What Does Your Profile Picture Say?

July 15, 2010
Blogosphere is an amazing world, with each blog speaking its own mind, having its own personality.  Your profile picture and your profile name is the window to the reader to your little world.  Do you give enough thought before choosing a picture ? Do you know it can have tremendous effect on the reader's decision or otherwise to check out your blog or not?

Various people choose many types of pics - self, other's,  cartoons, animals, things, slogan etc.

On the basis of my observations of profile pictures in blogs or social networking sites, I have tried to bring about a few things about what does a particular profile picture signify about the blogger.


CELEBRITY STUFF :  Either you love the celebrity too much (ideally you should find a better way to express it!). But seriously speaking, it shows non seriousness towards blog and also lack of confidence in one's own looks or personality.


LOVE- FLORA AND FAUNA :  Someone using an animal, bird or flower etc can mean two things, one that the person draws a parallel with the prominent, well known characteristics of the living being.  Like a lion, for being royal and powerful, a penguin for its innocent and sweet looks, a sparrow for its chirpiness  or its ability to fly freely and a flower for its beauty.


NATURE AND OBJECTS : Same goes for things of natural beauty, like sky, clouds, river, fire.  Here, for example,boundless sky is an expression of one's broad mindset etc. Objects like earthen lamp or light signifies hope in the time of despair or being a self made person.

PICTURES OF SELF/HUMAN FACE.  This is one sphere which needs maximum elaboration and its quite interesting.

A passport kind of a pic shows someone very serious, especially serious about one's image and one's blog and wants a proper representation of his identity on his blog.

A close up of the face of the blogger with light, smiling and pleasant expression shows the person is social, with straight forward approach towards the blog and has nothing to hide about him/herself.

A Side cut of a face, musing, thinking, shows the person either wants to partly hide his identity and secondly wants to highlight the thinking, ponderous side of his personality.  If thoughtfully chosen by the blogger, then such characteristics like deep observations and  thoughts would be visible in his/her blog too. (This one is my personal favourite!)

PICTURES WITH FACE HIDDEN (PARTIALLY)

YOU DON'T KNOW ME :Hiding the face completely means the person does not want to reveal her identity at all.  But relates to her blog hence puts her touch to the pic by darkening her pic, avoiding the exposure of face  but pics of  body parts like hands, feet may used.  It also adds an element of mystery and the pic remain very individualistic.

THE BEAUTIFUL ME : Hiding the face partially and highlighting a beautiful feature of the face, say only eyes, or the flush of a cheek, hair, only ear with earrings etc is another interesting thing that I have noticed.  It signifies that although the person does not want to be recognised or revealed but wants to draw attention to that feature, which surely he/she rates as very good.

EYES :  This is most commonly seen, one eye in close up.  (That makes me laugh always, it looks like retina scan to me!)  Its weird and that is what the blogger wants to show

NUDITY : Display of obscene gestures, nudity or showing off one's intimate body parts, even partially, is all attention seeking behaviour or else it can mean that the person is giving a window the the content of the blog.  ( can see the glee in your eyes, u guys!!)

MESSAGE FREAKS :  Some people like putting message/thought on things like a T-shirt as profile pic.  Again shows need for anonymity and telling the reader his/her attitude about a thing.  Moreover its quite imaginative  also.

GIRL IN THE CLOAK :  sometimes, in order to avoid the attention of non-serious male readers/bloggers (who are mouse-clicking happy to see a pretty face!),  girls choose profile pics which are non-descript.

ATTITUDE - HAVE IT FLAUNT IT - some profile pics show certain body language showing highhandedness, arrogance, superiority or "couldn't care less" attitude, say a pic of lower limbs of a man sitting with feet up on a working table.  Its OK if you have attitude, but then that should be the shade of your blog too.
The only point I want to make here is that its alright to have a profile picture whatsoever you choose, after all you are the best judge and its your blog, but having a profile picture, and for that matter a profile name too, congruent to your blog, the flavour, the feel of your blog is important. After all,it can affect your blog traffic, when the pic is too bland or uninteresting or repulsive.

