I've seen both, writing your profile bio in first and second person. First person: more friendly and accessible. Second person: more mysterious and accomplished. I'm debating. What do you all think?
(Or doesn't matter, be worried about things like North Korea nukes, and ammunition rationing instead?)
I've seen it both ways, too healthmom!
I prefer and recommend first person, but polished, succinct, and professional, bios. Third person seems a bit 'off' for HubPages Profiles that are clearly created by the author. I find third person bios more appropriate on pages that are or may have been created by another party.
P.S. What really matters = SHINY THINGS. And chocolate.
Yep, meant third person... haven't quite gradiiaated third grade englash here in rural ooh hi oo.
There are different ways of writing bios for different reasons.
1) A bio for your work such as hubpages, Elance, other content or freelancing sites should be written like a resume. You don't write your resume in third person. Your bio is what sells you as an author and people need to either read your stuff or employ you.
2) Memoirs are written in first person as they are usually from a diary and are personal events.
3) Autobiographies are written in third person as they are usually written by someone other than the person they are about.
Actually, I disagree, Cardisa - I have had director-level positions; all corporate or agency bios were written third-person. Resumes should not even have the word "I" in them. If a job applicant submitted a bio or resume in first person, we would immediately assume they were not professionals.
Marcy, is this universal? I have never held director-level positions before but I have also never seen the words "he" or 'she" in a resume. The resume is neither first or third person but assumed to be first since you will have attached a cover letter in first person and that's the premise I am going on. A professional questionnaire is written in first person along with a CV or any job application that I know of. My little managerial experience is what I base my assertions.
Just to add:
I hate to feel like an idiot and like double checking things so I called two of my former bosses just now.
The former vice president for commercial service of The Jamaica Public Service and she says that a resume written in third person would immateriality send up red flags for her.
Director of the Jamaican Self Defense Academy says he has never seen someone successfully gain employment with a resume in third person.
Resumes generally do not have 'he,' 'she,' or 'I' in them. They're written in neutral voice, and the language is often in incomplete sentences. The profile summary should have simple phrases that state the general capabilities and experience, without any first-person language or 'he' or 'she' phrases.
Experienced engineering professional with strong background in (blah-blah-blah).
You would phrase it that way rather than "He" or "I" - those words are just clutter in resumes.
When managers get resumes with "I" sprinkled through it, the tone is much less professional than phrasing that just leaves out those words.
You don't use third person either, in resumes. You write in a style that would otherwise amount to sentence fragments:
"Implemented new filing system for AP department"
"Changed procedure for employee lunch breaks"
"Successfully updated computer systems"
That's an interesting take, Simone! I feel more comfortable with third person, because first person (to me) can sound blog-like. But I'm glad to hear another way to look at it.
I'm with you Marcy. Maybe it is just old hat, but I like reading someone's bio as if another person is introducing them to me. Sound a little less I'm into myself kinda thing. I guess it really does just come down to preference and like Simone and Len Cannon mentioned it really just boils down to plausibility and content.
You enter a dark, smoky room. A few minutes of searching shows that it is the personal office of HubPages user DarkLord804. Turning on the flashlight app on your iPhone, you strain to see the adornments on the wood paneled walls .A masters in English from Loyola. A picture of his dog. Seems like this DarkLord804 is a real creative type.
Hmmm, judging by the contents of his well worn writing desk, it seems he is a fan of classic Beanie Babies and Boy Band of the 90s. Hmm... you wonder if he has written extensively about these topics?
Your profiling comes to an abrupt end when you hear the door creak open. There stands DarkLord804, gun in hand. You'll need to think fast to get out of this mess!
I think it depends on how you prefer to write. I tend to write in the first person because I want the reader to relate to me and my experience and less so on the topic. My bio is in the first and I think it is personable and inviting. Then again, I'm not trying to use my work here at HP as a portfolio to try and get other writing gigs.
Evaluate your goals and then use your bio as a tool to help achieve those goals.
