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May 20, 2010


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Jake LaCaze

Interesting timing of this post. I've been browsing on different social networks and paying particular attention to people's profile pictures. Your picture definitely says a lot about you.


Love the new pic, David! So much better than the '04 vintage. And the whites of your eyes look positively radioactive... ;-)

I don't think I could ever get rid of the hat & lei, though... too many people recognize my 'brand' now (or give me crap about it, which always makes for fun). Don't think even a rockstar photographer could convince me to switch! And to think it was a just a grab-shot one night on the lanai...

Minneapolis and PocheBeach.com


You're right Jake. Definitely interesting timing. I was also just writing a post myself about people looking like schmucks on Twitter without profile pictures, et al.

I am also using the same profile picture on all my profiles. Out of vanity actually ;-) I'm only 'handsome in a certain angle and a certain light' (credit Nick Cave). In that perspective I really like what Chris Brogan does with this constantly changing profile pictures. Looking good, bad, dressed, sloppy, etc. Pretty social I'd say!

Anyway: nice picture David. Definitely Rocks!


Cool shot!

David Meerman Scott

Thanks for the comments.

Yes Graeme - that shot is YOU

michielgaasterland - You're right. Constantly changing photos are also a good choice for some!

L. Huff

Wow, you've come a long way baby!

Anna Brindley

I hope I am hip! Hard to know these days. : 0 )

David Siteman Garland

James Bond? Is that you?


I liked the previous photo better - although you look great in the new photo, it does not make you seem as approachable as before. I'm not one to talk because my photo is a rather professional shot as well but when comparing your 2 photos, I prefer the one of you sitting on the chair.


I like the new shot! But I must say, your '86 shot looks like it came from "Yearbook Yourself" :-) (Hey, you opened the door by posting them!) Agreed 100% with the post, too. Detest it when people on FACEbook use pictures of their dogs or weird avatars. I use the same good quality photo on ALL my networks, showing a tanned, skinny young man with bright white teeth (none of which I have today!)


Love this post and it's fun to see how people change over the years. You actually did not change that much. Maybe I can dig out some of mine -- when I was not so folically challenged.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor

Bradley Holton

This site is extremely informative and has proved to be handy. Full of information and productive articles.

Bradley Holton.

The Cranky Product Manager

The Cranky Product Manager thinks your new photo looks wicked awesome (even hawt). Distinguished and knowledgeable are the adjectives that come to mind....

David Meerman Scott

Wow -- I even managed to please the famous cranky product manager!!

Thomas Scott

Good post - your photo is your brand and crucial to your efforts.

For what it's worth, I'm a fan of the 2004 photo simply because you look far more trustworthy than you do in the new photo. The big difference is just that you can see your hands and is open body language - there is a lot going on in the 2004 photo that is missing in your new one, even if the lighting is nice. When you look at them side by side, you look like someone I'd want to work with or hire in 2004 and someone who is hiding something in the new one....

Dave Martin

Not a fan of the new pic. Too serious. In my mind your brand is that of a people's thinker, a thought leader and little more casual (like the 2004 pic). The new pic seems too serious and more distant. Just cause a pro photographer took it doesn't mean it's the right one!


I've had three professional headshots taken over the last five years or so (plus a candid snapshot that I used for my Twitter avatar for a while). The vast improvement between my previous pictures and with my current headshot/profile picture is definitely due to the fact that, this time, I worked with a professional event photographer (in fact, I also booked him to shoot my daughter's bat mitzvah), rather than a news photographer (my previous headshots were all taken by photographers who were at my office anyway to shoot pictures for magazines).

Jim Strock

What a great photo! You've gone Hollywood! Will look for you on a Robert Palmer tribute video coming soon! :-)


Hubby and I have had this conversation lately, as I HATE his profile pic on his website; planned to take a new pic, but had to wait thru a bad haircut. Do you like mine? :-D


I definitely noticed your new photo. Very old Hollywood glamour! I just recently went though this process as well. I decided on a more casual shot, although I'm not completely comfortable with it yet. Some excellent points here to consider.

Debbye Omlie

New photo is great! Thanks for bringing up this subject. I have been debating this issue.

Tim Washer

I like the new one... has a little "Mad Men" going on; a little film noir. I agree with Natasha that the '04 looks a little more approachable.


As a rank-and-file reader of your blog, the image feels less approachable and welcoming to me. Nice photo, but I can't see people connecting with it on a personal level.

