The Puzzle of the Profile Picture

Puzzled by duzern (CC BY-NC 2.0)

No matter what anyone says, we are judged by our covers; often in the first few seconds

It may come as little surprise that companies are now looking at social media profiles to determine an applicant’s suitability. Even with an account set to private, when they find your account they will see a profile picture and perhaps older photos that had been your profile picture. If you log out and search for yourself, you can see what others will; it can be quite confronting.

This knowledge is what prompted a change of my profile picture. My existing photo wasn’t something that I was embarrassed about, it was more that it didn’t have much to say. It was a photo taken at my (old) workplace, and I liked the photo, which is why I had used it. On reflection it probably isn’t a good photo, in regards to conveying a message, especially because I am looking for a change in my career. Actually my LinkedIn profile photo was worse because I didn’t have anything just the anonymous grayed out silhouette – not very professional!

I’m not a member of the so called selfie generation and usually find myself behind the camera instead of in front of it. Therefore, I actually didn’t have anything that I would consider suitable. On a personal note I don’t generally like having my photo taken, but perhaps that is because most of my experience is with one shot and you’re done cameras, over the now many shot and discard digitals that are standard. So at 8pm, I decided to do a selfie photo shoot. I was looking for a natural pose and as I am lacking the self awareness of the practised selfie I took a few tentative shots and the results were less than impressive. In the end I decided to just go wild, pulling faces and trying to make myself laugh and not looking at the results until I felt that I had acheived capturing many different expressions and lighting angles with assorted backgrounds. The result was having a plethora of photos to choose from.

Many Rob’s – Screenshot 2016

After viewing all of the possibilities the photo I selected was the one that I feel captured my personality the best. After selecting the photo, I decided that other aspects of my profile needed to be updated. If you haven’t updated your profile in over six months then it is most likely overdue. In the online environment freshness is key to keeping up to date and current.

The end result of this process is a much more serious and professional profile. Will it in turn result in people taking my opinions with a more weight? Only time will tell; but I certainly believe so.



Developing Divergent Identities on Socials

People are akin to a strand of copper wire; until you open them up you can’t know what is hidden under that plastic exterior.

Cable Confusion – Eric (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Some people have centralist ideologies based around one main interest, but many are divergent and can’t be defined to form fit into standard ideals. I have always hated how some people feel the need to box you. They make an early judgement put you in a place and that is where you sit forever and no manner of accomplishment can shift you from this shelf; you will always be oh that person. Even worse though, as there can be an expectation of being an expert in this box they have you sealed up inside. Although it can be maddening, this personality trait can be used to your advantage especially when it comes to promoting yourself online.

One of the main components people look for when following someone online, especially with an unknown, is being consistent. For someone that has many different interests and even some that may contradict themselves, such as I enjoy novels and their film adaptions, I’m fine with dog and cats living together, but probably worst of all… Star Wars and Star Trek!

When you follow many different interests the feed can become confusing and hard to compile the individual stream into a coherent message. This can lead to missing information or worse believing something that is false to be fact. It was this type of misinformation that may have resulted in people voting certain ways in the recent US election.  It seems highly plausible that fake news was just more appealing, that it made the unaware share and promote them as though they were factual and therefore perpetuating the problem. If messages were received from one stream of collaborated consciousness it would have been easier to spot the anomalous fake message. After all it is easier to spot an orange in a bowl of apples rather than a blended smoothie.

Apple Puzzle – Salvatore Gerace (CC BY-SA 2.0)

To combat this, I am planning on splitting my socials into categories, and each will follow proponents of particular interests. If I pick four or five main interests, it will be easier to disseminate information and hopefully lower follower loss due to inadvertent unwanted information being provided. In the need to find work I really don’t feel that it is more beneficial to be a generalist reporter, as most fit into a category, such as: political, entertainment or scientific. While it is good to be able to provide employers with a sense of an ability to write and produce content on varied topics, I figure that having one group of social accounts themed to produce content on one major theme is the better way to get notice, rather than the scatter shot approach.

For the moment my main account will focus on my writing, which can include most of my content pieces as, despite the topic, they would all fall under a creative writing theme; these posts will be focused on the writing of the article rather than the content. In the not too distant future I hope to include new blogs and twitter accounts for my other interests.