Personally I think it should match your Hubs. When I started writing here I did mostly very educational hubs that didn't have too much of "me" in there so I chose to write my profile in third person as it seemed more professional, less personal. Now I write Hubs that can fit very much in both categories so I am contemplating changing it... but anyway.... like I said, if your Hubs are mostly personal accounts, poetry, blogs, or that sort of thing you're probably better off with first person. If they're technical manuals - third person might do you better. Good luck choosing!
I prefer first person for the reason that Simone said. It's clearly created by the author so, to me, reading a bio on here in third person is sort of like hearing a person talk about themselves in third person. it's weird. Of course, I'm a hubber so I know who writes the bios. Someone visiting from outside the site may not know that is the case...
Other than letting the reader know I'm male, I use no-person. And I agree with Simone about shiny things. And I don't even aim my page at fellow Hubbers, but at visiting outsiders.
I think what feels best for you! I like to read when a person is writing in the first person. It makes me feel like I can relate to the person, and understand more that they are a human being.
I prefer first person in order to engage directly with the unfortunate browser.
If you write a profile bio about you that really praises you and your (writing) work... and it's written in first person people may think you are gloating, that you think you are all that, and are not really a good writer. If you do it in third person you become more credible and more believable. Like it's better if someone says you are a great writer than you tell others you are a great writer.
A Hub Pages profile is like an author bio... and if you look at books author bio's are always in third person.
Mine is in first person. I didn't feel comfy writing it in third person because to me, it felt too stiff and formal that way. It just didn't seem like a good "fit" for an HP bio.
Me too. Book jacket - third person, because it's written by my editor or publisher (I wish), and it's for the benefit of the general public. HubPages profile - first person, because it's for other Hubbers, so I don't want it to sound impersonal or (as we say in Oz) "up myself".
Not many readers from outside HP visit our profiles, after all.
Very much agree. Third person is pretentious. I doubt someone cruising the Internet is going to find it appealing.
People that visit and read our hubs from Google or other search engines won't know that the profile bios are created by the author of the hubs...
Paradigmsearch: How did you get "The How-to Guy ~ And News You Can Use ~ 2013" in green font next to your Profile name?
I got a mate to do me one in the third person thing.
Mark is a wonderful writer - full of flowing praise and some quality tips on cooking cupcakes. His pages, and pages, and pages of how to do the most blindingly obvious things are made occasionally interesting by his excessive use of swearing and typos.
The stories he has written are some of the most cute, yet somehow crap, bits of garbage that I would not allow my children to read. His obsession with people of other types such as, well best to say not Causcasian straights of a reasonable height, is probably illegal. I am surprised that a site such as HubPages allows him to post his filth.
A friend of Mark's.
Blog bios should be written in first person but Hub Pages is not a blog so I would assume third person is the way to go. Resumes are written neither in first or third person. They use action words. But they are written with first person in mind because when people talk about current experience the action verbs they use (subject-verb agreement wise) are related to first person.
Cardisa - your original post suggests resumes should be first-person. I am not sure we are talking about the same things here. All I can go on is my work in senior management (at places like the State Bar of Texas, University of Texas, etc.) and the consulting work I do with some very large corporations. Bios are never first-person. Resumes are written in a neutral voice.
For the sake of reasonableness I will refrain from saying what I really think about writers who have a third party bio.
Let's just say it is not complimentary.
But really, thanks for refraining ~ I feel like I just got on your good side. I guess I'll never know what you really think about me. But I Do Care what you think of us thirdpersonages so I might just adjust to popular opinion and change the personhood of my bio.
Never really liked it anyway......
Here's to first person.....
It's personal taste. Your profile ain't bad at all. Some profiles are a little over the top, given the subject matter of the pages which is often cup cake related. We are not creating wonderful literature on here to be admired by future generations.
Only Hubbers read profiles anyway. Mostly.
I think the first / third debate depends on how you see yourself and your content. Not a bad idea to mimic Simone's approach though.
After reading responses, I wish I would revise my initial response to the original poster and say something more like this:
Read through some bio's of some hubbers you are following and see what you like and incorporate the style you like best into your bio. If still in doubt then follow Simone's advice. Then post your bio and ask for feedback from fellow hubbers.
Sorry if I sounded over asserted in my own bias. I don't think a person can go wrong if they do what feels right to them.
