Expressing yourself in profile pictures

Friday, November 26, 2010

Growing up, I was always taught that I shouldn't care what others think of me. However, today that idea sits a little differently.

With employers now scouting future employees and family members checking out your every move on Facebook, it's important to be aware of how others are perceiving you.

In an comedic article by Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich on CNN, readers are taught how to avoid portraying themselves as "tools" on Facebook.

We all pick unflattering photos. The point is to be aware, to decide how you want to be portrayed and to act on it. To avoid being hypocritical, I will show my own profile pictures as examples.

The "MySpace" shot – This is when a person photographs himself or herself. According to Bartz and Ehrlich, the "MySpace Shot" occurs when "men pose shirtless in front of their bathroom mirrors and women pout into their boobs."

While it may draw attention to your "assets," having this picture may make others think you're vain.

Subbing in an inanimate object/pet/baby – Your friends want to see a picture of you, not a "crude drawing of a dinosaur," Bartz and Ehrlich say.

Liquoring up – If you want to be seen as a professional, avoid drunken pictures or pictures partying.

Group shots – Once again, people want to see you. Don't hide behind your friends, Bartz and Ehrlich say.

Furthermore, you may meet someone and want to add them on Facebook. When searching, it's more difficult to find who your looking for when the person uses a group profile picture.

– Finally, the Holiday or wedding pics ... months after the wedding – Having a profile picture of you in your Halloween costume for weeks is overkill, Bartz and Ehrlich say.

"The same goes for wedding photos," Bartz and Ehrlich say. "It's really nice that you got married, and we all pored through every shot from the ceremony, but leaving up a portrait of you in full bridal garb for several months is akin to shoving your ring in your friends' faces daily."

Adding to this, breaking out the senior pictures when you are a junior in college seems a bit ridiculous.

So what's left, you ask? Although this article seems to be telling people what they can and can't have as profile pictures, I think the point was to make people aware.

I don't completely agree with all of these rules. For example, I don't see anything wrong with having my profile picture be of my adorable niece. I love her. There's nothing wrong with showing it.

The main idea is to keep your profile picture tasteful. Also, keep it appropriate if you think your employer will be seeing it.

In the end, it's your decision. It's your profile. You can display whatever picture you want. However, remember this picture is for everyone to see.


sheyenne.manning November 29, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

I agree with most of these pictures. It really drives me nuts when people have profile pictures of inanimate objects or their favorite bumper sticker.

I think a profile picture says a lot about a person and that can be a very good or a very bad thing. It ranks right up there with having a presentable profile. College students, especially, should read and take note of this blog.

taramaurer November 29, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

Yes, I agree. It's funny because I had that photo I took of the flowers as my profile picture, but I hate when people do that! I just wanted to show that everyone has a photo once in a while that might not cut it. I guess it has been more than once for me. I like to think that I'm wiser now though.

Victoria Jones November 30, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

I've been careful with what goes on my Facebook. I mean I have family, employers, professors, etc on there.

I'm guilty of not only judging people for looking like a tool but also for probably looking like a tool myself.

There will always be those who look like a complete idiot thanks to their Facebook page.

Erin Guzman November 30, 2010 at 6:04 PM  

These are all good points...& you addressed them well in your video blog, Tara.

However, I will say that not everyone uses their social media accounts for professional purposes, so SOME of these rules, most folks won't pay attention to.

But I do think college students in particular should be weary of what they let be visible on their profiles. If you're wanting a job where people will take you seriously, you need to look like YOU want to be taken seriously. I can't tell you how many classmates of mine from high school are wanting to be doctors, lawyers, and accountants, but they have photos of themselves passed out with writing on their faces... It sends the wrong kind of message about you as a potential employee, just like Sheyenne pointed out.

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