“Today you are you! That is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”
Who is the ‘true you’ when you share your bio in digital spaces? How do the words, images, events, and actions reveal and evolve as you engage in digital community places?
These questions came up in a conversation with some intrepid connectors who are organizing the upcoming CLMOOC 2016. When we join together in groups in physical or digital places, the first activity is usually some form of introduction. There are variations in how people chose to share information about themselves. I’ve looked at considerations in choosing a name (What’s in a Name) and have created bio statements (About Me). There are iterations on this task with ‘unbio’ or ‘fun-bio’ forms of biographies that sometimes say less yet reveal more. Using a ‘third thing‘ can help shape atypical bio statements. Watch this video to understand how a poem, image or object can uncover and reveal the true-you?
When it comes to social media, your bio is part of your presence. Do you reveal who you are or what you do? Is there a way to reveal both?
After trying out the Twitter Bio Generator and laughing about how accurate and humorous some of the options could be, I reflected on the seven key ingredients in a great twitter bio. Maybe these could help reveal the ‘true-you’. I never thought of myself as a ‘passionate zombie buff’ but could see some accuracy in the ‘lifelong web evangelist’ statement. With Twitter bios, the character constraints can heighten your sense of urgency in crafting a bio that is focused on essentials. Unlike a tombstone marker that reveals a legacy of life, these bio statements can, and often do, change with whim or new ventures. Twitter bios can combine what you do with who you are. Creating or refreshing your Twitter bio can reveal the evolution of you in this digital space – record and celebrate this growth over time.
Images in your bio also evolve over time. Mine not only began with a generic name (hjdw) but also an avatar that didn’t reveal much of anything (see photo of butterfly). At that time in the development of my digital biography, it was more about hiding than revealing. Iterations of avatars and images attached to my bio reveal a progression of becoming visible and comfortable with a ‘true-you’. My use and management of a gravatar image attached to my blog has also evolve over time.
Over the years, I’ve created variations and iterations of avatar images using a variety of image generators (DoppelMe, Bitstrips, PeanutizeMe, Picasso style, Van Gogh style). The evolution to using my own image as part of my bio was not a gentle shift but a conscious decision. I continue to decide where and when to share my real face or avatar image when joining connected communities. Interestingly, Bitstrips for Schools, one of my favourite ways to create an avatar and collaborative comic style conversations, has recently been bought out by Snapchat – there’s a future for cartoon versions of ‘you’.
What you include in your bio depends on where it will be used and who’s going to read it. Reflecting a media literacy perspective, it’s a process of considering audience, media text and production. Context is important. For the upcoming CLMOOC 2016 introductions, it’s about creativity, connecting and community. For Virtually Connecting, my (fun)bio should reveal my interests in the community and how I engage in relationships and conversations. For the Inclusive Learning Network Summer Book Study, my bio statement will connect to the purpose and theme – summertime, poolside, choice, serendipity.
Creating your own image, text, icons, and social media resources is a great way to reflect on the true ‘you-ness’. There will be evolutions as you design and reveal your bio. Don’t expect it to remain static. Be open to iterations. Find and re-mix bio’s created by others. Re-create your bio for purpose and audience. The more you do your bio, the more you learn about the true-you. Use a variety of digital tools and resources to craft and create in a style that suits YOU – try Canva, Google Draw, or Visualize.Me. You can clip or use parts of what you create in a visual resume as part of a bio statement.
How has your bio changed, evolved and been re-created? What does your bio reveal or leave hidden? Where did you craft your ‘best-ever-bio’?