make an excellent point they are about numbers and you won't ever mean anything to them, next please!

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  58. Excellent point by point analysis, Katie. You are one thorough girl!

    Thanks for weighing in on the discussion. As for your closing remark? Next please, indeed! :-)

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  59. Thank you for allowing me to practice my analytical skills on your blog post :)

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  60. I hear ya, on most of this -- tweeting a lot will flood the timeline of people with few followers, and the TeamFollowBack folks will flood anyway, but without the benefit of possible interaction. The political stuff is person by person -- some people will be bothered by _any_ strong affiliation, whereas others (aka me) like to connect with people of strong opinions on either end of the spectrum. The Jesus Christ-following Christian tag is an interesting one, because it's the one that, to its adherents, will always be more important than any potential Twitter connection. I would find it unfortunate if they really were losing followers because others cannot handle the Name.

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  61. Karen, you sort of illustrate the benefit of the "bad, but honest" bios... you know better who NOT to connect with. If EVERYONE (pipedream because it isn't true) followed Amber's idea, how would you ever know if they were going to offend you or not? Other than reading their feed I supposed?

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  62. Amber, it's been far too long since I was over here! Love these 5 phrases..they are definitely no-nos for me as well. I don't want to know your political views, prefer that you're not on Team Followback (crazies...stalk you when you unfollow them), and don't care that you tweet a lot or are an affiliate marketer. Good for you.

    Who ARE you? What makes you interesting or makes you someone I'd want to know in real life. That's usually my criteria when I review the bio (and I do) before following someone. I also take a peek at who is already following them or who they follow...there are bound to be similarities, but then again, that's not a deal breaker for me. I'm always open to meeting someone new and who may not be in my 'circle of tweeps'. Thanks!

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  63. I think sometimes any wording that conveys extremes can potentially alienate people. Of course, there's an exception to every rule.

    The other thing to consider is that Twitter is a global platform. What may be popular or prevalent in our own back yards may not be to our connections in China, India, or other countries,

    Thanks for chiming in!

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  64. Thanks for dropping by, Erica! Always good to hear your thoughts on the topic at hand.

    I concur with you completely. Someone with a great bio always wins points with me. The more insight I'm given in that bio, that more I want to reach out and say howdy!

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  65. Thanks Amber. I'm just finding my way in the twittersphere & your blog gave me cause to stop & think "what did I have in my profile?". The answer when I checked was nothing!! So now I know what to do (write my profile), what not to do (include any of the above 5 phrases) & my challenge - to make the best use of those 160 characters!

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  66. Love your thoughts and agree with all points, BUT, it's very interesting to work with the generation unaccustomed to social media...my experience is that after visiting my Twitter Bio which is wacky (as am I, but creative) and also being directed to my LinkedIn profile, they ask, "Well, okay. Where's your resume?"

    I wonder how long we'll have to straddle the two worlds BT and AT? (Before Twitter and After Twitter).

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  67. Can't stand the phrase "Need I say more." "Diva Girl Loves Spas. Need I say more?" "GourmetChef Loves Baking! Need I say more?" UGH.

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  68. I wasn't aware of how important that bio is until recently I followed someone whose bio made me laugh - I thought, "I like this person and would like to read what she has to say." Your post made the light bulb go on - thanx!

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  69. PoweredpresentationsMarch 29, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Cursing and sexual innuendo. At least you're upfront, though. I hate it more when it comes later in your tweets.

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  70. I agree with these, it's crazy sometimes how much thought needs to go into your bio because it is the social networking version of a first impression.

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  71. Yikes! That's a good reminder that there are still many folks completely unfamiliar with this new online world, huh? Baby steps...

    Thanks for adding to the discussion, Tamela!

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  72. Luckily, I haven't seen that phrase used. I think that would probably annoy me, too ;-)

    Thanks for stopping by! Need I say more? ;-)

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  73. Yowza! That's what I like to hear!

    Yep, the bio can be powerful. It can make you eager to meet the person and excited about tweeting with them! Before you've ever said "howdy" you already like them. That's pretty neat.

    Thank you so much for your comment, Pat!

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  74. Yeah, I'm with you on that. That's always a turn off. It's not what I use Twitter for and have no interest in trashing up my stream like that.

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  75. Yes! Absolutely! It totally is and that's why it's such a waste when people ignore it. You never have a second chance to make a first impression, right?

    Thanks for adding to the discussion, Stacey!

