Your profile photo is your online identity

When you leave your home to go to a party, walk to the shop, to the office or down to your local pub, you don’t leave your face behind or put on a mask to disguise who you are.

Social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are very powerful tools for professionals looking to move up in their careers. Powerful tools for business owners who want to generate more business.  Social media sites give you the opportunity to create an online brand identity so that you can boost your visibility and expand your options at a global level.

When a person fails to upload a valid image of themselves it conveys a message of distrust and insecurity.  As a business you are conveying that you don’t care about your image/reputation and  it looks unprofessional.

As an active online surfer, you would seriously need to impress me for me to hang around and read your profile or pay some form of interest in you.  If I’m shopping in a store and a faceless person came to serve me I would be asking why I’m not able to see their face and it would put me off completely.

If your argument is that it is for security and safety reasons, to avoid shady and creepy characters  then I have to ask, are you not creating an image of being shady yourself by not posting a photo of yourself?  In the real world, whether you walk down the street, attend a party, visit the pub, you are never 100% sure that there are no shady characters. In fact, there are shady characters lurking in families.  Watching Dexter last night reminded me of this.  Dexter has been a serial killer for 20 years and no one is the wiser.  He comes across as a normal intelligent man with a family, a good day job and he is even more trusted being in crime investigation.

If you are or have experienced abuse or harassment from certain online people, then they have violated that privilege of connecting with you and with others. Surely, this gives you the right to expose them?  I would politely reply to them and let them know they are out of line.  Let them know you do not appreciate the tone in their message and you do not appreciate these types of messages and if they persist or continue communicating in this fashion, that you would be left with no choice but to report it to the community leaders and to expose them publicly.   Either they will get the message or they will be stupid enough to continue.    Personally, I unfriend anyone who tries to chat me up.

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Romany Thresher

Online Presence Brand Strategist
Romany Thresher is a strategic thinker and natural connector with a talent for identifying opportunities for your business or venture. Organising, and overseeing your online digital systems and processes for your webinars and virtual events.  Website set up, email communications,  social media marketing and set up registration and feedback processes.  Ensuring that you collect the necessary information to help you obtain a better understanding of your customer’s expectations. Romany adds value to your business always being on the lookout for new opportunities to connect like-minded individuals who can add value to each other for a mutual benefit. Assisting you in online networking, lead generation, and giving you ideas and strategies to develop relationships with key stakeholders, sponsors, partners, and suppliers in your industry.  Working in the background so you don’t have to.  What do you need to implement and upgrade in your life and in your business and who do you need to align yourself with so that you and those you work with and collaborate with can make a positive impact in your collective environments and communities?  Let’s find out!

Let us know what you think







15 responses to “Your profile photo is your online identity”

  1. Kimberely Branscom Avatar

    Fantastic blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any tips? Cheers!

    1. Romany Thresher Avatar
      Romany Thresher

      Hi Kimberly I always recommend going for the paid option. WordPress is free it is the hosting and the domain you pay for and it is not that expensive.
      Having your own domain and your site hosted on it is a lot better for many different reasons.

  2. Billy - Bid4Me Auction Services Avatar

    But what if your avatar is your company logo? Isnt that the same? I am building a company and a reputation, surely it wont make that much of a difference if it my face or my company logo?

    1. Romany Thresher Avatar
      Romany Thresher

      Hi Billy

      There is no problem using your company logo at least it is better than an egg. At least a person can then associate that it is a company. However, I do also want to point out that people buy people. We are naturally attracted to seeing a person’s face. At the end of the day it is about what brand you are building and how you want to build it. If it is your personal profile, yes use a photo, if it is your company profile, then of course go with your company logo.

  3. LadyBizBiz Avatar

    This is an ‘evergreen issue’. I know from my own work in social media curation and moderation with extremely large groups of members (5,000+), within certain #LinkedIn Groups that I am hired to moderate.

    Looking back at this blog post and reaffirming what I said way back in June, however, I notice that my own Gravatar has died!

    [Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums].
    You can get one here:

    So having checked my Gravatar’s registration is actually still current I’m wondering why it isn’t appearing here …. I’ve tweaked the settings, so let’s see if it now works here on Romany’s Blog.

    RmG aka @LadyBizBiz

  4. Lawn Care Hockessin Avatar

    outstanding post! great advice, will take on board!

  5. Romany Thresher Avatar
    Romany Thresher


    Thank you for your great comment, I must say I have not been bold enough to say to people why don’t you have a picture of yourself on your avatar? Well done.

    I will only follow someone with no image if I have personally met them otherwise I don’t bother.

  6. LadyBizBiz Avatar

    I would like to comment on the original thread Face Off – Face On. This is my perspective on it – it is a critical mission to set up your brand profile if you are to be taken seriously.

