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Why You Should Always Let Someone Else Choose Your Profile Photo
Each person involved in the study brought in 12 pictures of themselves, all from their real-life Facebook accounts. The photos were cropped down to show just their faces. Then, researchers asked each person to identify the photos they would choose to post on their social media accounts—ranging from professional sites like LinkedIn to personal sites like various dating apps.
They also asked the participants to choose photos that best represented various attributes, whether that was attractiveness, trustworthiness, or confidence. Finally, a separate group of volunteers rated the photos. Let's just say there wasn't much agreement.Photos that individuals chose of themselves were ranked rather poorly on good first impression, as opposed to photos that other people chose.
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The graph above shows the difference between how individuals rated their own pictures and how others rated the same ones; clearly, there's a discrepancy.
Don't be too quick to write this off as unimportant or vain. Take it from the study's authors, who wrote,"Research suggests that choosing the right image may be critical—people's first impressions from profile photos shape important decisions, such as choices of whom to date, befriend, or employ."As if that's not reason enough, the effects are larger than social ties and personal interactions. Impressions gleaned from photographs are far-reaching, encompassing professional and political settings."Profile image choices are likely to have a significant impact on the way people are perceived by others.We make inferences about an individual's character and personality within a split second of exposure to a photograph of their face. These impressions have been shown to predict important and diverse real-world outcomes—both online and offline."
So now you know.Whether it's a professional or a personal portrait, take it to a friend before posting.Fresh eyes will do you good.
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