Facebook/Twitter Profile Pics: their meaning and more

Along with this new world of social media, comes new unspoken rules and understandings. One of the most significant aspects of all social sites (Twitter, Facebook, Linked in etc) is the Profile Picture. Not to make you stress over it more than you already do, but CHOOSE carefully. That pic tells the internet a lot about you….

FBkizzy_lhasa_apsoYour Pet: You have no children. Or they have moved out. Leaving you with only the affection of your beloved lhasa apso to keep you company. Facebook is your last effort to connect with the outside world.

FBbaby[1]Your Baby: You have not lost your baby weight. So rather than post your chubby photo, you use the baby instead. Oh, and you actually, honestly and truly believe you have the cutest baby on the planet. (it’s the hormones. it’ll wear off as soon…)

fbkidsYour Kids: You have spent the last 1-10 years taking 9 million photos of your kids, and have not one single decent photo of yourself. Your husband only took photos of you when you were breast feeding…boobs motivate him.

1979marcyYou as a child*: Since all you do on Facebook is talk to people from your school days, you felt like this would make it easier for people to remember you. Plus you sorta live in the past. Which is sad.

FBhappy-couple-thumb60784You with spouse: Even though you are on Facebook of your own free will, your significant other wasn’t too thrilled about it, and said things like ‘Facebook is just a fancy dating service’ and is convinced you are planning a secret rendezvous with your high school sweetheart. So you were HIGHLY encouraged to use a photo of the two of you to make it clear YOU ARE HAPPILY MARRIED.

FBwedding-coupleYou with spouse on your wedding day: Still driving the I AM MARRIED message home. And chances are you were married within the last 2 years and still think it is ‘so awesome’. Give it time. Plus you think you looked pretty damn hot on your wedding day. You want to share that hotness with the world. Thanks for that.

FB2825603043_dca1c05150You/photo taken by you into a bathroom mirror: you are too embarrassed to ask anyone in your life to take a photo of you for you to use on Facebook. Instead you try to take your own photo, and end up looking like half human half white light from the flash reflection. Still, it is better than using your pet. So there is that.

marcyatcountryclubYou drinking cocktail: You are trying to send the message “I am full of fun and good times. Let’s party!”, but what it really says is that you are trying to hard to look carefree and could possibly have a drinking problem. I mean past the age of 21 who brags about the ability to drink? This photo above all the others says “Jealous Much?”. I equate it with the status update that mentions golfing/spa visit/ or an unexpected expensive gift from your husband. We get it. Your life is BETTER THAN OURS. Thanks for sharing.

FBkaty-perryA celebrity that sorta looks like you, but not really: Just done to confuse people. Knock it off. Plus you are just waiting for someone to say “Oh my god I never noticed how much you look like Katie Perry! I thought that was you!”

FBsampleA Simpson Cartoon (or other): Grow up much? Chances are you have a Simpsons/Superhero/Tron poster in your garage too.


IMG_5060P smallcopyYOU: You are none of the things above (or all of them) but you have mean vocabulary skillz and know the definition of ‘profile pic’. You don’t over think things and are a rule follower. And you are okay looking at a teeny tiny pic of yourself over and over again. Just a little note: it is super cheating if you post a photo of you wearing sunglasses. EVERYONE looks good in sunglasses. Same goes for hats. Hatless photos only for men. After all- how are supposed to tell if you are bald or not?

(Not written with ill intent. I love you all and your crazy profile pics. Honest.)

*actually me. Age 10 trying to look ‘alluring’ I think.

For my long time readers you will recognize this as a re-post. Hope you don’t mind. Was done at the request of a client. Fresh content coming tomorrow. Promise.


{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Mama Kat May 9, 2011 at 7:37 am

Oh my gosh this is so spot on! I know ALL of those people. I have been the baby profile pic person and the husband and me person…and I’m currently the bathroom pic person. Minus the flash thank you very much.

