As much as we don’t want to judge a book by its cover, it happens more often than not.  The cover of the book might not say everything about the book but it does say something about the book, or offers a peek, so to speak, into what the book is about, even if more might lie under the surface.  It is this premise that I bring forward to apply to Facebook profile pictures and what it says about a person.

Not saying something is also a way of saying something.  Keeping the profile photo blank (as the photo above indicates) would say something about the person who chooses to do so.  Putting an inanimate object also says something about the person, as does a cartoon character or a character from a movie/TV show or a book.  Personal photos are also telling in the sense that it makes one wonder why the person chose the particular photo over others.

What has been interesting are the profiles of couples–of people who “are in a relationship with” so and so.  Provided that there is nothing to hide about their relationship, which is probably why they have publicly stated that they are in a relationship, it’s interested how there is usually a difference between how many couple photos they display on their profile images as opposed to solo photos.  It is almost tempting to surmise who is more enamored by whom in the relationship, though it might or might not be accurate, an impression is certainly forms.

There can be an argument in saying that Facebook profile photos can be deceiving–as would a lot of online personas but it would only be 100% deceiving as long as there are only a few very carefully controlled photos up and no photos that other people have tagged or comments on the walls.  Each interaction would invariably lead up to some disclosure of the persona of the Facebook profile owner, and so does each photo they choose to upload as their profile photo or otherwise.

Barring some psychopathic tendency for deception mixed with a very high level of talent for subterfuge, Facebook profile photos are usually telling.  Most people who are private and secretive would either not have a Facebook profile or not be active at all.  In this context, it would be interesting to find and read a study of relationship and/or mental health and Facebook profile photos because just glancing through profile photos, it can be quite telling as to the imbalance of a couple’s relationship or who is more into whom.

This might be painful to hear but each action we do or do not do is a symptom of who we are inside and what our priorities are.  We might not want to admit the truth to this but actions do speak louder than words.  Words often can be more deceiving than actions… and at the risk of being trite, it has to be said that a picture does indeed say a thousand words.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to images