Are You Off the Radar?

January 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

This post is an extract of an article that originally appeared in Manhattan Quarterly

Pictures and other visual aids have been used in commerce and popular culture since somebody first daubed a picture of a bison on a cave wall to illustrate their hunting prowess. According to research by Digital Trends, some time during 2014 active cellphones will out-number the world’s population and since the majority of those cellphones are camera-enabled, visual content and communication is not going away any time soon.

 

For social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter; pictures are critical to fuel visitor engagement. In fact, on these sites, without a picture your profile is not regarded as complete and your input is not considered as important as others who have taken the time to upload an image. Simply put, if you don’t at least have a profile picture your posts and status updates are basically off the radar

 

That said, there are plenty of ways to get it wrong and I see many, apparently sophisticated, professionals who have profiles pictures that: 

  • Have been cropped (badly) from group photos
  • Show them dressed inappropriately (usually taken while on vacation)
  • Have been taken with a computer’s onboard web-cam (usually low-res and with the subject looking vacant and off-camera)
  • Are self-portraits ('selfies' in the vernacular) with crazy angles because they're  usually taken with a phone at arms-length
  • Are incorrectly sized (digitally) for the particular application so they appear fuzzy or pixelated (LinkedIn is the favorite for this)
  • Are poorly exposed so they are too dark or burnt-out (unrecognizable either way)

Our world has always been a visual place and we are becoming more visually aware and hungry with the access and growth of digital technology. For businesses and working professionals a visual presence has never been more important or had the potential to be more widely broadcast and as you can see from my own profile picture above (current at the time of writing), you really don't have to be a movie star! But since the phone manufacturers are keen to place a camera in the hands of everyone on the planet, the need for quality as a key differentiator has never been so great. 

 


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