Of Profiles and Pitches

I open my email and find I have a new twitter follower. Cool. That’s a pretty rare event for me, seeing as I how I’m sitting at nobody status at the moment and I don’t go on following rampages looking for random hoards to follow me back.

I like to visit followers’ profiles to see if they’re fly-bys or people I’d actually like to network with. So, I go to this guy’s profile and read: “Can a man who throws his dates in a dungeon succeed romantically?”

And the first thing I think is, “Holy crap.” Followed by, “This guy probably thinks that’s a funny way to describe himself and has no idea how creepy it sounds.”

For the record, I know nothing about this individual. He seems nice enough, but his twitter profile gave me the wrong impression. I quickly got over that impression after I, you know, read past the first sentence in his profile, but it got me thinking — there are certain places you want to put things like loglines and summaries, and certain places you do not.

Yes, that is a logline for the humor novel he currently has out. In that context, it is funny. But I had no indication he was a writer until after the creepy first impression.

Profiles are bad places to put loglines, especially if you don’t preface them. When someone goes to an ‘about me’ page or a twitter profile, they expect to learn about the person, not be pitched a product. That expectation can color their impression of whatever they find there.

I was halfway to the block tab before I decided to go back and read the second sentence. I’ve gotten followed by random creepy people before (“Just looking for someone to spend hot, steamy, guilt-free nights with” — er, no thank you. Or ” #&$%ing bitches be hating.  You one of them?” — Take your chauvinism elsewhere), and wasn’t about to trade tweets with a guy who thinks joking about abusing the women he meets is funny.

When we promote our products we want to make sure we’re promoting what we think we’re promoting. We want to be sure that we’re reaching the right audience in the right way.

I might be his target audience.  I love humor novels.  But, if I’d done what I typically do when I get “that vibe” — run to block — I wouldn’t have even realized I’d passed over a writer’s profile.

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with his approach, but it did make me do a double take. I’m not saying, “Don’t promote your book this way,” just, “Think about it for a while before you take this approach.” Make sure it’s getting you what you think it’s getting you.

Those of you with loglines that follow a more sinister vein might want to be extra cautious.

And, who knows, maybe his strategy did work. After all, I’m posting about it.

Ever run across a profile that made you do a double take? Tell me about it!

~Marina

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