The Little White Lie of the Social Media Profile Shot

We all have that friend or colleague. You know the one. That person with the social media profile shot that doesn’t exactly match their actual appearance.

Or, to be more blunt: their social media profile shot looks nothing like them.

The Little White Lie of the Social Media Profile Shot

In some cases, it’s a profile shot from 10+ years ago—making the person look younger.

In other cases, it’s almost like a “Glamour shot” (I know I’m dating myself with that reference)—which essentially is a “best self” shot.

There are many reasons people take this approach—and, in most of those cases, I don’t actually fault them.

People gain weight (mostly, as they get older).

People get wrinkes (again, age is a factor).

People lose hair (I can attest to this!).

I mean, I get it. Many of us don’t always love our appearance. And, as we get older, that’s only accentuated.

But here’s the thing. Social media is designed to be, well, social. And, that means you’re often using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Insta to get to know other people—as authentically as possible (at least, that’s what I would think).

When you start developing that new relationship with what amounts to a phony head shot, you’re not starting off on the right foot and building trust.

I had one friend who said she went to meet a person she had met on LinkedIn for coffee. She sat down, waiting for the person to show—only to find out she was sitting next to her for a long time. The person looked NOTHING like their head shot! It was an embarrassing situation.

And that’s the point. You start the relationship with, essentially, a lie. A little white lie. But, a lie nonetheless.

This hits home for me, too. Take a look at my profile shot on LinkedIn. It’s not the best shot. As I’ve aged (I’m now 47), I’ve developed a receding hairline, like many men. I’m not bald yet, but my hair is definitely thinning on top (the front top). It’s embarassing, but it’s who I am. It’s part of my appearance now. So, I figure, why run from it? Sure, I try to make the best of it by doing some different things with my hair, but for the most part, I’m not running from it. What you see is what you get.

Full transparency.

I think back to Planes, Trains and Automobiles–one of my favorite movies. There’s a great qoute from John Candy in that movie–something to the effect of “I like me. My Mom likes me. My friends like me.”

That’s kinda the crux of this little white lie. There’s no need for it. Because, most people you know (that matter, at least), already like you. They don’t care that you’re balding. They don’t care that you have wrinkles. They don’t care that you don’t dye your hair anymore. They like you.

For who you are.

So, stop pretending. Be that person. Warts and all.

In real life. And, on social media.

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