You would have enjoyed the task my staff writers & I were charged with many years ago. We had to write bios for several dozen very, um, seasoned senior executives in a multi-billion $$$ organization. We weren't that young, but most of these people had started there before we were born. Everything was third-person (he did this, he did that, etc.). And they had all submitted their own lists of things they thought were important. I struggled how to phrase the honor one gentleman was most proud of getting. He had been given the Silver Beaver Award by the Boy Scouts of America.
I prefer the fourth or fifth person. "Did you hear what that guy overheard someone else say about the author?"
That one made me smile....
I heard summerberrie lived in the south (not sure) because I heard it from habee and isn't Georgia south of South Carolina? Then why did habee say summerberrie is from the south isn't she north of her. Also, I overheard habee tell Randy summerberrie can't cook, but i saw on a comment habee told summerberrie her food looked good. I looked on facebook and I think she has three sons. (not sure though). Marcy said summerberrie likes to travel(I think this is conspiracy because they both are AP)and from reading summerberries hubs I don't think she has traveled twenty miles from her house and avionnovice says summerberrie is a good bird watcher. Well this must be true because I like avionnovice.
I have written every other bio about myself in third. So I imagine I did the same here.
Bur I really can't imagine why anyone would hold a strong opinion one way of the other, or leap to unpleasant conclusions based on which approach a person chooses.
In my opinion, our profiles here are not meant to be biographies or resumes. They are introductions to whomever comes to visit and quite often they are not the first of our writing that is read. Most times, at least in my experience and tracking, people land on my hubs and then navigate to my profile, presumably to learn more about me. Whom better to learn about me than from me, which is why I write in the First.
I look at a profile as an opportunity to network. As such, a profile should be directed at the type of network I want to connect with, social or professional. So, as I stated before, how you write your profile should depend on how you want to connect with those that find their way to your profile.
For a writer, I'm without words. My bio won't please anyone here. I guess you don't like my nude Profile picture, either. (But I did crop it!)
My profile is first-person, friendly, informal, because that is who I am; a casual, friendly (if somewhat shy), informal gal with no use for stuffy language and Victorian traditions.
It would not make sense to me to write a bio steeped in third-party phrasing and stilted introductory language.
It does not matter to me whether or not organic traffic visitors are aware of who writes the author bios on HP. Indeed, as has been pointed out, most of them probably do not read the author bios, anyway, they are more read by fellow Hubbers.
I guess I'm saying this entire topic strikes me as, "Much Ado About Nothing," or a tempest in a teapot.
hum, very interesting comments. I think I prefer first person for me... Do you guys think listing universities attended, if I'm writing medical hubs, is too much? I'm debating taking it out if it makes me sound conceited.
Maybe you could just list them like you would on a resume at the bottom of your bio. Just a thought.
I think a degree abbreviation after your name would be an efficient way establish you have some qualifications.
snakeslane is a creative writer/artist and poet. Her pages are purely self indulgent reminiscences and meditations on lost love and loss in general. Unfortunately she chose an unattractive alias and lives with a diminishing readership to maintain her secret identity. In her wildest dreams snakeslane sees herself as a bastion of feminism. snake slain...A nod to the ancient Gorgon snakes-haired goddess Medusa, whose gaze could turn an observer to stone. In more lucid moments snakeslane is a Hub Pages wanna be who is still working on her oeuvre...
Oooh. I like your bio, S'Lane. May I plagiarize it?
Now I'm thinking I'll rewrite my bio for the umteenth time. When I had to submit a bio on a site which pays per article, (Demand Studios) they wanted it written in the 3rd person with writing experience listed first, then educational credentials. If we are going for the "friendly" (blog) approach it makes sense to be more casual.
As others have said, I think that Hubbers should write in a way that feels comfortable to them. I have tried both types on my profile from time to time, and it feels like I am lying when I write in the third person about myself - trying to give the impression that someone else wrote it when they didn't. So I write in the first person. (I'll have to check to see if that is the most recent change I have made though - no promises!)
