Your Twitter profile

Listen and observe

Social Media experts often advise that your profile (that describes you or introduces you) is an important part of your online identity and existence. Without a concise and relevant biography visitors to your profile have no way of knowing who you are or what interests you? Remember, for people to join your world there needs to be that shared interest. How does a potential follower know there’s a common interest immediately? Your profile.

Know the detail

Twitter profile panel (@robenslin)When you begin constructing your Twitter profile spend time piecing the detail so that makes human sense (not marketing sense) – as if you were introducing yourself to someone for the first time perhaps? Make sure it’s not waffle and that it says what it is – short, concise and accurate. Your public profile detail includes: Name, Username, More Info URL, One Line Bio, Location. Ensure that when you set up your account you give careful attention to these five fields.

If you don’t have a website (blog) leave it blank – do not add some random url in that field.

Twitter by it’s nature only allows you limited field length to describe yourself so be prudent. The best way to know whether your biography reads correctly is to read it out allowed – to yourself (or better someone else) and humanise (amend for humans) if required.

The avatar and background

Avatar with faceIn a social networking world (here we’re using Twitter) you are your brand. Your face is key. There are successful Twitter users who have abstract images or non-face-like avatars with many followers, however to build your Twitter community and connect, seeing a face ‘tells’ the viewer that there’s a real person on this account.  Having a face for your avatar is like meeting and being introduced to a group of people for the first time – people can see you and start to understand you. This human element is partly how ambient intimacy develops between followers, trust then develops and communities formed. If you need more profile information or branding, Twitter has a customise background option which is very useful. Here’s a great example of a funky background which supplements this Titter account well.

Expert view

Julius Solaris (Why your Twitter profile matters.)

With every online profile, the rule of thumb is either you have a good one or you don’t have one at all.

An incomplete profile not only unhelpful in facilitating conversation of whatever your objective is with a social network, but it can actually cause harm to what you are aiming for. My basic suggestion is to complete a profile each and every time where there is a prompt by the platform.

If Twitter asks you for your location, it’s a good practice to include your actual location you live in. I don’t  tend to follow people who answer “citizen of the world” or indicate just their country. If the objective of having a Twitter profile is fun and personal that may be relevant, but if you actually value Twitter as a great tool to exchange timely and relevant information, that is not the case.

Most people suggest having a customized background with your picture and other information. On one hand that may indeed be helpful, however on the other hand sometimes not and I’ve witnessed incredible abuses of the latter, with extremely flashy adaptations. When in doubt leave it as it is or choose simple backgrounds that facilitate reading of your tweets. Noise is not a good thing.

Your twitter name is the most important aspect of your profile management. Every time (100%) you start with a funny name, you will end up changing it causing a lot of distress for your followers. That happens for two main reasons:

  • Firstly, because most of us start using Twitter as a fun tool, then they discover that it is actually more serious than that. Therefore, chatting with your boss as @thecooldrunk becomes immediately irrelevant.
  • Secondly, there are more and more Twitter events which use name tags with your Twitter name on it. It’s not appropriate to mingle and meeting new people as @lonelycreep.

Lastly, another key point in choosing your Twitter name is to keep it short so that when people need to @reply you they don’t waste much of their precious 140 (letter characters) real estate. Again, as a rule of thumb variations of your first name with initials of your surname are fine. @NameSurname is also fine provided you do not have a very long name.

[with thanks to Julius Solaris]

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3 thoughts on “Your Twitter profile

  1. Good writeup. I’d argue that the iPhone location is useless. How many people know their x&y coordinates? City name works best, country is good too.

    Thanks for the food for thought. =)

  2. Thanks Jason,

    I agree with your iPhone sentiment – I see no location value either.

    I would say that location is mildly interesting (to me anyway) and provides more meaning to that Twitter persona – kinda like reading a verbal accent ;-)

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