Here I reflect on my social media profile image, what it says about me and how I might create a more accurate image of myself.
The first question is which social media profile? Social media takes different shapes and forms – Linked-in for a business face, Facebook for friends and family, Facebook Page for photography, Outlook profile for in-office hours, Flickr for photo sharing, and so on. Do the various channels of social media reflect our need to project different sides our identities to the variety of interest groups to which we might belong? Or should we project a constant identity in across all our social spaces; or else we play to our different audiences and risk confusing our true identity?
I have set identity across the channels. Facebook currently shows a Union Flag in tatters, reflecting my feelings about Brexit; my Outlook profile shows no image – the image was over 10 years old, so I removed it and have not yet arranged to replace it; Linked-in shows an image a couple of years old in which I was aiming to appear business-like; until recently Facebook showed a picture of teenage-me (the featured image for this post) that was recently shared by an old friend. Who am I?
On reflection, as an image maker, I should present a consistent more accurate image of myself across channels. The current approach partitions aspects of my identity – it doesn’t feel right to do this. Unawares, I am working hard to project a different aspect of identity depending on the situation, while suppressing other aspects.
Having reflected on the question, what identity should my profile present, I now consider creating a different image of myself and return to this post with an update, when done…
A week later – I decided on an unconventional portrait, featuring just my hand holding a hand-stamped plectrum. This describes my unconventional aspect (an accountant who’s an artist at heart) and my life-long love of the guitar. Also visible is the shadow of scarring on my thumb from a childhood accident – acting almost like another finger print.