Lastly, in no way I am saying I am an expert on this, everything above is purely my observation and my perception.

Have fun!


A Restless Mind With
A Sensitive Heart!

34 comments:

Restless said...

Interesting blog. What intrigued me was that you use 'A Restless Mind with a Sensitive Heart' as your ID.

My own blog is http://restlesssouldier.blogspot.com - The Restless Souldier.

Do visit to find out why 'SoUldier' and not simply 'Soldier'!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ restless! for a moment I was baffled to see how did I comment on my own blog?! was i sleep typing?! So, restless, surely will see ur blog. thanks!

Purva said...

very interesting!! i have written something similar albeit my post talks about the picture words paint about the person...

UB said...

Wow...this is one interesting post. Loved the description

Addy said...

interesting and intelligent post! :)
"Likes it"
Never thought of profile pic in this context, I used three different profile pics (based on your categorization) I am confused where I belong! (usual me)
Never mind, enjoyed this one. Will keep this in mind when I decide my profile pic now. :)

Vikram Karve said...

Excellent analysis. You are right - a profile pic tells us a lot about the blogger as also the title of the blog and the handle (whether the blogger uses her real name or pseudonym)

Nalini Hebbar said...

That is a wonderful insightful post!...the name and profile say so much about the person.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ Purva. thanks! shall read ur blog too.

@ UB. hey upasana, thank u so much!

@ Addy. thanks 4 visit! am glad u liked it, i didn't disappoint u after saying so much abt it. didn't get it used 3 pics, where? in ur blog? lemme chek. thanks again!

@ Vikram Karve. i am so glad u like it. made my day!

@ Nalini Hebbar. Its always a pleasure to see ur comment! thanks for compliment!

Addy said...

disappoint me? you enlightened me! :)
the "3 pics" explained:
first, I used a photoshopped pic of my (serious) face against a background that had fire (in shape of phoenix) - dark gothic and all....
then, there was another photoshopped one with just my smiling face (grinning actually) in grey scale.
and now the "right now one".........

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

hey Addy! just checked ur blog. where is ur pic?? ur profile pic is not changed. really wanted to c, anyways, let me know.

Shilpa Garg said...

That's wonderful analysis and got some new insights! Its true a picture speaks a thousand words!! :)

Sharbori said...

hmm, very interesting. i use a self picture in my blog, wonder what will you say (http://sharbori21.blogspot.com).

pretty observant, well written and a good try. how much of it fits with other people's thoughts and expressions of themselves? have you received any feedback?

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ shilpa garg- Thank you so much!

@ Sharbori - will c ur blog shortly and comment!
I got ample feedback on the post, but i wanted ppl to leave their profile pics here to be analyzed. I love to do that! and dear shrbori u r the first one, who said what i wanted to hear! Will do that.

Actually, later it struck to me that i can request my blogger pals here to come up for analysis of pics. have left links with 2-3 of them.

In fact, two of my known bloggers changed their pics after i gave them some observation.

thanks for ur input dear!

KG said...

That's indeed a very good observation. Over all a good descriptive post covering the gamut of profile picture types used.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ KG, thanks! now can i ask u why did u choose this profile pic of yours? any answers in the post?

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@Sharbori - checked your blog! you use your picture on the header of the template of your blog. hmm, my feeling is that you are in love with yourself! People who admire themselves are most likely to do this. Let me know how wrong or right i am!

thanks,

restless.

Hiyaa said...

Hey! That's a nice post. Very interesting to go through and you have caught the essence of things here.
Keep blogging! and thanks for visiting my site.
Cheers
Hiyaa
http://thedefinitivemeltingpot.com

Geeta Singh said...

this is really a very interesting post...
I must say u r a good observer ..

"just a pen in my hand" said...

nice....u hv got me thinking nw...lets c...

Niket said...

Am in a search mode now...
I hope u would be 'Restless' enough now to have a peek at http://niketgupta.blogspot.com/
:)
and btw, this has made me follow you! Enjoy!

