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Pick the right photos to make the best first impression

by Katharine Gray

November 2011

We’re thrilled to have just launced the ability for members to add up to five photographs to their profile and to have had immediate positive feedback about it. We really do think it’s a great enhancement because photos do say so much about us – either for good or bad – which is why using more than one will enable members to provide a more rounded picture of themselves and not rely on one photograph to do the whole job.

Then by complete chance I found a piece in this weeks Daily Telegraph all about picking the right photo to make friends online. Now obviously we don’t provide any profiles for people to view online – but the principles are exactly the same whether you are looking at pictures on a piece of paper (as our members do) or online. So here’s what the Daily Telegraph reporter said:

Britons take an almost instant dislike to people on Facebook if they post pictures of themselves wearing bikinis or posing with cars, research has found. Opinions of people are formed twice as quickly online than they are in face-to-face meetings, the study concluded. The study examined several aspects of how opinions are formed both online and in real life.

The detailed examination of how opinions are formed about people also included 18 different categories of photogrpahs which are commonly used on social networking sites.

Photos which were likely to lead to a positive opinion were either a respectable picture of themselves or a shot with a sensible-looking group of friends. Photographs taken at a wedding or with children all received a positive response.

Images with negative connotation are photos of cars, which will lead visitors to a ‘boy racer’ conclusion and bikini shots which have a ‘loves herself’ feel. Other images which will lead to the forming of a negative opinion on social networking sites are shots where the subject is seen holding an alcoholic drink. Photos of them in  passionate clinches with their other half are also likely to offend, the study claimed.

It found that it takes us just five and a half minutes after seeing on online profile of photo to form an opinion about someone. But during a face to face meeting it can take as long as nine and a half minutes to make up our minds whether or not we like someone.

A spokesman for Reputation 24/7, the online reputation managmenet firm which carried out the study among 2000 people said, “It’s difficult not to judge someone whether you met them face to face or see their online presence. Seeing a profile on a social networking site will only tell you so much about a person so it’s weasy to jump to conclusions, espcially if an individual has outlandish pictures or expresses particularly strong views.”

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