• Ed Fraser

Building a Better Bio


The Instagram bio: a significant, overthought, personal teaser-trailer used to give strangers and potential followers a sense of who you are and what you do. Some keep it straight to the point and informative, while others think of bios as resumes, listing all their athletic or scholastic accomplishments alongside innocent-looking emojis to try and offset their vanity. Alongside the narcissists are the armchair philosophers, copy and pasting quotes from BrainyQuote by everyone from Aristotle to Einstein. Most perplexing of all is the ghost poster, who decides to provide only their name, or sometimes nothing at all. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, with all of them revealing to prospective followers what you’re like and how you intend to enhance their social media experience.

The storied history of the bio dates back to the early days of Myspace and has since expanded into a significant aspect of every social media platform. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all provide the option for people to create a bio, and users have taken full advantage of it.

The first strategy employed by the vast majority of people is the safest bet if your goal is to minimize judgement but not ideal to maximize followers. Listing your school, neighbourhood, or city is good if your goal is to garner local followers, but not the correct strategy if you want to attract a more diverse audience than just the people at your school.

If you’re a self-absorbed shmuck with ambitions to become Instagram famous, then this next approach is for you. Putting your accomplishments in your bio is a sure-fire way to attract and impress your adoring fans. The most pretentious but least intimidating bio-technique is the quote approach. Book excerpts, movie lines, or idioms are the most common forms. Utilizing this technique can highlight your worldliness or vast knowledge of Akon lyrics, but lacks any personal connection, leaving the person viewing your profile confused about who you are, but nonetheless impressed.

One of the most common styles is the blank slate. Used by Twitter-traumatized grandmothers and Facebook freshman alike, this method leaves your personal description empty, motivating people to pry deeper into your personal life in an effort to try and uncover more about your enigmatic personality. However, not everyone has the requisite Nick Cage-in-National-Treasure level of curiosity, and they simply will not care, with the bluntness of your bio being off-putting.

There are many different options and techniques when creating your bio. A good way to think about the efficacy of it is if it was said at a party. If you went up to someone and said “6”4’, 240lbs”, or “South End” chances are they’d stare you down, scoff at you, then go back to scrolling through Instagram.