Are Insta Bios Equivalent to Business Cards?

 

For the past few decades, business cards have been an essential part of communication and marketing. They are compact and concise yet, essential and informative. They tell you who you need to know, what you need to know about them should you be interested in pursuing business with them, and how you can contact them immediately. Their graphic design, should they have one, has been used as a technique to make the contact stand out in a memorable way. We’ve kept them in our wallets and our pockets, ready to provide people with them in any instant. Though with the rising function of social media, even within a corporate context, and the desire to be a paperless generation, do business cards hold much value anymore? Or are they being replaced by the alike function of Instagram biographies?

Recently, I’ve heard it echoed around me that “everyone is starting their own business.” The freelance and self-employment industries are more prevalent than ever before. It seems to be that the Millennials and Generation Z work multiple jobs and often have side jobs of their own. In addition to the many differences between these generations and the pre-Millennial generations, one of the most prominent is the way the people of these respective age demographics interact and connect with one another. 

Pre-Instagram and the ranks of social media platforms, meeting others and thus, having the opportunity to give someone a business card occurred when you networked with them face-to-face. It was through meetings, events, passing on business cards via mutual friends, and even leaving business cards in public places as advertisements, that people received one another’s contact information; however, that method of connection has varied significantly from what it once was. A large reason behind this variation is time. People claim they don’t have “enough time” or they’re busy, at which point, ‘connecting’ with someone digitally from their desk rather than scheduling to travel and actually meeting up with them becomes more efficient—efficiency being another time-related concern. As a result, Instagram has become not only a personal platform for shooting and sharing photographs, but too, a corporate platform for people to market themselves and their businesses on—so much so that Instagram now offers users the option to create a ‘Personal Account’ or a ‘Business Profile.’ Now, people network via follow requests, direct messaging, and within the comments section of posts. All of that to say, the ever acclaimed ‘insta bio’ is a hot topic that is heightened more than ever before. 

Spanning from personal accounts to more professional ones, a ‘good insta bio’ has come to be understood as one that is informative, clever, and aesthetically pleasing in the way it is laid out visually on one’s Instagram profile. It typically includes but is not limited to one’s name, contact information, location, occupation, education, each of which establish one’s social position and in turn, are thought to speak to one’s supposed ‘social status.’ Sometimes these bios are to the point, sometimes they’re poetic, and other times, they’re witty. With that being said, they function much like business cards do. They represent the services you offer and are quick for others to access. For this reason, it’s important to consider what you want the purpose of your social media to be: is it purely personal or is it a professional venture? How are you clarifying this function to those who come across your Instagram profile? These questions merit value. We must be thoughtful about the way we interact with social media in a healthy way, discerning why and how we’re using it the way we are, how loose of a grasp we hold on to it with if we hold on to it at all, and consistently remind ourselves that while our social media represents us (and can work for us) it does not have the final say concerning our identity.