Cut the Fluff for a Better Twitter Bio

Susan Hall

In a post at BNET, writer Jeff Hayden mentions that while trying to find a subject-matter expert to help with a potential blog post, he found a wealth of bad bios on Twitter.


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That prompted him to write the post, "8 Words That Should Never Appear in Your Twitter Bio." I think it's safe to say these words should never appear in any bio anywhere. Most of them fall under that old rule for writing: show, don't tell. As LinkedIn spokeswoman Lindsey Pollack wrote about useless buzzwords such as "motivated" and "innovative":

Phrases like "extensive experience" and "proven track record" can appear empty to a potential employer and may do more harm than good when you include them in your profile or resume. ... Include meaningful phrases that apply specifically to highlights you've achieved in your career.

The rest sound important, but don't really mean anything. Patrick Gray, president of Prevoyance Group, a strategy consulting company in Charlotte, N.C., has said of such language:

There's a thieves code in the corporate world: "I'll use words that sound important but make no actual sense and give you the same privilege if you don't call me out on it."

So here's Hayden's list:


  • Passionate-As I've written before about this overused word, use examples that show the result of your passion.
  • Workaholic-This word can have negative connotations. Again, use examples showing the results of your hard work.
  • Authority-If you have to tell people that you are one, then you're not.
  • Guru-Ditto.
  • Serial entrepreneur-Does this mean you started multiple ventures that went south? That did OK? Why not just say you're an entrepreneur?
  • Technologist-Using this definition, "A person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems," he asks, "Is this really what you do?"
  • Strategist - He writes, "most 'strategists' are actually coaches, specialists, or consultants. ... Be who you are."
  • Unique - Yeah, well, aren't we all?


Says Hayden:

Here's what catches my eye: Plain language without hyperbole, exaggeration or fluff.
While expressing personality and flair may work in some cases, if you use Twitter for business purposes plain language and accurate descriptions are what potential followers-and potential customers-really want to see.

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