Props, though, for being the only male "social media thought leader" I know of that doesn't: a. shave his head; b. wear funny glasses; c. have some sort of facial hair; or d. all of the above.

Hilary Baumann

About 8 years ago I would have recommended people to be careful about using a picture of themselves mainly because of potential stalkers. That has very much changed since everyone's photo is online now.

Now I hate is the one where people use something vague for themselves ... or a picture of their kids or pets or worse ... a group shot (I know several of those faces but can't match the name to the face - great.)

Women especially - if you changed your last name since we met (and didn't hyphenate with your maiden name) and then use a picture of your kid or pet, I don't know who you are! I probably won't accept your friend request if we didn't keep in touch after school if you do this!

I would include men in this pet peeve but I don't know of a single guy who has changed his last name when he got married. :)


Your new portrait is very Don Draper -- nice -- I'm am very used to the previous chair photo but I'm sure I'll get accustomed to seeing you this way after awhile. I like a nice photo that's not too "done" a la Olan Mills in the 80s yet high quality.

Adele Revella

Ohmigosh David you look positively dashing! I'm trading out my Tommy Bahama photo for yours.

David Meerman Scott

All - it is interesting that some like and some do not like my new photo. I guess that's good since at least it is memorable... Thanks for the comments.

Mediakath: I love how your glasses work in your photo!

Holly - I like it.

Adele - No way. You've been with Tommy for a decade!


Hi David,
I like the new shot but prefer the old. More approachable and personal in that one, I thought. My own preference. I guess the key question we have to ask is what do we want to portray and how do we want people to perceive us.

Good luck with the new rock star image :)


Mary Ellen

Great post!! I often wonder what drives people to choose the pictures they do. For me, I try and pick a picture that shows me smiling and you can clearly see into my eyes. Why? Because I like to think I am always smiling, happy and positive, therefore if we have only communicated online and my picture is all you have of me, hopefully you get a sense that I am a happy, warm person. It's important that my eyes be visible, than you know whether that smile is genuine or not.
Also, is it possible that you look like you are getting younger??

Thanks for the post!


sewa elf

beautiful picture....

Fred Kapoor

Great post. Truth is that when it comes to pics, or avatars, some people believe it is worthless to worry about such things while others consider it to be crucial and very very important. I think none of the perceptions as to how important the pic is, is correct. Of course it is important to give a good image, related to the message you are delivering but that doesn't mean that your image alone will do.
Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Doug Brockway

The '87 pic looks like Darren from Bewitched.

He was in advertising. I've never seen the two of you in the same place at the same time.

Hey! Wait a minute!.........

Romana Rojas

Well I'm going with your 1998 photo it's not too serious and you look at ease.

I have never taken a photo shot but am giving it strong thought. I agree with you when I first started using social networking sites I made the mistake of putting up the company logo and was told very nicely that wasn't cool. At first I didn't get what the problem was but now after a few months I can see how important it is to have a photo there. Now I save logo's for my Facebook Page. Thanks,



I'm a very big fan of your work and respect what you have to say. In most cases, I think you are correct, but in this case, I have to disagree.

Here's why --

A am an independent consultant. I am my business. However several years ago I was faced with a crisis that is a common plot line on Law and Order SVU. (I'm sure you can do the math.) Restraining orders, etc. didn't seem to do the trick. It may be 10 years later, and I've since changed my name, but I'm not comfortable posting my real picture out on the Internet. In fact, you'll be hard pressed to find one of me ANYWHERE.

My picture is my LOGO because I want to protect my family and me.

If you are assuming that people who use their logos don't care about their person branding you may want to rethink that theory. Not all of us are schmucks because we opt for safety first.

There might be a better explanation that you're not even thinking about. You might be missing out on some great people friending you because YOU failed to ask them the question... since I don't know what you look like, can you tell me about you and why you want to friend me?

My guess is that you might be surprised at some of the answers and might connect up with some pretty wonderful people who could be real assets to YOUR personal branding in the social media by being active on YOUR behalf.

David Meerman Scott

KM - thanks for providing your input. Yes, I would say in cases like yours there may be a reason for anonymity.


You have grown more handsome with age, David. It took three professional photographers and five shoots to "capture" my personality on film six years ago. I'm still using that picture and most probably will for another six. Men age so gracefully, don't they???

ghd hair

oh, it is great!wonderful post,ha.

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