Little boxes on the Internet, little boxes made out of ticky-tacky. Little boxes on the Internet, little boxes all the same.
Oh, I'm sorry, just humming a little song that's trapped in our craniums. You see, while the original version of this tune was about suburbia and all the wondrous conformity that it breeds, the '60s folk jam could just as easily be applied to the Web and the little "boxes" that we're required to fill in each day to describe our personalities.
Yup, every time we join a new social network, we're given a clean slate: a bright little area in which we can prove just how employable, dateable and unhateable we really are.
Unfortunately, some of us persist in filling those little boxes with ticky-tacky, and we all end up looking the same -- as in uniformly horrible. Granted, some of us are genuinely horrible, so perhaps those profiles should be left untouched for the sake of humanity at large.
But we're going to go right ahead and believe in the "good of man" or some such garbage and assume that you're all completely unaware of just how tool-ish you look.
In the past, we've tackled profile pitfalls and messaging mishaps on sites such as OKCupid -- charitably ridiculing the Average Joe and Josephine's baffling blunders -- so today we're going to tackle Twitter profiles (and cease and desist with the alliteration, because we're starting to annoy ourselves).
Here are five instances in which your little boxes look (ticky) tacky.
1. When you brag
"Bomb-ass social media ninja. Killer gams. Heart of gold. Tweeting the best sh*t, repping my ceramic kitten collection hardcore."
Unless written ironically (and please note, people on the Web often cannot recognize irony, humor or the difference between "your" and "you're"), such unsubtle crowing, in short, makes people hate you.
That's not to say you shouldn't play up your accomplishments in your profile -- you should definitely mention your place of employ (if they're cool with it), links to any personal websites you might have and some carefully chosen hobbies and interests.
You should never, however, refer to yourself as a "ninja" unless you actually creep around in black duds and swing nunchucks and whatever. Much like the Ugg boot, this particularly ugly trend seems intent on, cockroach-like, surviving throughout the years. Do your part to quash it.
2. When you grub for followers
"Follow me and I will follow you. Retweet me and I will retweet you! Add me to a list and I will surrogate the hell outta your unborn children!"
Wanna know how to get more Twitter followers? Be interesting, that's how. Follow people. Retweet things that they say. Start a conversation -- and make sure that the whole thing isn't just a desperate plea for attention. Save that for your Tumblr, "Tears of a Sad Clown School Dropout."
3. When you look like spam
"27/F <3 :) & $$$$$$$$$" [insert grainy, cleavagey picture here]
Unless your future employers have a booth at the Las Vegas Sex Convention, maybe not such a good move to crib a spambot's style.
Also, nix the GeoCities-era emoticons and symbols. There are plenty of sites and services that let you add real symbols to tweets and profiles.
4. When you look like a stalker
"My hobbies are loving New Kids on The Block, listening to NKOTB, and rummaging through the trash of NKOTB. They fill my soul. I have nothing else." [insert picture of NKOTB here]
Unless you run a celebrity fansite, your social profile should reflect, I don't know, YOU. If there really is nothing else to your personality beyond your love for Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the like, perhaps consider seeking counseling.
5. When you're a nowhere (wo)man
"[Profile left blank]"
You're probably someone's dad or aunt or grandma who joined Twitter solely to creep on others' tweets. Maybe just give him/her a call instead?