Introduce Yourself To The Internet Without Embarrassment

Even more than in real life, snap judgments people make about one another online forever shape the way they see one another. A one or two-sentence bio you post about yourself on Twitter or elsewhere can make you seem intriguing, irritating or boring. And the latter two groups probably always assume they fall into the former.

On her blog, social media pro Rachael muses about all the poorly written profiles she sees on Twitter and offers tips and pitfalls to keep in mind. The advice applies not only to social networks but resumes and cover letters:

*Don’t write in the third person. It sounds pretentious and only famous people can get away with bios written that way, probably because their bios were actually written by others.

*Use your own words. You make fun of jargon and meaningless catch-phrases you hear in ads, so don’t present yourself in a similar way. Be conversational rather than stiff.

*Provide a glimpse into your personality. In general, the less seriously you take yourself, the better. Express your interests, and be specific about activities that differentiate you from others. No one cares that you like food or sunshine.

Is Your Twitter Profile God-Awful? [Rachael G. King]

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  1. Coffee says:

    *Learn how to creep on people before you introduce yourself. That girl will be really impressed that you were able to figure out where she went to high school and college, and where she works. She’ll be amazed that you happen to frequent the same cafe that she mention 8 months ago on her food blog.

    • HSVhockey says:

      Hell yeah. This is how I impress all my women. I can take one look at them and guess what they have been for Halloween each year since 2006.

      • Coffee says:

        “Looking at the receipts that were in your garbage can, I can see that you prefer pepper spray over mace…I don’t know if that’s such a good idea…I developed a resistance to pepper spray a long time ago, I’m I’m sure that there are others out there who have as well. Oh, by the way, my name is Dan…a pleasure to talk for the first time :)”

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      *Based on real life, and a number of things Coffee did before finally emailing me.

      **I was totes impressed witht the creeping

      • pop top says:

        I think it’s the attention to detail that sets him apart from other online stalkers.

        • Coffee says:

          Thanks, squinko…

          Oh, by the way, I hope that rash clears up soon…if not, I’d recommend you change physicians; Dr. Becca is cute, but she has a habit of overlooking finer details, and I’m afraid she’d prescribe you an antibiotic that doesn’t jive with your penicillin allergy.

          Also, tell your husband hi – I hope he comes home from school soon…

          • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

            Oh Coffee you’re so dreamy~!

            Your stalker tendencies really let me know that you love me.

  2. agent 47 says:

    Tell me everything you know about me.

  3. econobiker says:

    “The advice applies not only to social networks but resumes and cover letters:”

    *Use your own words. You make fun of jargon and meaningless catch-phrases you hear in ads, so don’t present yourself in a similar way. Be conversational rather than stiff.”

    This does not compute since resumes and sometimes cover letters are scanned for jargon, keywords, and industry catch-phrases.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I keep meaning to put together some Buzzword Bingo cards; we’re coming in on the third quarter Investor Relations/Financial Results season… but they can be used anywhere! Movating your employees? Buzzwords! Explaining poor profits? Buzzwords! Slow News Day? Buzzwords Buzzwords Buzzwords!

    • pop top says:

      It’s not necessarily a bad idea to use industry terms in a cover letter or resume in certain situations (i.e. you work in a very specific field or you are using words from the job description in your cover letter), but I think in general if you don’t use them properly, you will come off sounding like a pompous ass.

  4. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Dear Internets,

    My name is Sir Stromboli, and I’d like to be your friend. I’m a champion nerfherder. Indeed I won the Avencourt 2003 nerfherder championships overall competition as well as sruffiest nose in show honorable mentions. I make my own at home, and feel that this would help in any relationship. Attached you will find a picture of me palling around with my friends limecat and the badger. Note that we did in fact fit the 300 pound meatball in the Bank of America lobby. What a smashing time we had that day!

    If your interested, please reply no later than October 16th
    Sincerely, Mainegreen

    • Murph1908 says:

      Dear Maingreen,

      We appreciate your interest in the open position of Friend. Hovever, we have decided to go in another direction. Thank you for submitting your picture, as we prefer our nerfherders to be more scruffy-looking.

