... because that default silhouette clearly states that your plastic surgery's gone bad. Point blank. Oh, doubt it, don't we? Who am I to affirm? A Ph.D. in psychology? No. A Ph.D. in Facebook? Indeed (not literally, not literally). From all those duck-faced lassies in their bathrooms to those buffoons holding their gadgets, from those footslogs in track pants to those wannabe models, from self-acclaimed photographers with nothing but an expensive D-SLR in hand to mothers holding their wailing kids and getting clicked - every damn picture you put as your profile picture on Facebook gives a sneak about your personality. What's with biting your nails, mate? Just recalled your current display picture on Facebook, didn't you? Heh.
So what if there are millions of users squandering hours on this website? The rules of putting up a profile picture are, indeed, the same. Mmm, let's take a few examples of people's profile pictures you'll find everywhere on the planet of Facebook - you with a group of friends in a party, you looking anywhere but into the camera, the quintessential Photoshop product of your face that now has a hundred added effects, a picture of your pet, a picture of your spouse and you, and how could I miss, a picture of you in your very own bathroom (with an album of 29 more photos in every possible angle, at the same place). Just a few minutes of reading the following standard Facebook profile picture styles, just 12 examples, and you'd see all the people in your friends list with a new eye. Let's find out to what extent can people go to appear interesting. In case you didn't notice, the keyword here is appear.
The 'Yo! We're Gonna 'ave a Party' Pic!
What we see: Duh, trying to make your ex jealous, girl?
A smoke in one hand, a glass of wine in the other, vibrant red lipstick, micro-mini and strapless tops... yeah, smokin' hot you look, but do you know what your friends think about it? A) You're enjoying your life so hard that you have to share every moment of your hang-outs with your Facebook pals. B) You're just trying to make your ex go green. Either way, people think your life is awesome.
The 'Self-Obsessed Duck-Faced' Supermodels
What we see: Hey, that's your bathroom in the background, isn't it?
The Disney people called. They want their ducks back on the Disney channel. Yeah, that might be the quintessential 'oops-I-accidentally-got-clicked' shot, but no, it doesn't hide your imperfect jawline, and definitely does not make you look sexy. Personally speaking, Donald Duck does a far better job. Your lips are beautiful the way they are, woman. No need to give the duck cartoons a run for their money.
The 'I-Am-So-Ugly-I-Put-A-Car-As-My-Profile-Picture' Shot
What we see: Oh, please tell me you're a transformer. Please?
I have two theories. No, three theories regarding your profile picture. 1) You recently joined Facebook, and didn't know what to put as your display pic. 2) You're an automobile engineer, and the only thing you've ever lusted is cars. 3) You think there is a large number of girls who fall for guys who own awesome cars (Eye-opener: They fall for cars, not pictures of cars). Which one do you fall in?
Heavily, Heavily Photoshopped
What we see: Too bad I've seen you in person. Nice effort, though.
Friend clicks your pic, it doesn't come out that good. You go home, add every possible effect in that pic, and BOOM! You're size zero from size-12, your face is blemish-free, unnecessary stuff erased, and the male eye-balls are already in love with your pic. People who like to add effects to their photos are generally mysterious, self-absorbed, and would never want you to see their true self. Not to be taken in a negative sense, but they like to keep the enigma alive.
The 'Mah-Pet-Mah-Family' Snap
What we see: Oh, we thought it was you in that pic.
A pug for a profile picture? You love it? More than your friends? I thought so. However, when one visits your profile, they want to see you, and not your pet. Of course, it's a different case if your pet has a Facebook profile too. We get it that you are a kind of person who loves their furball more than anything, but, umm, when I click on your profile, I'd want to see yourphoto, and not your pet's. Just saying.
The 'My-Girlfriend-is-Hotter-Than-Yours' Pic
What we see: Get a room you two, for heaven's sake!
Aww, you two kissed in the rain? That's so... sweet, and cute, and hell personal! Well, annoying to those who're single. Seriously. You know what's much more annoying? Those heart emoticons (<3) that are all over the comment section. Guess who comments on those pics? None other than the girlfriend herself! We can see you two are just too much in love, and don't seem to see anyone beyond your partner, but the truth is, it becomes harder to figure out the individual in you. Correct me if you must.
The Expensive Stuff I Bought
What we see: Yes, of course, we know you robbed a bank yesterday. Stop showing off now!
You buy a bike, you put it as your profile picture. You purchased an expensive handbag, it goes on Facebook the very next hour. Did you know that people think you're just showing off your stuff? Well, not always, though. People who're too shy to put their own pictures on Facebook often use their stuff as their display pic. I understand if it's your usual stuff that you put as your DP, but a D&G handbag with its tag captured more than the bag itself? Dude, now that's a turn off.
Either your friends don't believe you that you really went on a vacation to a famous country, or you just want them to go green in envy. The third case is, you genuinely want to share the experience with your social-networking friends. Good good. Your picture shows you love traveling, enjoyed every moment in Italy, and hence, are successful in making your friends jealous of you.
The Photo in Your Passport
What we see: Ever heard of angle shots in a camera?
Dude! Who puts a passport-size photograph as their DP? It looks like your photo was lying in the 'Lost and Found' section for ages. However, I agree that people who put a passport-size photo as their profile picture are generally care-free, and don't give a damn to anyone. They believe in showing their real self, and don't get bothered by what others say. One more thing, they haven't heard of the phrase 'edit photo' in their entire life.
The 'I'm-a-Devotee-of-Obama' Picture
What we see: Yes We Can. Yes We Can. Yes we can put our own profile picture too.
If changing your profile photo to Obama could change the world, Mark Zuckerberg would become the most powerful man on Earth. Still, people who put politically enlightening snaps as their display picture are aware of current affairs, and are strict disciples of Barack Obama. Even their status updates talk about changing the world. Way to go, people. Yes we can change the world. If only we log out from Facebook, and step out of our house at least once in the entire day.
The 'Someday-I'll-Replace-Naomi-Campbell' Photo
What we see: Huh, she looks hot only in her photos.
This is, perhaps, the one category I find extremely useful. If you're an aspiring model, and you put one of your professionally shot snaps as your profile picture, people get to know about your aspiration, and the appreciation you would get from your friends will definitely boost your esteem. It's a great way to publicize yourself, and build contacts. Just don't upload 400 pics in a single album - no one wants a narcissist in their friend list.
What we see: Jobless you were, I knew. Now faceless, too?
Some people are fond of appearing funny in their profile pictures. I'm not talking about the funny expressions they try to give, but their photo selection. Putting funny quotes, cartoons, and satirical one-liners as your profile picture shows you are fun-loving, love to mock, and still a college brat at heart. Yes, it's funny most of the time, and you create a cool impression on people who appreciate sense of humor. Those wondering how you look would be disappointed though.
Never thought our Facebook profile pictures could speak so much about us, did we? Those researching self-expression on social-networking sites must be feeling awesome right now. A piece of suggestion to those who can't stop fretting: Put any picture you want, but don't stand next to someone who looks hotter than you. Just a tiny piece of advice, you know.
Note: The author has, at some point of time, fallen under all the 12 categories mentioned above, and is now looking to hide her face somewhere.