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  76. I used to have "I tweet a lot" in my bio as a fair warning. Because, let's face it, I used to tweet 300+ times per day. I think I am down to 30-70 now. On the other hand, I get tongue-tied at networking events, so now I will just memorize my bio, minus the hashtags, and have something to say :)

    Thanks for all the great tips you are putting out there!

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  77. Thank YOU for reading, Annette.

    As for "minus the hashtags", I say you should use the hashtag hand symbol when you talk. I'll do it with you! Should make for a memorable how do you do! ;-)

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  79. I like a good Twitter bio too. :) 

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  80. It's an important part of your Twitter presence, but so many people think of it as a hassle. Go figure!

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  81. The bio is the first thing I look at, second is if they say anything interesting/funny, and then how frequently they tweet. And I agree with the other people commenting...spammy bios, innuendos, and cursing stop me from reading further. Thanks for the article.

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  82. Sounds like you've got a good method, Shelly! Keep it up ;-)

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  83. Amber...for some reason I think we should be related. Haha!
    In our case we use this account for several things:

    1. Get to know people in our industry
    2. Get to know people who will enjoy what we are creating
    3. Get information and news, whether they are related to our niche or not is not that important.
    4. Be close to our audience (that is why we respond every tweet and engage in conversation)
    5. I am not ashamed to say: promote our work to people who are interested in it. 

    All of these points relate to the fact that yes, TripFab is a business account, yet that does not mean we can´t have a personality and get involve with others, actually I feel it should be the complete opposite.

    Since we are only developing a product right now, there isn´t much we can put our Bio, however, there is a link to our coming soon page and I constantly share info and related links so people can see what we are all about (also to our blog and to our facebook account).

    What is my point with this? Twitter accounts serve a purpose and that purpose should be important and as you mentioned on your other post http://wordsdonewrite.blogspot.com/2010/10/12-reason-i-wont-follow-you-back-on.html those top 12 reasons are in fact true.

    Another reason why I wouldn´t follow back someone, a breaker as you say: The timeline is in a language I don´t speak or understand, and this is only because neither of us would be able to understand the other.

    It was really nice to have found you and your blog. Consider me a follower. :)

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  84. Thanks for the comment! Related? Ha ha. Sweet! ;-)

    Yeah, I agree on the foreign language barrier. I have, however, communicated with a few folks who translate their tweets with me (even though the rest of their stream is in another language). Kinda interesting!

    Good luck with the new product offering! You're smart to get a jump on the social media stuff. I'm sure it will help you in the long run.

    I appreciate the nice words! Thanks for connecting and for reading!

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  85. I think having political or religious opinions in your Twitter bio (if they are strong ones) is a very good thing. It's good to be yourself. Not everyone has to agree.

    The worst thing I see in Twitter bios? "Award-winning". I was recently followed by someone who said he/she was "six-times award winning" or "had won six awards" or something. Yeah, I won an award at two drawing contests in primary school. If I start counting these, I'm sure I could have at least a dozen awards! It's too bad "award" without any specification is completely meaningless. And even with specifications it can sound arrogant.

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  86. youv'e made a few assumptions in there that I'll point out - you can decide whether they are worth challenging or not!:

    1) That People are on twitter for the same reason as you (e.g. to meet new people?)
     - not necessarily. They might be on their for research, amusement, to have a voice, to pass the time, to follow their favourite celebs - who knows - but "meeting new people" is not necessarily the catch all
    2) Some people might only want to meet "their kind" - whether that be an Apple Mac lover, a religious devotee, or a political persuasion.
     - so, "putting you off" (or anyone) at the first hurdle might actually suit them if you have substantially different views
    3) not everyone likes a party - so, the party metaphor is not necessarily universally applicable
    4) That it's a bad thing to be put off immediately.
     - Perhaps it can a good thing that people let visitors make their judgement so quickly and painlessly, before you invest any time in getting to know someone you end up not really wanting to know.

    The bottom line is, it's wise for a bio to reflect the person's character, intent and why they are on twitter. That will help make a speedy decision on whether they are interesting or not.

    All in my humble opinion of course! :)

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  87. Amber - Nice post. Agree with them all.  Why post political or religion views in a bio unless that is the direction of your Tweets.  If so, I'm not Following you.
    Other Bad Bios
    - No bio
    - Offering to help me make money
    - Offering me great (or any) sex

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  88. Interesting take, Maija. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I much prefer to see "award winning" than the word "guru". Nothing wrong with being proud of one's accomplishments. Especially if one is using Twitter to further one's business or professional reach.

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  89. No need for me to challenge you, Nik. We're all entitled to our opinions.

