I’m puzzled by LinkedIn profile photographs.
I’m certain mine is a minority opinion. LinkedIn added them because, they said, it was their most-requested feature. And the blogosphere’s reaction was generally (uniformly?) positive. The CW was that LinkedIn was responding to Facebook market pressure.
I may identify myself as antediluvian by writing this, but I think this feature is rather odd as it’s been implemented.
The photographs are only 80 x 80 pixels. Even with a clear head shot, it’s a marginally tool by which to identify someone. You can’t clearly make out many identifying features in an 80 x 80 snapshot.
They can’t be enlarged. A click-to-full-size-image feature would have been trivial, but that’s not provided. It’s so obvious that LinkedIn obviously decided against providing it, for whatever reason.
I know what my friends and close associates look like. If you’re linking only to those you know well, then you, well, know them well. For most professionals, and most contacts of most professionals, this means you know what they look like.
If I don’t know you, I would need a photograph to identify you — but I shouldn’t be linking to you if I don’t know you…
Now that I’ve said all that, I’ll take two steps back. Today, you can do business with someone whom you’ve never met in-person. It’s increasingly common to establish a relationship, get to know the other party well, strike up a friendship, etc., all via e-mail or IM.
This offers some justification for the feature. But there’s still the problem of them being so small. So I still think they’re odd.
Love me, love my dog
For my LinkedIn photo, I used a picture of my dog, Ersala. She’s standing in front of my house, holding a stick in her mouth. This won’t help you identify me, unless I bring her to our business meeting. OTOH, every time I see her I get a warm feeling inside and a smile comes to my face. So I now feel good whenever I visit LinkedIn.
I have 210 LinkedIn direct connections, and two of them also have unusual LinkedIn photos:
This unscientific sample says that 1.4% of LinkedIn users have unusual photos.