Twitter Bios and What They Really Say

October 7th, 2013

Clockwise from prime still left: Matt Rourke/Connected Push Piotr Redlinski for The New York Instances Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Pictures Matt Rourke/Connected Push

The Twitter bio allows the well-known and not-so display how specific they are, in words that can be witty, earnest, humble or boldly marketing.  Clockwise from prime left: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tom Hanks, Kanye West and Joyce Carol Oates.

“Wife, mother, law firm, girls &amp kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author,” reads Hillary Clinton’s Twitter bio, before veering off: “dog proprietor, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD …” Prepared soon after she joined the microblogging support in June, these descriptors acquired raves.

“Hillary Clinton’s Twitter Bio is Excellent,” pronounced a Slate headline. The Washington Publish declared that it “may be the ideal bio at any time.” With self-deprecating ?lan, Mrs. Clinton pithily overturned any patronizing promises by her previous rival for the presidency that she was “likable sufficient.”

The Twitter bio is a postmodern art form, an possibility in one hundred sixty characters or fewer to cleverly synopsize one’s specialist and personal achievements, along with a meticulously edited non sequitur or two. It lets the famous and the nameless, athletes and accountants, surreal Dadaists and suburban dads alike exhibit that they are special snowflakes with Wes Anderson-deserving quirks.

The common bio is a staccato string of statuses and pursuits separated by commas or periods. Often, one’s parental status is tossed in, particularly by guys who look to want public credit score for fatherhood (“Proud papa to 3 lovely little ones who wipe out everything in sight”).

Then there are the addenda, the hobbies and passions and random facts. As Alex Blagg, a writer, noted in a weblog put up, these are often punctuated by self-aggrandizing terms like “addict” or “junkie” (as in “coffee addict” or “CrossFit junkie”) “enthusiast,” “aficionado” or “geek” (“Breaking Negative aficionado”) the glamorous suffix “-ista” (“accountantista”) or the “super-heroic” tag of “guy” or “girl” (“war reporter dude,” “hedge fund girl”).

Past these kinds of clich?s, the possible hazards of bios are properly acknowledged to any social-media consumer: humble brags (“For some explanation they set me in the movies”), unchecked self-advertising (“See my new film, out this Christmas”) and the blandly literal (“I am a professional actor in a motion photo attribute scheduled for vast launch Dec. 25”).

The far more renowned one is, the significantly less the want for straightforwardness. Tom Hanks wants no introduction, but an aw-shucks technique for him — this kind of as “I after mentioned something about a box of chocolates” — may possibly undertaking as bogus modesty. His bio is correct to his Everyman persona: “I’m that actor in some of the films you preferred and some you did not. Occasionally I’m in quite good form, other times I’m not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?”

For lesser-identified wits, the favored manner of expression looks to be absurdist subversion. The bio of Patton Oswalt, an actor and author, states “Mr. Oswalt is a previous wedding ceremony deejay from Northern Virginia.” (This is real, however Mr. Oswalt has attained much considering that then.) Anna Kendrick, an actress, describes herself as “Pale, awkward and really quite small. Form an orderly queue, gents. Place: almost certainly by the food.” (Ms. Kendrick’s wan diminutiveness did not avoid GQ from featuring her in a semi-clothed photo shoot.)

And in a deft collaboration, Jason Bateman’s reads “Friend of Will Arnett’s” his former “Arrested Development” co-star’s is “Jason Bateman’s sponsor.”

Rob Delaney, a comic who has amassed a massive Twitter subsequent, is so steeped in its planet that his bio is a parody of bios: “Comedian, Writer, 6’3 217 lbs. Preorder my guide, Rob Delaney: Mother. Spouse. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.” The title arrives from a tweet of his from July 8, 2012, which resonated with his followers, getting far more than 3,000 retweets.

When he joined, he basically listed his profession (“Because no one knew who I was, and I was soliciting function on Twitter,” he explained in a phone job interview) and fat, “because it is irrelevant to my occupation, and bodies make men and women truly feel not comfortable, or at the very least mine does.”

Mr. Delaney had opinions about other people’s Twitter bios. “I recognize the urge to have men and women see other sides of you, notably for superstars,” he stated. “But when a significant league pitcher puts in ‘barbecue enthusiast’ or ‘astronomer,’ I’m like, ‘I don’t care: you are a pitcher.’ When men and women try out to allow everybody know just how scrumptious and multifaceted they are, I feel that’s silly.”

And but the revolving billboard that is a superstar Twitter bio in offer method can make 1 value civilians’ makes an attempt at subtlety. See Girl Gaga’s capitalized essential: “Buy my new solitary ‘Applause’ and pre-get my album ‘Artpop’ right here now!” The cannier mix self-marketing with a more personal message, as does Twitter’s most common user, Justin Bieber: “#Imagine is on iTunes and in retailers around the world! — So significantly love for the enthusiasts … you are always there for me and I will constantly be there for you. Significantly love. Many thanks.”

The cleverest, although, discover a way to refer to on their own within the grammar of Twitter (Taylor Swift, quoting her own lyrics from the song “22”: “Happy. Free. Baffled. Lonely. At the exact same time.”). Then there is the enigmatic vacant bio, like that favored by the usually loquacious Kanye West, suggesting an outsize personality that cannot be limited.

Not incredibly, literary writers on Twitter are likely to get to for linguistic virtuosity or allusiveness. The bio of Elif Batuman, a journalist and essayist, is “Like Dostoevsky, I wrote a guide called The Possessed. Mine is shorter.” But Joyce Carol Oates, probably recognizing the bio’s inadequacy for her sprawling oeuvre, just writes “Author.”

Politicians typically stick to sq. pronouncements about their work and people, sometimes with an of-the-people nod to their hometown sports staff (“Go Pack Go!” concludes Paul Ryan’s bio Samantha Power’s concludes “member of @RedSox Nation”). Athletes, too, offer considerably less leisure than 1 might hope for, whether or not out of worry of offending corporate homeowners and sponsors or a deficiency of verbal panache.

There are also the earnest, non secular or philosophical bios, adult-yearbook quotations that try to say one thing profound about modern society or the universe. These assortment from the sober (Ann Curry’s “Journalism is an act of faith in the future”) to those of diminished gravity (Paris Hilton: “Living Lifestyle to the Fullest!”).

Among the expert set, words conveying internationalism, this kind of as “nomad,” recur at a substantial charge, as in Deepak Chopra’s one-term place of “Global.”

Possibly the most common bio disclaimer is “Views are my very own,” to differentiate amongst one’s tweets and one’s employer. As Forbes pointed out, these kinds of a qualification serves no legal function. But it is ripe for parody in bios like that in a discontinued account for Darth Vader, who, like any media-savvy Twitter user, favors household over function: “Community Manager for Sith Lord but tweets are my own. Asthmatic. Father to two rambunctious Jedis. Adore scrapbooking, Beyonc? and galactic domination.”

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