What’s more crucial than what a journalist tweets? A journalist’s Twitter bio.
I know what you’re thinking, but don’t laugh. It makes a difference in how potential and current followers view your account, and you only have 160 characters (or less) to catch their attention.
While personal Twitter accounts often feature quotes or short quips to get some laughs, professional journalists’ Twitter bios should give readers a glance at what kind of tweets they can expect to read.
Here are some tips on what makes for a great Twitter bio, as well as some definite Twitter bio don’ts:
- List your current job(s) and your most recent job before that. Your main goal is to have authority in what you’re writing, and this is the fastest way to do so. People may recognize your work from your previous job, so it’s safe to list that too.
- Add a short – but sweet – personal touch. While you must be objective when reporting the news, readers want some sense of transparency, even if you don’t regularly tweet personal moments from your non-professional life. Andy Carvin (@acarvin), senior strategist at NPR, includes “Proud dad” at the end of his bio. Short, sweet and to the point.
- Be witty without overdoing it. Puns are great and all, but you also want people to know who you are. As writers, we want to be creative. However, if our Twitter bios are too elusive, how do we expect people to find out who we are?
- Make it clear your opinions are your own. If you are working for an organization, placing this in your profile makes it clear that if/when you tweet about personal issues –they are not a part of your job.
- Links, links, links. Include a link to your portfolio in the “website” box that invites you to display the address of your website. You can add other hyperlinks in the actual text of your bio, too. Also in the bio text, if you have room, put your email address as an extra means to get in touch with you.