Lots of people have been asking me about my Twitter Bio lately. I changed it a few months ago for a few reasons. It used to state that I was the President of Fresh Consulting. While true, I wondered if stating it in that manner would put some people off and they would not want to connect and engage with me. I wondered if the word President in my bio caused instant indigestion or even credibility-nausea like I see in other bios when I see the words Social Media followed by:
One of the great things about digital media is experimenting, so I thought I would change the bio to become more descriptive and I edited it to read “Digital Anthropologist.” The definition of an Anthropologist is the study of humankind, in particular, the comparative study of human societies and cultures and their development, hence the term Digital Anthropologist fits better than the terms above.
Of the many qualified digital anthropologists, Tac Anderson, one of my digital peers and colleagues, is a true thought leader in the space. Tac continues to inspire me at every interaction online and offline.
In other posts on this blog I discuss how I came to Fresh Consulting which was a journey of discovery for me that continues today. I find myself continually learning as new applications, trends, events, releases and behaviors emerge in the digital space. I find many sources to be valuable and many of my favorite and trusted sources are people in my industry. I’m constantly experimenting with new platforms, tools, content styles, messaging, research methods, devices and more.
With my Twitter bio I once removed the phrase, “All Hail Nutella!” and I received several requests to put it back in! That call to chocolate resonates with lots of you people.
Here’s an example of one recent experiment –
I’m on Instagram as mikewhitmore (I would welcome you following me there if you like) and I’ve noticed a trend. Instagram has a Popular page where the pics with the most “Likes” are featured. My following continues to grow well, but I’ve not had any pics hit the Popular page yet. That’s not a big deal, but I wondered what type of pics would make the Popular page. I post pics of various things, family shots, our baby, cool pics I find via other sources, even did a contest of “what is this a photo of” and some other types. I then had the thought to try something different.
With her permission I asked my very stunning niece if I could post some pics of her on my Instagram account (again, another great reason to follow me there…) to see if I would get more Likes. Again, just an experiment.
To make a long blog post shorter, the conclusion was that no, posting a handful of pics of my niece did not dramatically have an effect on my follower growth or my Likes, but I did find out something else – and this is consistent on Twitter as well: being perceived as a real person behind the account does have a positive affect.
When I posted her pics I said “this is my niece.” I never said, “Oh, this is me!” Big difference. The pics that I get the most Likes of are the ones that are appealing as photo art (okay) but, even better, are the ones that show I’m just an average guy. I posted a picture this morning of some Bellevue buildings in the morning sun and that one shot might be the most popular one I’ve taken so far.
I’ve seen others on Instagram posing as someone they are not. Once they are discovered or they admit to not being the person they are ridiculed, unfollowed and disliked.
There’s all kinds of great data and conclusions I can make and use with clients from these simple experiments. I’ve found that the principle of being human in digital media consistently provides tremendous value.
My recommendations to you would be:
- Put a pic of you in your profile. Generally, people want to connect with people, not a logo, not a model, but a person.
- Make your content reflect your humanity – yes, even if you are a company. (Unless you’re a company that has no people working for it.)
- Share the real you in your content. Yes, I share work-related content occasionally and you will too. It’s a matter of experimenting and finding the right balance for your audience.
- You will lose followers and you will gain followers. So what? Don’t sweat it. I call it “optimization” and those who want to engage and follow will.
- Not everyone is alike – we’re not all clones like Storm Troopers from Star Wars. People will react and respond in unique ways. Experiment with different content ideas and have fun with it.
And that, my friends, is part of what I do as a Digital Anthropologist.