Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's in a Description?

A description seeks to give an account or representation of a person, object or event.  It’s how jobs communicate their roles, how a friend relays her date and how restaurants explain their menu items.  More recently, however, descriptions have been used as tools to project a particular appearance.  About Me’s help you decide whether that guy on Tinder is cute or creepy and captions determine whether that Instagram picture is clever or cliché.  But in our desire to neatly sum up the human experience into a series of facts, are we dismissing our complexities?
Pinterest bio
Does a Twitter bio that reads, “Single black female addicted to retail,” a Pinterest profile that says, “college student. foodie. avid magazine reader. chef extraordinaire. retail enthusiast,” and an Instagram caption saying, “Yeezy taught me” accurately capture my likeness?  Or are these descriptions merely attributes that could belong to any single black female with a shopping problem and an affinity for Kanye West lyrics?
Twitter bio
Instagram caption
While accurate descriptions, these details somehow manage to miss the mark and avoid capturing the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of what it means to be me.  When we try to distill our multi-faceted personalities into a 140-character bio or an “About Me” section, is it inevitably a checklist of characteristics rather than a faithful description or do the unique combination of descriptive elements suffice?

Just ask Allison Portchnik from Woody Allen's Annie Hall.


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