Field Guide: Profile Pictures of Social Media

You’ve probably seen some of these. Heck, you probably are one of these. It’s cool. I’m one too.

Janus feminii. This one makes dudes uncomfortable. Many women, bless them, take pictures next to a friend. To a gent the question is simple: which one are you? This rarely crosses a gentle-dude’s mind, but a more obvious question is: are you trying to use a more attractive friend to get a guy to click on a social media profile, in which case he must not know you in real life or be a jerk, in which case you are opening a confusing, disturbing train of thoughts that involves Mission Impossible Masks no one wants to explore. It’s your profile, so it should be you in the picture. (This does not apply to an obvious family/club/team/special ops unit).

Brosephus Octagonus. Sometimes a man is proud of his musculature. He may deserve that pride, but he does not deserve to make that his profile picture. As your boss, for example, that would be a very weird way to first see you unless of course I’m hiring for Chippendale’s. If that’s the case, carry on. If you’re applying for any other job in civilization, however, don’t do this.

Crowdofpeoplesaurus. There are times when we love a large number of people, to the point of making a picture of them our profile picture. That’s fine, but it requires a lot of extra clicking to figure out who you are. To really annoy people, do what Southern Boulevard’s author did for some time: use a group pic as your cover photo on Facebook, and a picture of a 5k you ran in as the profile photo. That way they’ll never find you.

Inanimate Object Person. This is very uncomfortable. If you feel the need to substitute yourself with something not living, other people are going to wonder if everything’s okay. If it is, stop making us tense.

Babies. This should never occur to you. Unless it’s your baby’s Facebook page, then it’s fine.

Your own baby picture. Egads. I sense that you think you were cuter then. Don’t be responsible for that kind of discomfort. Also, this is not a yearbook.

There are more. Leave this tab open for later or get up to stretch and pour a glass of water  because this goes on:

On twitter, and I guess Instagram (don’t have one), there are little places under your profile where you can write stuff about you. Instead of putting useful information, people take one of two routes.

The Man of Mystery. This guy is wicked awesome. So wicked awesome, he can use a small cluster of emojis, his jersey number, or a weird collection of letters and numbers that mean something only to his friends. Sometimes he leaves the area blank all together.

The Autobiography. Some folks see a Man of Mystery and think, “That will never be me.” And it’s never them. They often use little “|” vertical line symbols to break up the wall of text they cram beneath their profile pic. School, workplace, interests, disinterests, hashtags, links to blogs, links to friend’s blogs, and links to friends’ of friends blogs crowd in and give you plenty of information…and claustrophobia.

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