We live a huge portion of our lives in the digital sphere. Our online self is an extension of the IRL version of us, and is thus carefully curated by us. So, what if we’re not as great at picking our avatars as we think?
A study led by Dr David White, a psychologist from UNSW, looked into how our self-selected profile pictures are practically perceived by people scrolling through our social platforms.
“Selecting profile pictures for social, romantic and professional sites is a common task in the digital age, and choosing the right image can be critical,” David says of the study’s aims. “We make inferences about an individual’s character and personality within a split second of seeing a photograph of their face. These first impressions can influence important decisions such as whether someone wants to befriend you, date you or employ you.”
Considering 1.8 billion people worldwide have an active Facebook account, and further, that employers tend to check social channels when considering a candidate for a job, it’s a fair consideration to look into how best to select the correct profile picture to represent us digitally.
“We make inferences about an individual’s character within a split second of seeing a photograph of their face. These first impressions can influence whether someone wants to befriend you, date you or employ you.”
Across the 600 participants, the study uncovered that self-selected images weren’t received as well as images that had been selected by strangers.
“Our study shows for the first time that people select more flattering profile images for complete strangers than they do for themselves,” David confirms.
So, maybe it’s time you employ a pal or your barista to choose your lead image.