Twitter bio as epitaph

Yesterday I read the first post in a new blog series by Marcos Salazar on the Personal Branding Blog, and last night during my daily ritualistic evening meditation time (aka doing the dishes) I found myself reflecting on his post and about the personal re-branding journey he’s going to undertake.

But, as my mind wandered, I found myself thinking about the personal branding concept in a new context:  How do you want to be remembered when you die?  What do you imagine will be on your epitaph?  How different would it be from your Twitter bio?

If we assume our Twitter bios are a reflection of our personal brands, and our personal brands are a reflection of ourselves (dubious, I know — but take this walk with me).  It’s interesting to contemplate how we think of ourselves in life (personal brand) and how we might want to be thought of in death (epitaph).

My Twitter bio says, “Gary Alan Miller:  higher education and career services professional; internship specialist,” and I think I’d be pretty disappointed if that were to appear on my epitaph.  But, I’d be pleased if it said something like, “Gary Alan Miller: helper, thinker, supporter, friend.”  Does that mean I need to re-brand myself?

So, I’m curious: How does your Twitter bio compare to how you’d like to be remembered?

Gary Alan Miller

Leave a comment


  1. cool…keep posting..

  2. Hi gary,
    Interesting post!

    Recentlly you could follow @ap11_eagle etc for a “live” re-run for the Apollo 11 mission based on ground to space transcripts etc. It was gripping stuff.

    I do wonder if this concept can be expanded on. It would be possible for a program to tweet on your behalf when you are gone – yeah spooky I admit but perhaps it could bring some comfort?


  3. Wonderful comparison! I think of brand as ‘reputation,’ but actually a great way to decide what you want your brand to be is to compose your epitaph. Great idea!

  4. GC

     /  July 26, 2009

    My twitter bio reads:
    Smile, Simplify, Share, Say “Please” & “Thank you”, Love, Live, Listen, Learn, Laugh, Help 🙂

    That’s also my email siggy, and the siggy I use in the forums I participate in.

    Did not create it with a view towards what I’d like my epitaph to read but, now that I’ve thought of it, I’d be pleased if it’ll be my epitaph. 🙂

  5. Hi Gary! Nice to see you blogging on this stuff!

    What an interesting thought you bring up. I have a casual, friendly approach to personal branding. My twitter bio reads:

    “User experience designer for a web software company, geek, fan of cheese, dogs, good (and bad) music and movies…”

    On a similar note, the brief bio on my semi-professional website is:

    “Sarah Harrison is a web designer in Seattle who loves cheese.”

    This links to a paragraph that continues the sentiment:

    “I’m Sarah Harrison, a user experience designer from Seattle, WA. I am passionate about designing meaningful interfaces people love to use. I also love laughing, good music, bad movies, dogs, and I occasionally dabble in photography, cooking, dancing, and illustration.”

    I try to strike a balance between professional and personal when I’m thinking about my brand. I try to represent myself online the same way I would in person, with a careful balance towards not erring too far on one side or the other. I figure if someone’s going to work with me, they’re going to have to like me as a person, too. And if someone’s simply a personal acquaintance, they’ll have to at least understand that I’m a nerdy chick and will occasionally talk about computery stuff.

    And it’s honest, so if that were my epitaph, I wouldn’t be too upset. 🙂

  6. garyalanmiller

     /  July 28, 2009

    Thanks for the comments, all. It’s been interesting reading everyone’s thoughts.

    p.s. Sarah, great to hear from you. I hear you’re moving to SF soon?

  7. andrew moss

     /  August 4, 2009

    hi gary — saw this post after starting what i think of as a meta-twitter account. as a literary historian and quasi-materialist historian, i had thought twitter length and the space on a memorial were oddly and promisingly similar.

    i like this post a lot — similar literary forms and lengths across time and context make for fruitful thought.

    andrew moss

  8. Thanks for this. Just subscribed.

  9. Mine is pretty descriptive.
    However, since twitter is primarily where I connect with people who often don’t know me in the flesh, it is unlikey that my description there would be the same as what my family members, the people who will bury me, will have to say about it.

  10. I’m not sure my Twitter bio would describe me exactly. That would take volumes! 🙂 I would like to note here though that many of the Twitter friends in my “genealogists” list got there because they had at least something in their bio about genealogy. My bio says, “Family genealogist, GeneaBlogger, historian, certified handwriting analyst;” What can you really say in 83 characters, huh? 🙂

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