Introducing #TheProfileProject

Introducing #TheProfileProject

The Profile Project is about scratching beneath the surface of the avatars we choose to use on our social networking profiles. I’m a quite a visual person and I’m always curious about profile pictures and try to imagine what impression people intend to convey about themselves in their choice of avatar. I know from many conversations that there’s often a back story to an avatar choice which isn’t always apparent or obvious.

This is a personal project in which, through interviews, I will curate the meanings that profile pictures have, what we are trying to convey, and how we may share different aspects of our personalities on different social networks. I’m particularly interested in photos/pictures as they give a more instant and visceral impression than words can ever do.

So here’s my attempt to be candid about a few of mine…

MEI change my Twitter profile picture quite a bit. The current one was taken by my 16 year old daughter who was particularly grumpy when I badgered her to attempt a half-decent decent snap of me. This photo is the final output of tons more that were rapidly deleted in quick succession. My unphotogenic features are a running family joke and my two girls once spent an entire train journey trying to get a flattering photo of me (they failed…) This photo has the obligatory Instagram filter to soften the edges (wrinkles and blemishes) whilst not being so refined that you wouldn’t know who I was if you bumped in to me at an event – I love meeting people in person who I’ve met on Twitter so a contemporary photo matters.





Facebook is where I post to my friends and family and this profile picture was taken at a party we had a few years. We had a ‘photo booth’ at the party and I love this  fun shot of my partner and I with my middle daughter. She hates this now very out of date photo of her, but says she doesn’t mind it being on my profile as no one she cares about would ever look at it…


MeSpeakingI don’t spend much time on LinkedIn but try to keep my CV up to date and occasionally upload links to my blog posts here. This photo was taken of me in 2015 speaking at a conference at The Sage in Newcastle. Public speaking used to scare me rigid but I quite enjoy it these days so was secretly pleased to come across a photo of me looking reasonably competent on the stage. I uploaded it as my profile picture as it shows me in work mode looking like I may know what I’m doing. I guess it could be perceived as showy but I’m proud of overcoming my stage fright so couldn’t resist sharing it here. Plus I have a (just about discernible) killer pair of leopard print and red heels on…


We have a rule in our family that no one can post pictures without express consent of the subject. Despite this I routinely catch my children taking surreptitious photos or videos of me and posting them to Snapchat to amuse their friends. Above are the pictures I choose to share in order to represent myself as I would want to be seen. The photos that get shared about us that we may not wish to be shared is a whole other story that is beyond this scope of my project.

Watch this space for more stories from The Profile Project in the coming months.

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