A few months back I wrote about Facebook’s functionality of “People You May Know” on Uncover the Internet and I mused on how Facebook’s algorithm comes up with the people they suggest.
Plaxo is another social media service I use to stay in touch with people and keep my address books current and up-to-date. Plaxo also has a “People you may know” feature and I thought it was time I provided some suggestions for how people use their profile images.
The image above is a quick screen shot from their suggestion engine. Let’s go through the different examples of how people have used a profile image.
- Laura Loy has used a cropped section of what appears to be a logo for her profile picture. I don’t know who Laura is and her logo doesn’t do anything to help jog my memory of her or why I should connect with her.
- Joe Wright has used an actual photo but it’s so far off and is a side-profile shot that I can’t really “see” who he is either. Not going to connect with him.
- Bill Crane has uploaded a great profile photo of himself to help me possibly remember who he is. It’s close enough to really see his face and there’s no wasted space on surrounding details of the image.
- Kyle has not provide any type of image and has also decided not to provide his last name in his profile as well. A quick scan of my brain’s memory banks suggests that I have met at least five different “Kyle’s” in my life, I have no idea which one this one might be, so I’ll not connect with him either.
In the examples above, Bill Crane provide the best information. A full photo and full name provided together to help me decide if I do know Bill and whether or not I should connect with him. In this case I still don’t remember how I might know him so I won’t connect at this time.
Now that I’ve said all of that I also have to say that I break my own rule sometimes with social networks. You see I have been “Bnpositive” since my first experience with AOL chat rooms back in the early 90’s. As part of my screen name I have almost always used a smiley face as my avatar of choice. It just kind of obviously fits with my screen name. On many social media networks I will use my smiley image. It used to be this classic smiley image , but now I have the custom designed brand that I’m using exclusively.
I make the decision on whether or not to use my avatar or my actual photo by whether or not the social network or application I’m using is more about my personal life or more about my online social media activity. In this case, I use my personal photo for sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Plaxo and use my avatar for sites like twitter, flickr, YouTube, etc.