I am frustrated. We now have to write bios that show our expertise at something. I am not an expert at something because I write about it. I am a journalist and writer that has learnt to research a topic thoroughly and reproduce the facts in a way that is succinct to the reader.
I read the following newspapers and magazines regularly.
Wall Street Journal
The Christian Monitor
The Cape Times
The Mail & Guardian
Homes and Gardens
Scientfic American Mind
While occasionally, a highly prestigious journalist will sport a bio, for the most part, we writers and journalists are an anonymous lot, and I prefer it that way. None of these publications sport the credentials of their journalists as experts in the field.
While I understand Hubpages is fighting an ongoing battle, and I honestly applaud them with all my heart for their incredible results in the face of immense obstacles, I honestly don't want to have to lie on my bio.
I am a writer. That's all I am and all I will ever be.
What say you?
Just a suggestion -
How about writing a generic bio to encompass anything and everything? Something like:
Avid reader & researcher, journalist with articles appearing in national newspapers & magazines on a variety of topics (including health), with X number of years experience.
The bio of an expert and without lies.
I did exactly that. The editor for healdove requested a very specific bio explaining my expertise and interest in the topic.
Raggededge suggested, "As a professional writer, I have always had a deep interest in psychology, psychiatry, and mental health issues". I'm not sure why you would be "reluctant to confess" to such an interest, it's a perfectly legitimate one. Perhaps just "As a professional writer, I have always had a deep interest in psychology and psychiatry" would be enough.
Because I think most of it is a load of junk?
But does that preclude you having an interest in it? You could say something like, "..... has always had a deep interest in debunking myths and misconceptions in psychology"???
Aha! I like that - very much! I actually wrote the article on depression because I am so tired of people who tell me they have a chemical imbalance. Not only has every piece of research debunked that myth but there isn't one leading psychiatrist who believes it.
I think this is a good idea-- I have done something similar.
If you are a published writer in a particular area or in other areas (print or online) that in itself should give some credibility. Put it out there and see what floats.
I think I've done every type of writing there is to do and I've written on so many topics, I can't possibly remember. However, this was a request to have the bio refer specifically as to why one was interested in that topic and what one's level of expertise was.
I don't have any expertise in the topic. I have a brain and sufficient knowledge of that topic to know that if certain claims are made, whether they are right or wrong.
'I am a writer. That's all I am and all I will ever be. ' Lol. That is just weird.
Anyway, the main point above is nonsense. If you write for the Washington Post or the Guardian that is a bio in itself. Also, click on any writer's name on those publications and you will get something about the person. Or you can Google them because they are real people.
In an era of fake news, people want some kind of notion of who you are and where you stand.
If you find it hard to write a bio (and I did initially) I would say that it is a confidence issue. Write a few, get a better sense of what you have to offer and it will help you as much as your reader.
Except for the fact I sometimes read the most awful ill-informed amd self-opinionated twaddle by people who are appointed as journalists on national broadsheets to cover a wide-ranging topic area.
eg just because you happen to be a music fan and get appointed as the arts correspondent doesn't mean to say you have anything more meaningful to say about theatre or art than the man in the street.
Personally I'm all for lots and lots of experts - who can demonstrate expertise in the way they write.
Oh, totally. That, however, is not the norm. No serious newspaper publishes that kind of thing. I doubt you would find it in any newspaper I mentioned. The exception is if someone wins a Pulitzer Prize. I, of course, have no interest in popular music, so I wouldn't know about that side of things.
I was referencing The Guardian
I haunt the culture pages on all the UK broadsheets on a regular basis and I have to tell you I see it a lot more often than I would like. I'm sometimes even moved to leave a comment on some of the more ill-informed articles!
Which is why I now only tend to read articles by the journalists who possess relevant experience and street cred. Hence my perspective on specialists.
Wow! That is interesting. I honestly didn't know that. As I said, I have no interest in popular culture. I'm a science geek. Thanks for pointing that out.
It seems like a bio mentioning your background in fashion might be good for those fashion hubs you were talking about in another thread.
Yeah, I agree, and I brought this point up I think a couple years ago. I remember many years ago, before the Internet, I wanted to be a writer and I looked into it, looked for how to start writing anywhere, somehow. I found that publications look for writers to write on any subject, and as long as they did the research and were good writers, they could do it. This is how writing was done in print, in periodicals. Now, with the Internet, people have a different view of writing, writing itself has taken a backseat as far as I'm concerned. I also think people misunderstand the point of an article; an article doesn't take the place of "real life", it doesn't mean you've gone to the doctor or bought a car by reading an article; you actually have to go out into the world and do those things, articles are a source of information only.
