Profile Pictures… A Look Into Ourselves

Now this is just a more random musing rather than anything having to do with travel, but I found this to be quite interesting as I did this today.  If you’re so inclined, you can participate in this exercise while you read this.

Open up your Facebook News Feed, and start scrolling through the posts in your feed.  You’ll see each of your friends’ profile photos in thumbnail size, and be able to see a macro view of how that person sees themselves, and perhaps, a bit of where their identity lies.  It’s funny because you’ll see a range of photos posted in these small boxes, from selfies, to pictures with friends/significant others/children, to logos of sports teams or other stars.  Once you done this, return here to read more.

I find that with the profile picture, it’s our one statement to the world as to how we’d like to be represented, and as such, a dominant persona in how we see ourselves.  For example, many of my friends have photos of themselves with their child, or of their child alone, in their profile pic.  They likely root their identity in being a parent, and could be considered the dominant role in their life, or perhaps that their child is the most important thing in their life.  Others have photos of themselves with wives, husbands, or partners, which likely equates to their identity rooted in being a strong wife, husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend.  Many of my single friends have a range of photos, some with smiles, some contemplative, some with sunglasses on, faces half in frame, and for me, I’ve got a deep fried frog in my mouth.  Now, I’m sure one could psycho-analyze the hell out of what all of the different looks mean, but I’ll refrain from diving into all of that, and just psycho-analyze myself here.

I’ve noticed that my profile picture often ebbs and flows with my seasonal moods.  As I look back on the dates of the photos from my year in Hong Kong, the dominant photo (in terms of time spent published) was a corporate portrait for my company, which is by all means, where my identity was rooted at the time.  Currently, as I embark on starting a travel business, I’m feeling quite adventurous (and am CLEARLY attempting to demonstrate that by eating strange fried amphibians), and am seemingly attempting to portray that image outwardly as well.  It definitely made me stop and think for a bit and it felt worthy of a post.

I’m curious, as you now go back and check your own Facebook profile picture…  What is it that you are showing to the world?


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