You know what else I love about the celebrity photo? It’s that, yes you may look similar to Katy Perry…but probably not as good. “Hey I look like a knock off Cindy Crawford! Aren’t I almost really pretty?” It’s weird. Funny post!

Sunday May 9, 2011 at 7:45 am


Lolli @ Better in Bulk May 9, 2011 at 7:46 am

I love this post!! I’ve always had a picture of just me. Nothing more, nothing less. Good, I guess. :)

Gena Morris May 9, 2011 at 7:50 am

Oh this was perfect!!

Stephanie May 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

LOL!! I’m the “super-cute pic of me AND my baby” person. If you can talk some sense into just one person with this post it will have all been worth it! :-)

Teresa Kander May 9, 2011 at 7:59 am

I change my profile pic at the drop of a hat. Currently it’s me and hubby, because our anniversary is coming up. Most Sundays it’s Denny Hamlin as I get my NASCAR on….and on my kids’ birthdays, it’s generally their baby pic! LOL

Lisa V. May 9, 2011 at 8:09 am

I love this! I’m the one who has a picture of her kids because I take a gazillion pics of them and don’t have any of me!

Megan (Best of Fates) May 9, 2011 at 8:09 am

Hilariously spot-on… except the sunglasses part. I look terrible in sunglasses.

What exactly are you suggesting?

‘Cause if it’s that I have some sort of ugly-sunglasses curse, well, that might be useful information to have, thanks.

Aunt LoLo May 9, 2011 at 8:10 am

Hehe…one of my favorite posts. I only have two good photos of me…and they are my profile pictures EVERYWHERE. Not sure what I will do after I grow my hair out…

Oddyssey May 9, 2011 at 8:44 am

Wow, you certainly nailed the one I’m using now… the pic of my baby! And of course, I’ll be turning into the one with my kids, since I’ve now realized that I don’t think I have but one or two pics with ME in them! LOL Great post!

Sarah May 9, 2011 at 8:54 am

Great post! And, “whew!” I have the profile pic of me. That being said, it’s over a year old, because I hate having people take photos of me.

By Word of Mouth Musings May 9, 2011 at 9:29 am

LOL, I have it all beat.
I have a pic of me with a big pair of lips on my head – really, I do.
The pic that went up had a patch of sunlight behind me giving the impression that I may possibly have a halo following me around.
Such false advertising!
So I took the lips from my header and stuck them on my head.

Brynn May 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I love this! So true, on all points!

Martha May 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

For a long time I had a picture of my foot in a cast…. pity whore? LOL!

Lin July 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm

This is hilarious & so true!

Tracie July 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Absolutely hilarious!

I have all of these picture-types show up in my stream.

Heidi July 12, 2011 at 8:01 am

Now you have to do a follow-up post on the sub-genre of Photos of You avatars: there’s the funny face, the ironically funny face, the unintentionally funny face, the half-face, the super serious face and the Blue Steel.

I currently belong to the other genre not mentioned (although possibly an off-shoot of The Simpson Cartoon): the Cheesy Manga Avatar. :)

Jodi Kaplan July 12, 2011 at 8:06 am

Well, I’ve got sunglasses, but they’re not ordinary sunglasses. A friend compared them to an ornithopter.

Char July 12, 2011 at 8:46 am

You hit them all right on the money… guess I better go change my profile picture!

Peter Crowell July 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

Having a photo of myself makes me a rule follower? This is a no-win situation!

Katy July 12, 2011 at 9:09 am

Hilarious! I…have done a lot of these. And…I certainly have only changed it to a picture of my baby and me now that the weight is gone…and it’s one of 2 decent pictures that don’t involve boobs. ;)

Dennis Smith July 12, 2011 at 9:21 am

When all else fails there’s Photoshop! Say Cheese!

Carrie July 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

I can see why Chris Brogan briefly broke your site today – great post! I know every single person you listed :)

Susan July 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

I use a picture that says something about my personality – & I use a non-photo of me because I have stalkers. Thanks.

