The Science of Profile Pictures Says, Yes, That Picture Is Totally Fine

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By Sarah Sloat

I recently took to Craigslist, that cesspool of human want, to fill an open room in my apartment. When the applications started rolling in, I did what most sensible, wifi-connected people do and googled the shit out of my potential roommates. I wanted to know what each of their deals were, but I was just as eager to see pictures. That’s not because I want to fill my house with hotties, but because Craigslist isn’t known for being full of not-chatbots and you sometimes judge a human by its cover. When I came across a Facebook account with a profile picture of say, a flower or a dog, I moved on. Who doesn’t have their picture on the internet?

I’m sure it’s pleasant to live the anonymous, LinkedIn-less life, but it’s also unusual and, on some level, unacceptable. Approximately 364 million people have a LinkedIn profile; 300 million people use Instagram, and more than one billion people have a Facebook account. Even Venmo asks you to upload a photo. (Yelp optimistically does too.) In a sense, you have to actively avoid posting a selfie if you use the internet. It’s legitimate for people to wonder why you’re hiding your face if that is your M.O.

That doesn’t make choosing a picture easy. And that sure as hell doesn’t make looking at selfies pleasant for non-narcissists.

Photography and sociology essentially share a birthday. Quite literally a lens in which to view society, photography has been the tool used to document individuals and traditions — digital photography doubly so. That said, according to researchers from the Queensland University of Technology, the emergence of DSLRs and smartphones has had less affect on the personal photograph than —> Read More