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June 14, 2012


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Great post. I still need to change my Twitter photo so something a bit less stoic. Smiling is definitely out of the question since I chipped my front teeth. Once I can get some dental work, I'll be changing all my profile pics to happy ones : )

Louis Gudema

Definitely - I do not understand people who do not have their picture on their LinkedIn profile. You're definitely reducing the value of your account, or the likelihood that someone will connect with you.

Louis Gudema
Vice President of Business Development
Overdrive Interactive


I had a connection request on LinkedIn from someone with an initial for the first name and a photo of lion for their profile photo. I questioned them: who are you? why do you want to connect? He responded appropriately, then questioned why I questioned him. I told him I was leery of connecting with anyone professionally that didn't have a professional photo of themself on a professional platform. We communicated a few more times, he got snippy about his 'being a real person' and tried to convince me that we needed to connect. Really. I'm keeping the InMails for teaching.

David Meerman Scott

Brian - If you have a chipped tooth - that's you!

Louis - exactly.

Charlene - I don't even question. I just don't accept the request.


Coming from an IT Security Background I see most people think that by not putting there picture up it instantly keeps them safe from some of the threats of the internet. The part I never get is that they are the first ones to then put their birthdate, check in everywhere (even their home), share very intimate things.

It irritates me even more when they put a picture of their kids. I guess I like to protect the privacy of my daughter why would I expose her so people don't have to see my face!

Wolfgang Koch

The topic is somewhat vast when trying to consider the breadth of social media and the diversity of their purposes, so I'll just address LinkedIn here. Personally, I am all for profile photos, and in my opinion, headshots with a near-neutral backdrop work best. And yes, a profile with no image looks somewhat bland, especially your "business card" that shows up when you are on someone's list of "people you may know."

With that said: Many job seekers are rightfully concerned about discrimination based on ethnicity, age, or looks in general. For others (job seekers or not) in LinkedIn's global village, the idea of having their likeness displayed online or photographs of their likeness in general may conflict with their value systems or other cultural considerations.

A logo in lieu of a headshot is a good alternative in the face of these concerns. When the logo in your LinkedIn profile is devised deftly enough to reflect the individual's professional brand, they can even use it on their business cards and letterheads. Now that is branding consistency—"necessity" turned into a virtue!

Wolfgang Koch
Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Bill Gluth, Creative Thinker for Business

Great observation, David, and something I learned from you a while back. If you aren't showing the REAL you, why do I want to follow, friend, +1 or whatever your dog, cat, flag, egg, favorite historical character, etc. The answer, I probably don't. I wish everyone has a chance to read and consider this idea.

David Meerman Scott

Rj - If they are scared of something, why join the network at all, I wonder?

Wolfgang - I understand what you're saying but I just don't agree. If you are being considered for a job, your looks will eventually come out. And if the company discriminates, you wouldn't want to work there anyway so why not get it over with. You don't get as much when you hide (no matter what the reason). For example, I do not accept people who want to connect with me on LinkedIn and have a logo as a profile photo.

Bill - Yes. Glad that you considered this a while back. Great photo!

Bruce Nunnally

Good take-away: On Social Networks you are your photo -- you will be received the way you present yourself.
This suggests more questions on what to address in the About page or site info as well -- What type of interactions does this person offer, or what resources can this person connect?

David Meerman Scott

Bruce - you're right - "about" pages are a great opportunity to tell about yourself but most people ignore the potential.

Adele Revella

Your post made me want to schedule a face lift. :)

David Meerman Scott

Adele, are you kidding? You look great. (!!)

Melonie Dodaro

Choosing a photo to attach to my brand is definitely a hard one to make. I want something that conveys the real me and how I do business. I sure hope that I have made the right choice. Cheers!

Sandy Allen

If you have photos done professionally - make sure to let your photographer know you want a square photo. Its surprising how many clients just tell me they just want a pro head shot. Cropping is not as easy at it seems, and what looks good at 512x512 may look horrible at 48x48.

David Meerman Scott

Sandy - Great point on the square photo. I had my photographer do two versions for me.


as a rule, I never friend people on linked in if they don't have a photo of themselves. if you are afraid of 'who, or what your are'...i'm afraid of you.

 Louise Middleton

I know some people make inanimate objects, animals, quotes, movie character, book cover, etc as their primary picture to make a statement or to show people what their interests are. But this is inappropriate for a professional profile. It would be better too keep a separate account for your private/personal life and professional affairs.

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