Why do People put Embellished Bios on Websites: For Credibility and Justification?

Guest post by Irene Watson

The other day I received an email from a colleague alerting me to a specific website that gives book reviews and has a book awards program. As I perused the site I came across the bio of the owner and was perplexed at what I saw. The bio was embellished, and when I say “embellished” I’m being gentle.

My psychology background quickly kicked in and I wondered why this person needs to justify her position with lies. Why do people lie? There are several reasons and the first is fear – fear of not being accepted. If, for example, this person said she volunteered at a local library it wouldn’t sound as good as saying she worked in a university library. (However, the university was not named.) Or, if she said she has been reviewing books for 3 years it wouldn’t sound as good as 6 years. In her mind she is justifying her qualifications to the visitors of the site and feels she can get away with it, because, more than likely, anyone that knows the truth (family and friends) wouldn’t be checking the site.

However, as we know, lies, pardon me…embellishments…do catch up to us. As authors, and as reviewers, we are putting ourselves “out-there” and no different than anyone else in the limelight, we are open to scrutiny. And, rightly so. When I check out a new service, or a new site, the first thing I look for is the “about us.” Those that don’t have a page to expose who they are, I move away from them. If there is a page talking about who they are, where they got their experience, and who they previously worked for, I take interest but don’t take their word. I proceed to check out the person/people further. Trust me, there is nothing that isn’t available on the internet.

So, what do we put into our bio or our “about us” page? The truth. For example, using the above information, the “reviewer” should have said what university she worked at. This gives credibility. Adding links gives even more credibility.

Credibility isn’t gained through embellishments, it’s gained through honesty.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

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Posted on March 3, 2010, in Publicity & Writing, Writing & Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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