Last week I showed you that it's a really good idea to put a bio and homepage link in your Twitter profile if you want followers. This week I'm going to start drilling into the content of that bio.

The Twitter bio is yet another area of social media advice rife with guesswork ("Don't call yourself an expert or a guru!"), but let's look at the actual numbers and see what story they tell.

Using Twitter Grader data again (we have over 1.6 million users in our database) I compared the average number of followers of users with various common words in their bio. If users with a certain word had 100 more followers than average I graphed it as positive 100 (a blue line to the right on the graph), if they had 100 fewer followers I displayed that as a negative number (a red line to the left). In every case I only analyzed words that occured in more than 100 bios.

First up is the title you apply to yourself in your bio. There are two big takeaways here: "official" Twitter accounts are popular and the words "guru" and "expert" do not do anything negative to the number of followers, in fact those users tend to have quite a few more followers.

Next, I looked at the words often used to describe a user's occupation. Again, there's a clear story: Marketer's and entrepeneurs tend to have more followers than the rest.

What happens when you specify the subject of your tweets in your bio? Here we see that marketing has lots of followers, while music does not.

Another surprising data point is self-declared political leanings: It turns out that conservatives and Republicans (especially those aligned with the #tcot hashtag) have far more followers than not only liberals and democrats, but also the average Twitter user.

Since Twitter is popular with "mommy bloggers," I also looked at the relationship between follower numbers and gender and family roles. Here we see that spouses and parents have more followers than the average, while people who refer to themselves by the somewhat diminutive terms "boy" and "girl" have fewer followers.

While looking over the large list of commonly occuring words I noticed that lots of people use emoticons in their bio and nearly all of them have a negative relationship with follower numbers.

Originally published Mar 18, 2009 9:07:00 AM, updated October 20 2016


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