      Sincerely,
      Internets

    • JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

      I LOVES TO PAL AROUND!

  5. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    One of these days I am going to sign up for Twitter. I think it might help me with my self-expression constipation.

  6. dolemite says:

    Think of the geeky characters that get into embarrassing situations ala Ben Stiller movies and combine them with Leonard Hofstadter from Big Bang Theory.

  7. Jane_Gage says:

    “I am an Artist. I began being Artist when I was five, when someone bought me a set of crayons. I have been drawing ever since. My work appears in Private Collections, including my Aunt Rita and my boyfriend’s sister who gave me $20 to do a watercolor of her cat. My road is paved with difficulty because I am the only one who realizes how brilliant I am, but I am sure the universe will rectify this oversight shortly. Maybe after I’m dead. Sigh.”

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Pair that with a black and white (or sepia) photo of a flower cradled in a pair of hands, and you’re set for Emo Mode.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        TWEET: “I now have a website. Seeing the work will be difficult with the 3″ watermark, but at this point in my artistic career I am just surprised people don’t crowbar their way into my loft to steal my intellectual property.”

  8. Rocket says:

    I just made a Twitter account today, and I’m not planning on following random people I don’t know. Kinda like how I use Facebook/Google+. The only people I’ll follow are those I know in real life (regardless of what their profile says), and maybe celebs/bands (maybe).

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      I like twitter for that, it seems a lot more bands and celebs are on twitter then G+ at least the ones I stalk.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I need to do that for writing but since I don’t have a smartphone, all my tweets would take place either at night or at lunch when I’m on my puter. That would frustrate me, so I’m waiting until I can afford to ditch the dumbphone.

  9. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I embarassment myself at home.

  10. mauispiderweb says:

    I just assume that if people were interested, they’d just ask … they never do, so I guess they’re not interested :/

  11. Malik says:

    “Don’t write in the third person”.

    But the Malik likes to write in the third person. It is how the Malik relates to everyone else

  12. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    That article is very pretentious, but maybe that’s how the Twitter illuminati view themselves. Saying things like “take that crap over to facebook/linkedin, that don’t play on Twitter” just makes me think it was written by a self-important, self-proclaimed “expert” who expects others to take her (and Twitter) as seriously as she takes herself.

    • baltimoron says:

      Totally agree with this. Anyone who is described as a ‘social media pro’ instantly loses any respect I could have had for that person. While I respect Twitter for providing thier services and think it can be a very useful tool at times, I have very little respect for anyone claming to be a ‘pro’ or ‘expert’ at it. I don’t recall anyone ever claming to be a ‘AIM’ instant messaging pro and if anyone ever said they were one, I would have assumed they were a moron.

      • Rachacha says:

        True, but it is funny to listen to corporate heads talking about making something go “viral” and using the twitter to promote a meeting or special event.

        I am reminded of a friend, and her employer was hosting a large conference. Registrations were not what they expected so they decided to start a Twitter account to promote the conference. Problem was, they had no Twitter account, they had no followers, and they made this decision 2 weeks before the conference, and had no plan other than “Every day we will tweet the link to the registration page and remind people to register”. When that failed, they decided that they wanted to make a video, post it on YouTube and have it go viral (cause all you gotta do is click the “viral” box right)

        Social media “experts” exist because people (corporations) are really stupid about social media and think that just because they are the biggest and the best, people will listen to them.

      • jesusofcool says:

        As someone in the PR/marketing field, I can tell you that this is 100% the case. Anybody with a basic understanding of the internet and the ego to think that every common sense factoid that comes out of their mouth is a golden wisdom nugget can be a social media expert. It’s given birth to a plethora of talking heads and new media business advice gurus (and people crazy enough to kiss the ground they walk on and praise every single blog post they write as genius). Personally, I’m waiting for the world to grow tired of these people – which I think it will eventually.

