The Inks Dam, the smallest in the world, blocks the Colorado River. It’s about 100ft tall, 1500ft wide. It blocks off enough water for 30 small lakes/ponds where there are fisheries and provides the surrounding area with 295MW a year – enough to power hundreds of surrounding houses. The Inks dam, despite being small, brings with it energy and sustenance. My worst enemy is the closed Instagram profile… especially when it’s a person I’m emotionally invested in. Without access to pictures, all I have is the bio to decipher their entire personality. Likewise, even those with open profiles have bios that match the description of their personality. Their own little yearbook quote is available to everyone year-round. So rarely does a bio do a person justice, with so little space it’s hard. Still, the Inks Dam, with its small frame, carries more than its weight.
Does a Bio Really Matter If I Have An Open Profile?
Yes! Obviously! There is no lack of space for someone to justify or explain their personality online. Would you ever ask “Are there enough Instagram posts?”, “Haven’t I made enough TikToks?”, or “Should I stop cutting my hair?” There is a never-ending space for you to publish quality media, so why limit yourself in any capacity? It’s a perfect opportunity to show how you can write about yourself in a sharp, quick, and witty way with such a little frame. It’s a great way to embellish yourself without being too flashy. Obviously, a bio doesn’t need to be funny or witty. So many users put Bible or Quranic passages in their bios. A lot of people add an inspirational quote.
Usually, the first thing you see on someone’s profile is their bio and their profile picture. People often maintain their profile picture and change it when there’s a sexier/more flattering/up-to-date picture of themselves. The same mentality should apply to bios. When going through a new life phase or wanting a change in scenery, the bio should be updated. Putting something more serious or spiritual in your bio sets the stage for the rest of your profile and demonstrates to viewers what kind of person you are. Wanting to be funnier or light-hearted garners different reactions from viewers and sets a different tone for your page. You don’t have to make a funny bio for a funny page, but keep in mind what you put does demonstrate at least a frame of your personality.
The Power of The Pen
With the combination of video, photo, and written media on Instagram, there is at least some expectation to use all three. Photos that have a caption beneath it are the ones most discussed. Not adding a caption doesn’t clarify to the viewer what is going on in the picture – unless it’s obvious. Well-thought, clever captions get more interactions than ones that don’t. Why wouldn’t the same rule apply to your bio, when that’s supposed to briefly explain your personality? A lackluster bio reflects a lackluster person. It seems small but really acts as the cherry on top of an otherwise compelling Instagram.
Build Your Own Bio
I see so many bios that aren’t the result of the user’s own creativity or expression but what seems like a Google search for “best bios”. Everyone has some capacity to be creative and come up with their own description of themselves. I know the feeling of when you’re put on the spot to describe yourself and suddenly your brain is blank, but there is ample time for you to come up with something to say about yourself. When you’re not thinking about what to describe yourself as, then inspiration will come.
Bios also are a great spot to give shout-outs to brands and your collaborators, so it could just be a space to give them a nod. If you create your own caption, you can include them in a way that is distinctly you. Hopefully, brands will want to do partnerships with you because of the kind of person you are/present yourself as online. The bio is another way to show that part of yourself that brands and collaborators want to see more of.
The Bio, Philosophically
Every time I’m forced to describe myself I have to face the conclusion that the self doesn’t exist. I can’t really say I’m a kind person, because then I’d have to define kind, and what if my definition of kind isn’t someone else’s? Isn’t “kind” made up of characteristics of doing “kind” things? So if I act on these “kind” actions only 10 percent of the time, am I kind then? Fifty percent? Then we’d also have to define “kind actions” which would be a whole other chase and another philosophical discussion on morality. It would be never ending.
A lot of the characteristics that we attribute to ourselves are made up of actions we’ve done to prove that we’re some quality or our physical appearance. For example, I would describe myself as white, but again, this plays into societal roles. Where does “white” begin and “person of color” end? I have Arab friends with skin lighter than mine, with more “caucasian” features than I. I can define myself as attractive, but that’s totally subjective. Appearance doesn’t really define a person but can clue others about the treatment they might’ve received in their life or where they’re from. But does this really make up the self?
The way you represent yourself reflects in the bio. The rest of the Instagram page does the same thing. The whole online persona is a way of us reflecting on the self and how the self presents for other people. The Instagram bio is just the first 150 characters of doing so.
Featured Image by Erik Lucatero of UNSPLASH.COM