It's as if we've decided people are not adults and can't decipher information and make correct decisions.
Also, too much "personal experience" stuff on the Net. It's become this emphasis that's both comical and unnecessary.
I definitely understand your points. Perhaps you can list your general credentials, as an experienced journalist, rather than specific ones relating to the topic at hand.
The editor asked me to put in a bio explaining my expertise on the topic. (My article on depression.) I checked with Robin. She said they are now focusing on bios to give the reader confidence in the writer.
Ah, that's tough. Like you said, even if we aren't generally experts in certain subjects, we're capable of doing the research to provide informative, evidence-based work.
Like psycheskinner said, they're likely extra-picky for medical-related writing. It's definitely something to be mindful of.
It seems to me that you aren't obliged to fill that in if you don't think it applies. For some hubs it can be very helpful.
Actually, I was told by Robin that they are now focusing on bios in order for the reader to have confidence in the writer. I was asked to do a specific bio as to my expertise to be able to write the article.
With Heal Dove this is for a very specific reason, which is that Google is punishing sites that give anything that looks like medical advice from non-experts.
IMHO, if they are going in that direction they need to separate truly medical hubs from personal experience and advice hubs.
Oh, I understand what Google is doing. Essentially what the internet did was allow every Dick and his dog to publish whatever they like.
Before Panda, as a result of the type of SEO employed, it meant that often (too many times) complete trash (fake news) got to the top of the serps. That is why Google punished content sites.
Somewhere I read the hierarchy and conditions that Google takes into consideration for content, and one of those is that it is a recognised newspaper or magazine that employs paid qualified writers and journalists.
Hubpages allows anyone to write. And I have spoken to any number of writers here who don't get that when one is a professional writer, there are certain rules.
1. Immaculate grammar
2.Checking and double checking facts.
3. Writing in the style the publication requires.
4. What the editor says goes. A lot of amateurs seem to think that writing is a sacred art, and what the artist says stands.
Bottom line here is that Google is trying to remove bad information from the web, which is completely undone by the social networking sites.
The irony of the requirement for sources and bio is that I will no longer write hubs for healdove, and with nearly 40 years of reading in that genre behind me, it's probably one of the strongest topics I have.
....but if you want your Hub moved to a niche site, they insist on it.
Tess, you basically wrote a great bio when you explained your problem in the first post in this thread. I just changed it slightly, using your words, to work well as a bio that fits...
Tess Schlesinger is a professional journalist who researches her topics thoroughly and writes the facts in a way that is succinct to the reader.
Glenn, this is pretty much what Tess had written, but the editor wants her to write a bio specifically for the subject of the Hub.
Yes, I said that... I just changed it slightly to work well as a bio that fits within 140 characters. But I see your point about being more specific to the subject. I use multiple bios myself—to relate to all the various topics I cover.
Did anyone else notice that if you change a bio in one section, all the bios in that section (category) change as well?
Tess, you can write up to 25 different bios and assign each one to any number of hubs. If you change any specific bio then only those hubs that you assigned to that bio will be changed.
Are you looking at your bio maintenance page? Click the "About the Author" tab to get there. If you change a bio within a hub, you may get confused. I like maintaining my bios via "About the Author" where all my bios are in one place, and I can easily move hubs from one bio to another if needed.
OMG. I see what has happened. I didn't know about that. Originally I had a separate bio for every hub, but then I wrote a global one. In a way, I resent to proving my credentials each time I write something. I find it reeks of braggadocio.
Hell, I have quite a bit of work ahead of me.
Where is the 'about the author' page. I cannot find anything like that. I need to fix up my bios. They are getting more and more out of control. As I change one, it is changing others.
You get to it by clicking to "My Account" > "About The Author"
See my "overlooked techniques" hub for details.
I updated the tutorial on "About The Author" in case others miss the same thing you had missed. If you already read it, check out the addition.
Thanks, I've just spent three or four frustrating hours writing 12 different bios and matching every article I've ever written here to them. The good part of that was that I had to take another look at articles long forgotten and have a good idea of what I have to revisit. Not looking forward to it, but then, that's what has to be done!
Yep, I've spent a lot of time too on maintaining my various bios. And I revisit the task from time to time.
Sometimes, as I review changes needed for one hub, I discover a better bio I had used for a bunch of other articles that I can use for this one. So I move the hub.
Other times I discover that I had created two bios that are similar and either one can work well for the hubs in question. So I eliminate one bio and move those hubs under the other.
At this point I'm struggling to keep the number of my bios down since I'm reaching the 25 bio limit. It's a never-ending job, but Google likes a good bio at the top of articles. When I get the bio right in any specific hub it seems to help the traffic.
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