What’s In a Social Media Profile?

–Would That Which We Write Under Any Another Description Read as Sweet?

Pondering how we identify ourselves online can be an interesting exercise.

A recent article on one of the social media platforms I write for reminded authors to make the most of their profiles and to be mindful that the way they describe themselves greatly influences prospective readers.

I figured I’d better take a closer look at mine. Does it read “more as a bio on the back jacket of a book than as a social media profile?” the handy guide asked. Does it nail my narrative, embellish my brand, convey the way I think about myself and what I hope to offer readers? I wondered.

Here’s what it says:

I put the words under my mental microscope and began examining them. And then examining why I was examining them. I began thinking of myself as someone entering a new tribe that I wanted to understand and be understood by. It occurred to me that I usually prefer to stay independent of labels and unaffiliated with groups or movements. But this particular type of platform, by and for writers, is different – it’s a place where I feel I’ve found a home and feels right for now.

Joining a New Tribe

In a way, I felt like Kevin Costner making his way into the world of the Lakota Sioux and feeling grateful acceptance when the wise medicine man, Kicking Bird, validates his membership in the tribe by giving him a name: Dances with Wolves. What would Kicking Bird have named me? Wrestles with Thoughts? Overthinks a Lot? Searches for the End of Searching?

They all ring true. But I’m not seeking my place in the Lakota Soiux. I’m seeking my place in an online writers forum. And the profile exercise is an interesting and constructive one. It’s making me confront who I am at this transitional phase of my life.

Entering a New Phase

I’m turning 68 soon, and dealing with a multidimensional life transition: the end of a three-decade-long career in corporate communications that culminated in 16 years as an expat in Switzerland; my return in 2017 to a much different country than the one I left in 2001, a month before the towers fell; the start of the next to last chapter of my life, the portal between mature adulthood and fragile old age.

How do I define this place? The word “retirement” sends some people into a rage. And it’s the kiss of death if I’m interested in continuing to work, others have cautioned me. In a previous iteration of my profile, I called myself a “Mother of Re-Invention,” which I shortened to “Reinventionist.” But it seems the reality is more like an evolution, so I edited it to “dogged evolutionary.”

It strikes me that my current profile while falling short of perfection – another of my characteristic traits — tells readers everything they need to know about me, with these few exceptions: I’m a lifelong boxing fan; I’m a kung fu novice and a chi gong neophyte; I’m a Jewish guy who adores his Chinses wife; I’m a child of suicide, and I’ve been in therapy on an off for the better part of 50 years.

Why and What I Write

All of that informs my writing, but I neither have nor desire a particular niche. I want simply to write about what interests and inspires me and hopefully readers, too. When whatever I’ve written and will write from here on out is read, my wish is that readers will conclude what Kicking Bird did when he expressed his observations about Dances with Wolves:

“I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life there is one that matters most,” he said. “It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail and it is good to see.”

If my writing reflects a profile that comes anywhere near that, I’ll be grateful. Hope to see you on the trail.

Martin D. Hirsch
Martin D. Hirsch
Martin Hirsch started building his own communications consulting practice in 2017 after a career spanning almost 35 years with one of the world’s leading international healthcare groups. He’s led internal and external corporate communications, brand and reputation management, and crisis and issue management. Working in both the United States and Europe, he has advised multiple CEOs and collaborated with colleagues all over the world. Martin’s strengths include executive consulting, strategic message development, content marketing, storytelling, communications training, public speaking, mentoring talent, and inspiring organizations to advance beyond their limitations.Lately he’s been helping clients by writing keynote speeches for top executives, developing strategies for pitching new business and explaining complex issues, ranging from how to apply new digital health tools in the pharmaceuticals industry to making sense of the rapid and complex changes challenging employees to maintain their equilibrium at major corporations. Martin also works as a faculty adviser at the New York University School of Professional Studies, helping graduate students with their Capstone Papers. His speaking engagements have included presentations at the IABC World Conference, the European Association of Communications Directors Summit, the Corporate Communications International Leaders Forum, the European Commission Communications Directorate and the Rotterdam School of Business Reputation Forum Netherlands. More recently, he was a panelist at the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association conference on expat issues held at Pfizer headquarters in New York. Martin’s writing, including essays, letters and poems, has appeared in newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Europe. You can read his blog on MUSE-WORTHY, here on BIZCATALYST 360°. He received the American Association of Journalists and Authors 2018 Writing Award for Best Personal Story Blog.
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Joel Elveson

Great article, Martin! It’s great to see you writing again. Everything you say makes perfect sense. My social media profiles (especially LinkedIn) emphasize Independent Executive Recruiting by Joel with nary a word about writing. Sadly, the need for green pieces of paper necessitates this which sadden me because I love to write. In terms of style, I draw on philosophy, politics, poetry, literature, and music. My first boss in the mortgage industry believed you should have one product that you can sell and offer better than anybody. Hsi philosophy was right and wrong at the same time. Writing has to have a uniqueness to all of us. Not being locked into one style I feel is best but we each have to go with what we feel is best. Being 68 does not bother you? In March I will turn 64 which scares the heck out of me as it brings me one year closer to death. “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me when I am 64”-The Beatles.

Aldo Delli Paoli

Telling about yourself is very beautiful and equally useful because it allows us to look at our life and emotions with detachment. With the definition of our profile we tell, through the five senses, the fundamental stages of our life or through the objects that represent us. We talk about us through something physical, tangible: a place, a color, a person. Let’s take that something and explain why it is or has been central to our life. The rest will come by itself like a flood.

Larry Tyler

Great advice. I too am starting a new story in my life where I will only be writing and doing Photography. I will have to revisit my profile.

Raissa Urdiales

Love this because it represents that life truly is a journey that each day reveals new hope and inspiration for that day and things to come. One thing I learned along the way is that you can always do what gives you inspiration and the knowing when what inspires you has changed. The days of corporate titles is over for me….I’d prefer to stay with the title of Artist and Writer. In the end I believe those were my birth titles that were side-tracked somewhere along they way. Thank you for sharing yourself with others.

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