Doctor Digital, what is the new Instagram pronoun field for and why does my profile need it?
Doctor Digital Says
You may have noticed an increasing use of gender identifying pronouns in email signatures, business cards, even on LinkedIn profiles. If you’re wondering what that’s all about, it’s an acknowledgement that gender identification for many people doesn’t neatly fit in a binary box of male/female.
As we evolve culturally, socially and ethically, our tools evolve with us, so it's not surprising that Instagram is moving with the times in recognising a broader understanding of gender and identity than the binary choices of he or she, him or her. When we identify what our pronouns are, we are being clear on how we like to be addressed, and what makes us feel comfortable and in our own skins. In a nutshell, how we look doesn’t determine our gender.
Instagram adding pronouns of course has a social justice element to it, but inevitably is also about revenue and building trust and community with their customers. By being able to accurately personalise accounts, it is another way of deepening the relationship. Whether or not you have non-binary pronouns, by putting your pronouns in the new field in Instagram, you are letting people know what you prefer to be addressed as.
To add your pronouns, all you have to do is select “Edit Profile,” and under “Name” and “Username,” there’s a new space to put in your pronouns. When you start typing them in, suggestions like “she,” “her,” “they,” “his,” and even “ey,” “xe,” “ze,” “xyr,” “pers,” “fae,” and “mers” will appear, and you can select any of those. There are over 40 pronouns to choose from, so most needs are covered. For people who don't want to be too public with their identification, you can choose whether or not to have your identity public or private.
Why does this matter for your business? It matters because your business is made up of people, people who are complex, interesting and diverse. Across business, government and the private sector, organisations are focussing on inclusivity across race, ability, gender and sexuality, and language is an important part of that process.
When we make everyone feel safe, welcome and comfortable with our brands, it builds trust and leads to deeper relationships, which of course in turn lead to conversion into sales and investments. Think about your customers and their diversity, and how good they will feel if they can see you aren't making assumptions about them and pushing them into a box. The bottom line? We live in exciting times, embrace with curiousity and most of all, respect.