Monday, August 27, 2012

Profile Pictures

This post may apply to all social media outlets, blogs, you name it, but the primary motivation for this post comes from the world of online dating. Basically this is a list of don'ts for men, although some may apply to women also. I've ordered these by level of acceptability, with the completely unacceptable being at the bottom.

#1 - Don't use a photo of you with any face-blocking accessories on: goggles, masks, overly large hats, hoods, helmets and the like just make it seem like you're hiding something. Although, if you're trying to hide something, this may be a good strategy. Just remember that if someone sees a picture like this, they are going to look at your other pictures to see if you are in fact hiding something. If you are, hide it in all your pictures for maximum effect.
Clearly loves to scuba dive...but that's what the "interests/hobbies" sections of the profiles are for!

#2 - Don't take a picture of yourself in the mirror. When I see one of these, here are some of the thoughts that run through my mind:

-They knew they were going to use this as their profile picture and they chose that face/shirt/pose etc.? What message are they trying to send with that angry face? Or that Anime shirt? Or the gangster pose?

-That mirror is really dirty, and whatever is in the background looks dirty too. If filthiness is apparent even in a phone picture of you in the mirror, not ok.

-Did he need to work this hard to get a profile picture? Is he so vain he wanted to pose? Are his other "real life" pictures so bad he couldn't use them? Does he take mirror pictures of himself regularly?
Don't think a caption is necessary here.
Note: Pictures being taken using the camera on computers are more acceptable. However, don't use too many artsy effects....the result is not usually good. Also, these pictures are rarely flattering so I generally don't think it's a good idea.
Would you want to meet this guy for dinner alone? Pretty sure I've seen this photo on Law & Order SVU
#3 Don't ever use a shirtless photo for your profile picture unless you want to seem stupid, shallow and vain. I'm not saying there's no place for shirtless photos, but the only way they can be used without creating the aforementioned reputation is if they are candids and show you in a setting where being shirtless is completely expected. By this I mean boating, swimming, or on the beach...I actually can't think of any other scenarios that are appropriate. Bottom line...if a shirtless photo is the best asset you have for your dating profile then hopefully there are lots of girls out there with bikini pictures showing their best assets. I haven't ever seen any female dating profiles, but I'm sure they're out there, don't you worry. 

Horseback riding through water while know, how you do

#4 Never ever ever ever ever use a shirtless photo you took in the mirror. Under no circumstances should that be used on the internet, ever. I don't even think this needs explanation.

#5 Just don't be weird! Photos with inside jokes or special meanings should be saved for a later stage in a relationship. 
The caption on on this man's profile read, "Classic baseball under chin pose." 
Normalcy, that's what the profile picture should the quirks, vanities or creativity for later.

*Note: All of the pictures in this post were taken from real profiles on real online dating sites (and believe me this is just a small sampling of the pictures that could have been used). Names will not be disclosed to protect identities...but if you know any of these people, maybe help them out?