    • rachael g king says:

      This was meant to be funny, not pretentious. I promise you, I’ve never taken myself seriously a day in my life. I would also never, ever describe myself as a social media “pro” or “expert”, as the “About” on the right side of my website clearly states. I abhor those overused terms, much like “ninjas” and “gurus”.

      That said, I am kind of partial to “illuminati”. It’s a little bad ass. ;-)

  13. Exceptional Vampire Does Not Sparkle says:

    Is it wrong that i paid more attention to the girl then this article?

  14. Cat says:

    *If you’re a female, posting revealing pictures, along with your name and address, is a great way to make lots of *interesting* new friends fast

  15. captadam says:

    Holy crap, Rachael G. King’s blog is annoying … lowercase letters in name (check), little crown functioning as a dot over the i (check), annoying words like “gen y-ness” (check) …

  16. Rocket says:

    “Leave the cheese for Facebook; that don’t play on Twitter.”

    Someone’s taking this Twitter thing a little too seriously.

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      Agreed. How can one apply cheese on twitter? You can’t do cheese or anything in 140 characters.

      • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

        I prefer Bleater to Twitter.

      • Coffee says:

        I like how she said that you shouldn’t post a cartoon or non-human object as your avatar if you want to be taken seriously…it’s gotta be your face, OR A PICTURE OF YOUR CAT. Jesus Christ, lady…

        • Rocket says:

          Not even *your* cat, any cat. Also, Twitter is not serious business, lighten up.

        • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

          Why is that? Why should I show the internet my face? I don’t even want to show me my face.

          There is a face in my icon, just so happens to be not my face.

        • Rena says:

          Nothing wrong with cartoons or pets or other cute things, but when I see someone with a car or snowmobile or similar as their photo, my douche detector starts blaring.

  17. IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

    “The advice applies not only to social networks but resumes and cover letters”
    only if you work at mcdonalds

    “*Use your own words. You make fun of jargon and meaningless catch-phrases you hear in ads, so don’t present yourself in a similar way. Be conversational rather than stiff.”
    NO! STOP! use the language we all agree upon, the reason behind “cloud computing” sounding stupid lies in the marketing lingo, we had a name for these things long ago called “server side” …cloud computing is just there because no one that uses it can explain how it works on the architectural level, same with master-slave, get your PC out of my PC terminology, we call it that because it is exactly what the name implies, abstractions only work when ABSTRACTING, when I say your information is stored in a database that is what I mean, no rain involved, worst case just use “internet” at least IT EXISTS, the only words that you can “make up” are the ones you wish the reader to obtain phonetically for a special dramatic purpose aaait?

  18. George4478 says:

    Hello, Internet.

    If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
    If you’re not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.
    If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
    I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me, and escape.

  19. Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

    To steal from the Red Green Show.

    “If the women on the internet don’t find you handsome they should at least find you creepy.”

  20. Rocket says:

    If you don’t wanna follow someone on Twitter, then don’t. Someone’s taking Twitter too seriously. Seriously enough to write an entire blog post about it.

    “if you have a protected account, you’re Doing Twitter Wrong”
    I guess you’re one of those people who shares every little thing in her life with everyone. No secrets ever? Are *all* your Facebook/Google+/Twitter posts public?

    “And unless I know you in real life, there’s pretty much zero chance I’m going to “request” to follow you.”
    Exactly.

  21. brinks says:

    I was fan of MySpace back in the day, I hate Facebook but can’t bring myself to leave, and I love Google + even though there’s not much happening there. I jump on every social media bandwagon, yet I’ve never had a Twitter account. I really never knew why I hated it, I just knew I hated it.

    NOW I know why I hate it.

  22. brinks says:

    “Pretty much the only thing that matters here (other than just having one – no eggs, please!) – is it a REAL picture? And yes, I’m sorry, but it’s points off if your profile pic is not actually you, but a cartoon avatar or a picture of something like scenery”

    Whoops.

  23. akronharry says:

    Social Media Pro? Self proclaimed?
    Did you read her blog? I spent a couple minutes browsing. Yawn……………………………