I understand the awkward feeling third-person can give you. But I'm not comfortable in first-person for a bio. If it were a blog, I'd feel a bit differently. Otherwise, it feels (to me) like drawing attention to yourself. The one I use here is a version of what my career bio said (which was the product of others). I am less uncomfortable if I feel like it's someone else's words. Maybe we should just change our bio pages to say, "She writes about a lot of stuff. Here it is."
I agree that first person would be totally inappropriate for the type of profile you've written. I think the reason we're disagreeing on this is that we see the purpose of the profile very differently.
Yours suggests that you see your profile as a way of selling yourself as a professional writer. I assume you're hoping to attract some writing jobs with it. Sufidreamer used to use his profile the same way. For Hubbers with objective, that kind of profile makes a lot of sense.
Mine is written for the community. I'm not using HubPages as a writing portfolio, I just want to connect with other Hubbers. For Hubbers with that objective, a first-person "I love to write about" profile makes more sense than a cool, impersonal third-person one.
I could write a third-person profile spruiking my dance experience, to convince readers of my "authority" in that niche - but I find that readers very rarely visit my profile, so I don't see much point in giving them priority in how I write it.
So it's horses for courses.
Actually, my profile is pretty much the one I've used professionally during my career. When I started on this site, it was in response to seeing an ad for writers in an online venue. Because I'd already been a published writer for many years, I just loaded my regular bio.
It's really difficult for me (personally) to view HubPages as anything other than an extension of that career. I've never viewed the site as a blogging venue (if I started blogging, I'd use a different site and would develop a first-person version). Writing has been the backbone of my entire career, and has supported me financially in one way or another for a long time. I continue to get new clients or assignments, but rarely through HubPages. For me, the purpose of my profile was to give my writing background for any readers who wanted to check out credentials.
Each writer here should develop a profile that fits their own comfort zone, career history (in writing), and approach to this particular site as a writing venue. And I agree with you; I've never thought of the profile page as being a high-traffic spot here. It's just . . . there. For anyone who's curious.
I can see why you would take the view you have, because (unlike most Hubbers) you have so much history in the writing field.
Since profiles are visited relatively rarely, it's really up to each individual what they choose to do with it. The only thing I would repeat is that the vast majority of visitors to your profile are other Hubbers, not readers at all. That's especially true since the author box at the top of our Hubs disappeared - the average reader barely notices that tiny picture. And of course, every Hubber knows that you wrote the profile yourself, it's not written by HP. So I do think it is worth considering how you engage with Hubbers in your profile, as well as impressing them with your expertise.
Somehow career bios don't make me feel awkward in third person. It is like the company has said "what do you want me to say about you." Even though I am feeding "them" all the words, it is really them that is saying this stuff about me.
I suppose you could say that would be the same here, but since I am pressing the publish button, it feels more like lying.
I always write mine in first person. I think it's friendlier.
My bio is in first person, but I have found that the bios I read in third person sometimes sound more professional, they make me feel like I am reading the back of a book cover. I suppose it's up to you and what you feel comfortable with. Since the bio reflects your personality, I say write in the way that you feel best represents yourself. That would be the best.
Oh yes, shiny things and chocolate are at the top of the list, especially chocolate--ummm, I'll be back in a minute...
Re the bio question, I just give everyone room for personal preference. Third person bios make me feel itchy, but obviously, not everyone feels the same.
I had a teensy-tiny bio for a long time, then went into great lengths with it because somebody somewhere wrote that Google would like that--ha. Due to reading through these interesting comments I'm planning to read the commenters' bios and probably rewrite mine again as I'm sure it's high time to make it succinct.
Anyway, write (and read)! Write, and enjoy the process of learning to write on the web and learning to write better and better. Write to inform, write to raise the bar on the topics you write about, write to encourage and inspire others to go forward and reach upward, write for the joy of it, write for the mental exercise it takes, and write for the creative outlet! (And keep a little chocolate handy…) Looking forward to checking out your hubs.
When a site specifies that it wants "third-person" that's, of course, what I use. On here it's left up to us. My reasoning, when I was deciding, was that people who are members here know that it's left up to us; and "the world" is likely to notice that because the different approaches used makes it clear that the writers have the option of choosing.
