Constraint breeds creativity; it’s why Twitter has been successful. 140 is just enough but not enough, so it’s quite perfect. Who hasn’t been impressed by full recipes in so little space?


I don’t doubt this idea has circulated somewhere, but it recently got some positive feedback when it came up at a recent webinar I ran with SSATB, which is this: throw the 3 paragraph faculty bios away (if they are even written) and strip it down to 140 characters that you ask for. What you get will be surprising.


It worked for us: at our User Conference this past June, we asked each of our employees to submit their bio in 140 characters or less so that clients could have some intro as to who they’d be meeting; it also suited the social media theme of the conference. We would never come up with full bios for everyone; we barely could swing it for our management team. These weren’t literally tweeted. We wound up using them on a printed page as part of the attendee’s packet, so brevity helped keep everyone on just a few pages. Combined with a thumbnail, it turned out to be fun and enlightening. Here are two:


“Lived in Boston, Portland, DC & More. Worked for the White House. Met James Brown. Have way too many cats. Worked at SP for two busy years.”


“At Silverpoint, I focus on Usability, Forms and Interactive Special Treatments. If I’m awake I’m listening to music.”


140 characters are too few to do any professional’s CV justice or one’s life for that matter, so why bother? It forces you to think out of the box and pick out just a few things that are unique. In that sense, it’s much harder than it sounds.


Looking forward to seeing the first school who can pull it off for all of their faculty!

Angelo Otterbein

Angelo Otterbein

Chief Innovation Officer at Finalsite

Angelo Otterbein graduated from St. Paul's School in Baltimore, MD for which he later wrote their 150-year history, and from Princeton University where he graduated as a certified teacher, with a degree in English Literature, and having taken a variety of courses in the computer science department. He founded Silverpoint in 1996 when he also held a faculty position teaching advanced digital media and web design to art majors at Villa Julie College in Baltimore. While at Silverpoint, Angelo has given dozens of presentations across the country and overseas for associations and school conferences about web design, trends in digital media and web development, and the role of the Internet in education. While there is no connection between his last name and the Otterbein neighborhood in Baltimore, don't be afraid to ask him about the Otterbein cookies, which are scattered far and wide throughout the city.