Changing your Twitter profile = creating a new identity


Yesterday I updated my Twitter profile after not having changed it for well over a year. The image and words are now:

Futurist/ Entrepreneur/ Keynote Speaker/ Author and contributor to global brain. A visual slice of my neural activity:

In my keynotes on social media and success in a connected world I tell the audience that how you are seen online IS your identity. In our social media profiles we can select just an image and a few words that many will use to form their views of you.

This means that we really should update our profiles regularly, both to express changes in who we are and how we want to be seen, and indeed to experiment with how we use a few words and an image to convey who we are.

When I launched my personal logo, which includes the image above, I wrote about how the rise of personal brands means the rise of personal logos. The profile pictures we use online tell stories, by the clothes we wear, the context the photo is taken in, whether other people are in the photo, and so on.

A personal logo tells a more structured story, though arguably is less personal. As such, I’m not convinced I should have my logo there rather than a photo, but I’ll try it out for a while.

A number of people have referred to my new Twitter profile image as an ‘avatar’. I don’t think of it as such, but the avatars that people have used online since the advent of the web are also public expressions of our identities. They too allow us to transcend the way we look to broader expressions of our personality and identity.

Since Twitter is so deeply tied to my work, my profile description of course refers primarily to my work identity, trying to reflect the scope of what I do. As we develop our careers, our self-descriptions evolve, and indeed we can work to reposition ourselves in careers to shift into aspirational personal descriptions. In this case I’ve chosen to provide a link to my visualization of my business model, as it is a far easier way to express what I do.

So: do your social media bios and photos express well who you are? Are they out of date? How can you experiment with different ways of expressing who you are, work-wise and personally, in your profile?

Because your social media profile IS your identity.