    You're right. People can certainly choose to use Twitter in the ways you've described. However, to really maximize one's investment, it's helpful to think of the big picture. Putting people off or only associating with your own kind isn't the most effective approach to building an online network.

    Remember, this post is written with an eye on professional development and not personal/casual Twitter use. 

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  90. Great points, Steven. And you're so right about the making money stuff. Someone puts that in a bio and I'm immediately turned off. That phrase is always bad news!

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  91. But the point is that "award-winning" means absolutely nothing. It could be an award you won for your doggy drawing in kindergarten. It could be an Oscar or Pulitzer prize. If you don't specify what kind of an award, I'm going to assume it's the former (since if it was something big, you'd surely mention the name of the award). It just makes a person seems like an utter douche.

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  92. Point taken. A little description provides clarity!

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  93. Great post. I am so glad you said the thing you did about "follower of Christ." I know people will probably freak out on you about that, but I couldn't agree more. It's like if I had "lover of heterosexuals" in my bio -- sure it sounds benign, but it would likely make my gay/lesbian followers really uncomfortable.

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  94. First off I enjoyed your post and agree for the most part with everything you said, just wanted to offer one counter example for thought.  I follow Paul Miller, @futurepaul , he's a  very good tech writer for verge .  His bio is "I love my savior Jesus Christ, enthuse over pixel density."  
    He doesn't constantly do religious tweets or anything against other religions; he does post great content and interacts with other tech writers and fans.  As far as I can tell no one is put off or not reading his content because of his bio and I'm sure he feels much better for having declared what is important to him up front.  Not saying it's for everyone, but wanted to show an example of how it can be successfully balanced.

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  95. Great tips - these are for sure bio turn-offs, as is including the blurb "Like us on FB"!

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  96. Hah! I thought I was the only one!

    Twitter is all about connections and engagement for the average user. I follow people I have something in common with and can learn from. The goal is for us to get to know each other. Clicking "follow" on twitter is like saying "Hey, I think we can be friends!"

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  97. Great post. For me, it isn't so much about the bio as it is about what's in the timeline. I always look for interaction. This is, after all, SOCIAL media, not broadcast media. Never interact with anyone? You'll not make my follow list.

    In terms of bios, though, Christian is one that is a turn off for me. And exclusive focus on business isn't likely to make me bite either.

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  98. Maria & Words Done Write... "award-winning" is meaningless without clarification and so is "expert." It seems that everyone, and their brother, is an expert... especially when it comes to social media. Sadly, expert has come to have little or no meaning, now.

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  99. Interesting analogy, Jennifer. Why put up walls that alienate people, right? Not everyone thinks like we do nor wants to feel like odd man out. Good point.

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  100. Oh, yes! That one always makes me twitchy!

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  101. Great way to look at it, Eric! Let's be friends, buddy! ;-)

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  102. I hear ya. You gotta have replies in the timeline, for sure!

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  103. Thanks for sharing, Kirby. Good to know :-)

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  104. Mkornow: Expert, guru, ninja, rockstar. They've all gotta go.

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  105. Amber,

    Done! Look forward to talking more with you!

    Eric

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  106. Twitter's 160 words to Fame! Or maybe Name! For Gain! :)

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  107. Looks like you have a tagline in the works ;-)

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  108. OK, I so like your style...very much like my own.  Grammer(<~~ ha!) errors make me crazy!  I agree with all 5 above.  Carry on my friend! 

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  109. Thanks, Tracy! Glad to meet a kindred spirit! :-)

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  110. Wow, varied comments!  I try to always look past the bio, and read the timeline.  If there are no comments at all, that is a flag to me. If there is profanity laced comments, that is another flag for me.  If there are links to items for sale, another no-go for me.  And this might sound terrible, but if their bio or timeline is in a foreign language--without English translation, that is another no-go. If we don't understand each other or have no idea what posts are being tweeted on each others timelines...I fail to even see the point. Also, no interaction is a big no-no.  Very interesting read-post and comments. :-)

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  111. I echo that, Teresa. Good criteria ;-)

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  112. I just use Tweetadder and I follow back.  I see the whole of Twitter as a big open space where everyone is following everyone else. Many people are poor with their bio but still offer value (may be just learning) I would look at the number of ties they talk or retweet rather than just share links. How many lists they are on is also a biggy

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  113. Oh, yes. Nothing but links and no convo is a sure red flag for me, too.

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  114. Nice content! The writing process enables concepts become more understandable to readers. It is further broken down as: pre-writing, writing, reviewing, revising and editing.letter writing

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