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SOCIAL MEDIA 101: There's No Such Thing As a Neutral Social Media Profile Picture....

There's a lot of fear out there in the HR World related to social media.  So it makes sense that I'm going to add to the fear, right?  I'm not talking about legal risk, grabbing candidate's Facebook passwords for deeper background checks or the fear of your company's IP being broadcast worldwide.

No - I'm here to scare you with the obvious risk that's in front of your face every day.

There's no such thing as a neutral social media profile picture.  

Allow me to explain.

Check out LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.  You've got a small 50x50 pixel (100x100 max) that is your avatar, and you usually load a pic of yourself there.  On almost all the platforms, if someone clicks on that small picture, it's blows up way bigger if the source image has the resolution to support.

Most of the small pictures are neutral enough to the human eye - you can't really make out what the person looks like.  But, when you click on the pic and it blows up, your reaction is almost never neutral. It's either better than you expected or worse than you expected.  It's rarely neutral.  Your brain had some type of expectation related to the picture, and that expectation was either shattered or exceeded by the bigger pic.  

Your brain has set an expectation based on your experience related to the smaller picture.  My experience with this says that I'm only neutral (got what my brain expected) 10% of the time when I click the bigger picture.

My small photo/big photo appears below.  Lots of you clicked at some point in the past and said, "Wow - minimize that as quickly as possible".  One person said, "Like George Clooney, but more approachable" (at least I hope).  Some saw stubble on the blow up picture and thought, "unemployed".  Others thought "securely employed - why else would he be comfortable with stubble?". 

The brain.  Like the Geto Boys once said, "my mind is playing tricks on me".

Your goal?  Get positive reviews on the click through.  I can't tell you how to do that.

KD profile


Lisa Chaves

Glad you emphasized on these issues. This is so true in most cases wherein spamming of profiles in Social Media have become so easy. We better have an eye for profiles that are spam.

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