Lalit Patnaik said...

Nice observations. An eye-opener of sorts. You seem to have put yourself in category #6 :-)

Vee... said...

my profile picture doesn't fall in any of those categories. i wonder what you would conclude about me by looking at my profile picture

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ Hiyaa - well, just tried to, u can also add a point, which i have left out.

@ geeta singh - thank u dear!

@ just a pen in my hand - :)

@ Niket - i will always be restless enough! checked ur blog,left comment. thanks for following me!

@ Lalit Patnaik - bang on! thank u lalit!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ vee - first of all the name, "vee" does that mean "we", as u have more than 50 members who write the blog collectively?

secondly, i thought, u r a girl! but was shocked to read "male" in the profile. Your profile pic clearly suggests a little thinking a little upset girl. why did u choose this pic, can u tell?! am curious!

restless

Varadha Yamunan said...

So, that was a nice perception, indeed..Hats off..Profile picture ofcourse, plays a remarkable role in gathering the attention of the readers. Right.

But what do you think about the role of the author's name?? I guess, you would say, "it has nothing to do the the visitors". If not, then why have you concealed your name?? :)

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ Varadha Yamunan - thanks a lot!
Profile name is equally important, but i don't think u can change it once u have created it, or may be not so easily can u change it. So no point saying abt a thing which we cannot change. shud we not focus on what we can do rather than what we cannot?!

Profile name is an equal attraction, no doubt! I have created a name which best suits my personality! and anonimity is my prerogative !!

thanks for appreciating my point!

A Restless Mind With
A Sensitive Heart!!

Vee... said...

Restless Missy -

My name starts with Vee and hence my profile name and I am the sole author of my blog. Repeating your words, how does a name matter when I want to express my feeling and emotions in my blog.
As for the name of my blog - Psyche means innermost self or mind (Its also the name of a beautiful women from Greek mythology. I guess this is the reason for confusion). For me, my blog is the face of my personality and my thoughts.
That profile picture I used is actually of a kid. Somehow I felt it symbolizes mental beauty in an abstract sense. May be the disturbed look on the face is because the boy got thinking about things!

And, are you really restless?

~Vee...

Gouri said...

Great post, restless! I changed my profile pic after reading this post ;)

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Hey Vee - thanks for replying! ah, i see u gave very deep thought before choosing the pic and name. it did confuse me, cannot lie.

I have a restless mind!!! so the pseudonym.

@ Gouri - thanks for not misunderstanding me, my efforts were genuine! am so happy that u took it rightly and changed your pic too! its a feather in my hat! thanks a ton to writing back for me too!! btw, hve seen the new pic! its nice... more boyish!!

take care.

restless

Sharbori said...

read the comment. In our language (psychologists) it is called narcissistic orientation. I guess I have to be in love with myself more than i am with others ... however, all my life i have struggled with not liking myself more than liking myself. the picture was taken by me and i liked the pic so much that i put it up on the blog. therefore, i won't disagree with your observation. :-)

on another take, narcissism in popular parlance has been portrayed very negatively, whereas a little bit of narcissistic orientation, i.e. loving oneself unconditionally is a very healthy process. Narcissism is an integral part of every human being as only when you learn to love yourself, can you offer the same love to others; otherwise, we depend on others to make us feel truly loved.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Hi Sharbori, am glad i could observe your blog and say something about it correctly. Your words mean a lot to me.

thanks a ton for sharing your views and yes the knowledge part also about narcissism.

take care

RESTLESS

shettennavar said...

I must record my appreciation for the thought you have given to the profile photo. I read your reply on the indiblogger forum today, after two weeks and took your advice seriously. Thanks for appreciating the choice of my picture on my profile. Keep the good work.

Dibakar Sarkar said...

Fantastic!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ shettennavar - thanks! am glad u found it useful.

and really happy for that !

@ dibakar Sarkar - thanks a ton! and welcome!!

RESTLESS

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