Thursday, 6 December 2012

Twitter biogs; what the...?

If you’re signed up to twitter, you might remember what it was like when you first joined.  Once you’ve registered your name, which of course isn’t your actual name but a bastardised version because someone else has already registered your name.  It’s then straight down to business...write something....hhhmmm.    
‘Twitter’ kindly offers the advice of... start following people.  Terrific; who? Unless you already know someone on twitter the first port of call is your favourite celebrities. This gives you confidence; you actually get to read what people, whom you admire, are talking about.  You feel part of their inner circle.  So you dip your toe and write a few tweets; really whacky, crazy stuff like... ‘I need coffee’...or ‘is it wine o’clock yet’. Hilarious.  Then it dawns on you, they don’t actually read your tweets because they’re not following you back – why would they? 

If you want people to follow you, you have to trawl through ‘the no-bodies’. You obviously don’t want to follow a psychopathic killer, which you suspect some of them are, so you need to ‘find out’ about them first. That means reading their biogs.
When you write your biog, twitter gives you only 140 characters to sum up your entire existence.  Who you are; what you do and somewhere in there you have to get in a pitch for people to follow you as well. This is tight. Your biog is your big chance to hook as many new followers as possible.  It’s fair to say that these 140 characters are pretty important so why do people write such banal, crap for their biogs? 

From those I’ve read; there seems to be several recurring themes; one of them is the ‘I’m totally mad’ theme.  “Yeah I’m mad me, huh huh, I’m so crazy and interesting you must follow me, it’ll be great fun!  What that actually says is ‘I’m so dull I have to pretend to be ‘mad and crazy’. Surely those people that are genuinely ‘out there’ never say so. ‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know, was not something Lord Byron said of himself
Another common theme is to mention how much wine you drink.  Remember when you were about 16, the big thing was to tell your friends how much alcohol you could drink.  It was boring then and it’s a story that doesn’t improve with age.  Again how many interesting eccentric drunks tell people how much they drink...they don’t need to, they’re too busy being eccentric and interesting.  ‘I’m mad me and I drink too much wine’ are the two things that say exactly the opposite of ‘what it says on the tin’. 

The one that really puzzles me though and seems to pop up all over the place is this; ‘cat lover’. Am I missing something with the whole cat lover thing?  Is it some secret underground club more powerful than the Freemasons?  You’ve only got 140 characters to do the job of selling yourself, if your choice of pet is that high on your priority need to get out more.
And don’t write some philosophical quote from someone who was interesting but is now dead – that doesn’t get you off the hook and it doesn’t make you as interesting as they were, it says I have no original thoughts of my own.

I beg you twitter users, make your twitter biog; funny, interesting, or original.  The human eye reads fast and 140 characters is not long enough; the reader will have imbibed some of the banal, crap before they wince and move on.  By this time it will have soiled their minds and a constant drip feed of crap biogs can’t be good for anyone. Do you follow?

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