Friday, January 03, 2014

Social Media Avatars - And which one is you?

For good or bad, people form an impression of us on social media from the picture we display. It lives with every post we make, and if we are only connected online to someone, it's probably how they always think of us. I've been looking at some of the images used by my online contacts, and I offer these observations. 

1) The "not just me" shot There may be two, three, or an entire crowd of people shown. I don't know who I'm talking to. Who are those other people? There seem to be two basic types of this shot. The first is with a loved one. That's nice if you're running a dating site. If it's a business, is that your business partner? The second type is with a celebrity. Alas, not everyone will recognise the "celeb", so they're left wondering which one is you. 

2) The "cropped from a party" shot This simply says to me "I can't be bothered to get a professional photo done". If that's the case, I wonder how you might handle my business? Would you rather be out partying? 

3) The "over the hills and faraway" shot I'm sure you're in the picture somewhere, but I can't tell if that's you or a lamp-post.

4) The "it's not me" shot It's nice to pay a tribute to someone you admire by using their image, but it makes me a bit suspicious about why you don't want to be seen.

If you're on social media and want to look businesslike, get a proper photo taken. Let us see a bit about you. People do business with people. We want to know which one is you.

Picture credit - Alan Stevens 

1 comment:

Stephen Bray said...

Yes, of course, you're on the ball Alan. By far the worst mistake is to display no profile picture at all, and the next to use ABOT from your holiday snaps.

As to professional images, I think it depends who you are that determines the style.

My friend who is a music journalist, from the days when sounds were load and metallic, changes his profile images frequently. They are always a bit sauce - and have even included some saucy looking scantily clad people of the feminine gender, I think - they might have been lady-boys?

Of course that works for him, because he's not running as the next Lord Mayor of London, or Chief Exec of the All England Tennis Club. You may use informal images when they support your professional style.