If I asked you, right now, why you chose your current Facebook profile picture, I’d bet that most of you would give me one of two responses. The first is that you just like the photo, plain and simple. The second is that you like the way you look in that photo. Narcissistic yes, but not exactly rocket science.
The majority of Facebook users (myself included) choose their profile picture based on how attractive they deem themselves to be in that particular photo, and what they feel it says about them. At the root of it, we’re advertising ourselves to our friends, our family and strangers – we’re saying, “look at me, look at what I can do, and what I’ve achieved!”
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with any of this; in fact, it’s all perfectly normal behaviour for those of us who frequent the Internet. But sometimes…sometimes, a photo isn’t just a photo. Sometimes there are hidden agendas. Sometimes that picture of you on holiday isn’t just a picture of you holiday – it’s a picture of you on a beach in a nice bikini with your tummy sucked in and a drink in your hand, that you want the cute guy from work to see so he’ll finally ask you out for a drink, which will ultimately result in the two of you falling madly in love, moving in together, and getting married before you’re 30.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, there are hundreds of reasons behind why send certain images of ourselves out into the world – but what do they say about you?
The serious pout
In my experience, a typical Facebook photo usually involves a pout. Gone are the days of smiling or pulling a ridiculous face, especially if you’re feeling a bit crap and fancy a few compliments.
The arty/hipster/aloof photo
Spotting the sensitive types used to be so easy – black and white images, scanned films, and “I’m not looking at the camera” photos were all you needed to look for. Now that instagram has taken off, it’s much more difficult to sort them from the hipsters…
The ‘have you been working out?’ photo
Men and women are both guilty of this, although they tend to do it in different ways. Women usually take a more subtle approach and post pictures of their super abs in cropped tops on nights out and next to nothing in holiday snaps. Men on the other hand, tend to take the “here is a photo of me in the gym with no top on” route.
The ‘make someone jealous’ photo
Not everyone wants to see a photo of you and your new girlfriend/boyfriend sucking face. It makes all your friends and family feel gross, and it’s incredibly insensitive if you’re fresh out of a relationship, so unless your ex was a vile human being or a cheating prick, don’t go there.
The ‘I’m so over you’ photo
Oh my god, I’m having the best time of my life without you – so much so that I’m going to change my photo every 5 minutes to prove it. If you’re hell bent on sticking the boot in, then change your photo, sign out for the rest of the day, and ACTUALLY go out and enjoy yourself.
The new parent
You guys, something weird has happened! All of my friends have turned into babies! Oh no wait, they’ve just changed their profile picture to a photo of their new spawn incase you hadn’t already seen the 43749384723958794 new photos they uploaded yesterday. Unless it’s seriously unbearable then give them a break; after all, they’ve procreated and they’re proud. You never know, you might be the same if you ever have children…
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