Confidence is sexy and all that, but if you ever feel like your ego is getting too big and you need knocking down a peg or two, there’s no place better to go than social media. In the magical realms of Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, there’s no shortage of hot takes to spawn new insecurities, as people debate everything from what gives them the ick to what makes millennials deathly uncool to Gen Z being, well, Gen Z. Sure, you might think you know how to navigate life properly, but lurk around the murky depths of social media commentary and you’ll soon find out that you’re doing basically everything wrong.
The latest silly and ultimately inconsequential thing to feel embarrassed about? How you write your social media bios and captions. Thanks to a viral TikTok taking aim at the way older millennials write on social media (eg. “author. sloppy joe enthusiast. world cup watcher. mother.” according to the post), a few said older millennials are feeling a little victimised.
But guess what? Literally no one has ever truly mastered the art of bio writing. So, in the interest of equality, we’ve compiled a handy guide to what you can deduce about a person from their social media writing style. No judgement, of course. We’re just here to educate.
If you ever come across an Instagram post captioned with a cryptic, seemingly random assortment of emojis, then there’s a high chance you’ve stumbled upon the profile of a super cool it-girl. And if they’ve gone to the effort of copying and pasting a load of dingbat fonts into their caption (.•°¤*✧⋆ 𝓎❤𝓊 𝓀𝓃❀𝓌, 𝓈𝓉𝓊𝒻𝒻 𝓁𝒾𝓀𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈 ⋆✧ *¤°•.), then they might even be cooler than cool – ice-cold, as they say.
As favoured by the likes of Bella Hadid, this style of captioning often appears in tandem with a photo dump, pairing an eclectic assortment of pics with an equally eclectic assortment of tiny cartoons. It doesn’t really make sense, but it doesn’t need to. Cool girls shouldn’t have to explain themselves! The emojis are cute and so are they. End of.
As seen on: Dua Lipa, Bella Hadid, Petra Collins
Bare minimum anti-socials
This particular group of people have next to nothing in their bios, and post sporadically and sparingly. Captions are a pain in the arse to write, so they simply don’t bother with them – unless they have something to promote, that is. Followers flock to their posts because they’re a rare commodity, not because they offer a chance to actually get to know the poster in question. Timothée Chalamet can get nearly three million likes on a captionless pic of his hairy legs and half-eaten cup noodles because he’s Timothée fucking Chalamet.
Be warned: this is a hard social media style to pull off unless you’re an astronomically famous enigma. An element of mystery is key to the likes of Chalamet’s persona, but alas, for the average person, hairy legs with no explanation are unlikely to rake in the likes. Still, if you simply can’t be arsed with social media, this is an easy way to maintain your personal account to ensure potential Hinge dates don’t freak out when they can’t stalk you on Instagram.
As seen on: Alexa Demie, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande
An underrated genre of captioning, the Insta essayist is the antithesis of the bare minimum poster, often jotting down a paragraph or two to give context to their posts. Britney Spears is the queen of this, particularly since her 14-year conservatorship ended last year. She’s free and telling the world exactly what’s on her mind, whether she’s revealing why it’s “cool to see [her] legs raw” or taking aim at the media’s unrealistic beauty standards. Gimme more, Brit!
This also seems to be the favoured style of important people like Barack Obama, which makes sense, as emoji-captioned photo dumps aren’t very presidential. Insta essayists are essentially the spine of society: Britney, Barack and, er, The Rock. Where would we be without 2007’s The Game Plan?
As seen on: Britney Spears, The Rock, Barack Obama
No emojis here, people. This is serious business! The preferred style of the “CEOs” and “Founders”, this approach to social media captioning toes the delicate line between being relatable and aspirational. Take girl boss extraordinaire Molly-Mae Hague, for example, whose Insta bio gives you all the need-to-know details about her CV. But have a little scroll and you’ll find that she’s just like you (we all have the same 24 hours in a day, after all), dashing around the city for important meetings and occasionally posing with a laptop.
An alternative approach to this is to offer your followers a regular dose of food for thought, such as The Diary Of A CEO podcast host Steven Bartlett’s Twitter screengrab posts on Instagram. Don’t be greedy and keep all that entrepreneurial wisdom to yourself. You never know, your tweet could inspire the next Jeff Bezos…
On second thought, keep those nuggets of knowledge to yourself, yeah?
As seen on: Molly-Mae Hague, Steven Bartlett, Grace Beverley