    I see lots of new accounts being set up in Twitter where people haven’t yet got a grip of the whole concept of presenting a brand profile. When this is the case I usually give them the benefit of doubt and follow, but only if their content looks promising. If this fails to satisfy then I will not follow.

    If their content looks very promising I will follow and send a tweet out into the either politely pointing out to them that many more people would probably follow if their profile was completed satisfactorily. This usually has the desired effect and they also thank me for the ‘figurative kick in the butt!’ It also has the effect of drawing people into that persons account.

    Having an identifiable Avatar does help to build confidence. To begin with a constant Avatar is important but later on it doesn’t much matter as by this time relationships have been cemented. I would recommend telling your followers that you are about to change your pic so that they can be forewarned. When you are well established on Twitter changing your Avatar does in fact add interest for your followers.

    I thank Romany for this discussion, noting that it was first posted in early November 2009 and congratulating her on presenting issues for discussion that are ever current.

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Robert Zarywacz, Romany Thresher. Romany Thresher said: Why don't you want to show us who you are? […]

  8. Helen Stothard Avatar

    I have only just switched over on Twitter to a photo rather than my logo. It came in response to a comment from someone I follow, commenting that they didn’t know what I look like. In hindsight I probably should have done this sooner but felt that the quality of the picture had to be right as well. I have settled for a temporary photo and intend to get a professional shot taken in the very near future.

    I do prefer to view profiles with photos, but it wasn’t a conscious decision not to use a photo in the first place.

    In answer to the subject of online harrassment I know it takes place and try and ignore it, reacting to it just gives the harrasser value, and importance that they don’t deserve.

    Whether I am interacting with someone face to face, over the phone, or virtually I believe they deserve the same courtesy, the same respect and the same honesty, regardless of the vehicle used to communicate.

    Think before you post, take a moment and ask yourself if you would say that to someone face to face, could your comment be misinterpreted, and then, when you have taken this moment and reviewed your words, you can post.

    I am saddened by some of the examples of harrassment that I come across online, but hope that people see that social networking is a hugely valuable resource, and are able to look past this petty minority. Social networking is a place for sharing, entertaining, educating and advising, and when used properly is of great benefit to individuals and companies alike.

    1. Romany Thresher Avatar

      Thank you Helen for your valuable comment.

      I too prefer a photo of the person rather than a logo, it makes it more personable and yes I agree that you should have a good photo of yourself, if I did not, I would’ve done the same as you and posted my company logo until I got a decent photo. I think it is a worthwhile investment to pay for a decent photo.


  9. Mark Barton Avatar

    I agree that by not putting an image of your self on twitter, blogs, facebook, LinkedIn, ECademy etc you are going to miss out on quite a bit.

    I am writing this on Friday evening when I have been going through the #ff that people have posted. There were quite a few that did not supply an image. Did I follow them? Two I did follow as they were very new to twitter so I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they would get an image fairly soon. The rest were ignored. I do know several women who are massage practitioners & they are able with the use of a suitable photograph to reduce the inappropriate comments / connection attempts.

    Badges – tips
    How many times have you been to a networking event and the organisers provide badges & people are wandering around half the evening with a curled up piece of paper on their lapel with a badly written name in biro. I have a badge that sits in my pocket at the ready. It has company logo and my name in bold & 30 font size. always put it on my right lapel so that it is in line from shaking hands follow the arm and you see the badge & name. I also keep it fairly high on my lapel so that it is a small distance from the face to link the too. From a male point of view I wish more women would put their badge higher on their clothing so it doesn’t look like I have wandering eyes when trying to look for a name & a clue as to what they do :-0

    Yes there are some people out there who I would cross the road to avoid, there are others who I prefer not to break bread with. No one should have to cope with abuse either on line or in the ‘real world’. As you say people do have tiffs – been there & I say ‘sorry’ more these days. I also fill emails & tweets with 🙂 or 🙁 just to put what I am saying in some sort of context.

    We should be here to build people up. Try & say something positive when ever you can. Thanks for letting me ramble on like this & I hope that someone finds a nugget in this that helps you along.

    1. Romany Thresher Avatar

      Thank you for your comment Mark, yes I agree, if you are a masseuse and you use a business like photo of yourself it would deter the weirdo’s.

      Thanks for the tip re the name badge to put it higher that is a good tip.


  10. Heather Townsend Avatar

    People forget that to do on-line networking well, you need to do the same things as you would if you were face-to-face at a networking event. This means having a face on your profile.

  11. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by directassist and Romany Thresher, Romany Thresher. Romany Thresher said: Face off – Face on @markbnorwich, what are your views on this? […]