Give Good Face: What Your Profile Picture Says about You
August 16, 2014
An ad for PhotoFeeler came across my Twitter feed which I found rather intriguing, since I’ve been conducting a very unscientific study of my own profile pictures. It started as more of a joke with a friend to see if certain pictures would attrack more (and what type of) Twitter followers. PhotoFeeler is a site that allows you to upload your profile picture for free and have others comment on if they think it’s professional for LinkedIn or for a professional website or fun for Twitter or dating sites.
This picture may look familiar if you’ve noticed the comment section on the site or if you’ve seen my LinkedIn or Facebook profile. I also used this for my first Twitter picture. As someone who has successfully marketed for others it sometimes becomes challenging when marketing for myself. A good business profile picture should be friendly, approachable, and professional. I wasn’t and still am not sure the medium of Twitter will do what I need it to do-which is pull people to the site, read and hopefully comment. I thought I’d play with the pictures and chart the results (again very unscientific).
This picture (yes very airbrushed) got the most new followers in one day-ten
This one (yes also very airburshed) got the most Private Messages (creepy)
I lost four Twitter followers with this one
One of the latest trends is to have pictures to be taken but looking more natural and not so staged.
Examples from other sites:
The over produced less than candid
“The findings suggest that the images we post online can affect us in unexpected, and undesired, ways, subtly biasing other people’s decisions.” All data and materials can be accessed: http://tlab.princeton.edu/publications/todorovandporterdataandstimuli/
The things I’ll do in the name of science or trying to provide the most accurate fact based evidence. I ran the top picture (for LinkedIn) and middle black and white (for Twitter) (I did not upload one for the dating sites since I only use social media for professional purposes) through PhotoFeeler and will post the results as they are available. I might need a strong drink first. And I added the one below to Twitter.
Any information is good information it’s what we choose to do with it that matters. For a LinkedIn profile it’s good feedback as a business owner to know my picture isn’t conveying competence or influence and could be a set back to obtaining business. I really didn’t put a lot of thought into the picture other than it’s one I had on file and that I was able to easily crop others out. (Probably not the best rationale-but I put more stock in my work than my face).
And three people saying the same thing means the picture is too close and blurry. Taking this feedback into consideration when I select my next photo couldn’t hurt and hopefully only help. Again, I don’t think it’s necessary to run out and get professional photos taken (especially if you can’t afford them) but it does make me wonder if it was further back and less blurry would influence and competency scores also go up? Like many, I really don’t like pictures and don’t have millions just lying around (outside of best gay sleep over day photo shoot from a friend-which are great, but don’t really look like me since they’re really airbrushed).
And the second set of results are in for the Twitter picture (ouch!) but truthfully what I half expected.
I’ve been told before that I think too much so here goes: I think airbrushed is the exact opposite of confident but do agree that it’s not an authentic or fun picture.
And thank you to the one kind soul!
And this is the profile picture that’s gotten the most Twitter followers per day (but again, what type followers remains to be seen) or unseen since I changed my picture again.
My suggestion would be to dress professionally one day and have a friend take a few candids of you and test those out. At the very least it’s interesting but at the end of the day the quality of the product will always be the most important-just like buying fake followers or fake likes to raise someone’s stock it’s smoke and mirrors-so don’t get too hung up on the photo and look at the person’s talent.