So, that's when I figured, "Let's not pretend we don't have the choice, and let's not pretend that when we're writing stuff (or at least SOME stuff) that's done on a fairly casual basis we've got an assistant or other help in writing up our bio". In other words, let's not pretend we're not us when pretty much everyone who sees the bio knows how it all works.
When I wrote mine for Demand Studios (it was awhile ago now, and if I understood it correctly), they didn't want anyone using their first name in the bio either. That stuff on there is for clients, though. The "deal" on here is a whole different thing.
With my profile on here, I've always aimed to have a certain level of professionalism, and of taking things seriously on here, while also showing that I recognize the difference between writing a bio for, say, a book or "some big professional conference", and writing a bio for a site like this one.
It's always interesting (and sometimes disturbing ) to me to see how differently people see things. Some see using a first-person approach on here as "unprofessional" or "self-centered" (or however it was described earlier). I see using "third-person" as not really being aware of the difference between writing on a site like this and, say, writing for a client; and I see using "third-person" (when most people know it's not required) as trying to fool people (or as being pretentious, or else too unsure, as an individual, to just be real when there's no specific reason/rule to do otherwise). (Of course, the other side to be "sure as an individual" and not wanting to do what comes across as less than authentic is that a good percentage of people in the world will interpret that as "not knowing any better" or "not knowing what's professional".
I don't think there's really an answer to the thread-title question here, other than to respect that when people have the choice they do what feels right for them in their own, individual, efforts. I do think (regardless of the topic) that discussions like this can help everyone understand "the other side" a little better, rather than automatically assuming the worst about "the other side".
Someone might think it's not very professional of HP not to require consistency with the profiles. Then again, if HP wants its "identity" to be highlighting individuality in online material in a sometimes cookie-cutter world, that could be seen as HP's compromising some of its own individuality/aims (among a lot of other sites). One problem with flexibility and "individuality" on a site like this, though, is that people can often feel as if they're not really sure what they "ought to" be doing. For now, and until someone from HP says something different (which could happen some time), I'd think that going with what Simone posted is probably the way to go (or stay).
Thought it might be worth posting a few profiles to illustrate what I mean.
The "professional" profile. Using the third person adds distance, which enables the Hubber to spruik their skills and experience without sounding like they're bragging:
Personally, I like Cardisa's approach which is more personal while still managing to share her expertise:
The next few are examples of profiles aimed at the community, or at people interested in joining the community. Personally, this approach makes the most sense to me, since those people make up the majority of people visiting profiles:
The next two are interesting. They aren't spruiking what great writers they are, so there's no need for professional distance. Although they're well written, reading these feels uncomfortable because they're too personal to be written by anyone but the Hubber, so it feels as though third person has been forced on to what is essentially a personal statement. You could substitute first person and it would read just as well if not better, with no other revisions.
Sunforged and Rik Ravado use an impersonal approach, tongue in cheek, before moving into first person.
I like the word "spruiking" I've never come across it before.
The bios I have read in third person didn't seem genuine to me. The problem may be because I know what this site it all about, but maybe for outsiders it look different. I still prefer first person.
Marisa Wright - majority of our traffic comes from Google so majority of the readers are outside of HP.
I doubt many Google searchers land directly on a profile page - unless they do a name search. I think a few Hubbers might wade through more than a few sentences but I doubt that many search visitors would.
So for me - my preference is a short couple of sentences in the very slim hope that they might choose an article to read. That's where my adverts are.
As this doesn't actually work maybe writing as though I wasn't there might help.
"Mark is not here at the moment so have a quick look at his crap before they remove it"
There is no right or wrong answer here... It comes down to what the hubber prefers more. I prefer third person for the profile bio... and no one's complained about it so far
I've always found that a profile bio should be written in first person, as you noted healthmom, because it is definitely more friendly and accessible. Writing your own bio in second person displays arrogance and narcissism more than anything else, IMO. With HubPages in particular, I had a longer bio here, but I decided to sum it up into a small paragraph, short enough so that people wouldn't have to click the "read more" link to see the rest of it. I also linked one of my Facebook pages and my computer business page, figuring that if people want to know more about me they'd follow those.
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