Nipsy July 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

You just gave me another reason to love Google +. I saw this as a “share” from Matt Stratton. I admit at first I ignored it, no offense. The title simply didn’t suck me in. But then I thought about it, this was Matt posting..hmmm, so I click and prepare my static “Thanks for sharing Matt, interesting read.”

First paragraph had me thinking this was like other “lecture” posts about profile pictures. I kept reading. (It’s a damn good thing I’m OCD about reading EVERYTHING once I start. First picture read had me laughing, second one had me laughing extremely loud. By the third one I was actually looking forward to reading more of your posts. By the end of the post I had you bookmarked into my reader.

Nicely done and thanks to G+ and Matt, I now have another blog I am looking forward to actually reading.

Oh, and I’ve only been guilty of one of these: the mirror pose. I did it for a picture on my blog to make a point. Still count?

Jane Fader July 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

You might also notice that straight women and gay men tend to use profile pictures with high camera angles (the camera pointing down, the face looking up), which traditionally implies the subject’s inferiority. It seems more common in younger crowds.

In contrast, rappers seem to always be shot at a low angle.

I’d like to see what trends in a large collection of lesbian rappers’ profile pictures.

susanborst July 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Marcy! Don’t recognize you with red hair! Great post!!!

Liz July 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I’ve seen other blog posts on this topic but you have the best examples!

I’m one of those “never changes her profile photo ever because it’s the one good photo I have of myself and I can never cut my hair”. And I really want to cut it!

Chris Buckley July 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Hilarious, thank you.
I’m still keeping my hat- and shades-wearing profile pic though.
They make me look THAT good.


Karen E. Lund July 13, 2011 at 4:57 am

OK, here’s the low-down on my profile photo. Not the one of Facebook–that changes, and is currently me in a jester hat reading poetry in a local park. (What does *that* say? I hope it says “I’m literary but with a generous helping of goofiness.”)

The photo I use on most of my social network profiles was taken in a bar (naturally) at a reunion with some former co-workers. One of the guys got a little buzzed and went around having his photo taken with every woman in the group. But lo and behold! It was a good picture of me. (I don’t photograph well, but am at my best when I’ve been drinking a little or when I held my niece of nephew as infants–see Marcy’s 2 & 3—but they’re too grown-up now.)

So I cropped out the guy and made it my (ahem) LinkedIn profile photo. People told me I looked great. I went to a networking meetup with a bunch of strangers and people recognized me from my profile pic. Before I had a chance to say “It was supposed to be temporary,” it had become ME to most of my virtual friends.

DJ Waldow July 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Marcy! I just published a similar, yet not nearly as witty/accurate, post today. Thanks to Ann Handley for pointing me here. See her comment: http://socialbutterflyguy.com/2011/07/18/does-your-profile-picture-matter/#comment-256327615

Going to update my post now & include a link to this post.

Love your sense of humor.

Nicole Plescher July 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Lol! Fantastic. Thanks for the good read!

Erica Allison August 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

LOVE this post and laughed, truly, out loud with each and every one! Well done!

Rosalia Torres October 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Yeah!!! I am so happy that I am not on your list. I am a visual artist and I always try to post my latest painting as my profile picture.

Dave B December 26, 2011 at 6:49 am

I’m wondering what a picture that doesn’t show your face but does show a sporting acheivement means? Loved the article and shared it of course.

Matt Williams February 14, 2012 at 4:16 am

Oh dear… it seems that you can only do the wrong thing on Twitter. My profile pic @revsorg is my cat James. He sleeps on my desk all day while I work, and creates a very chilled environment. I love him very much. I’ve also got children, which kind of contradicts what you’re saying here…

Torsten June 11, 2013 at 7:17 am

Hi! I understand this is sort of off-topic however I had to ask.
Does operating a well-established blog such as yours require a lot of work?
I’m completely new to operating a blog but I do write in my journal every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can
easily share my personal experience and feelings online.
Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring bloggers.

Appreciate it!

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