If a picture paints a thousand words…

If a picture paints a thousand words then what does your LinkedIn profile picture say about you? I have noticed over recent weeks that the pictures that people are using on their LinkedIn profiles are becoming less about professionalism and more about pout!

I am aware, as I should be, that social platforms are used by different people for different purposes and this is what makes them so appealing – but I have yet to find anyone who uses LinkedIn to socialise in the truest sense of the word.

Now call me cynical but this sudden influx of ‘the pout’, which would be better suited to Facebook, could have something to do with the recent changes to the privacy settings on LinkedIn, which now allows teenagers from as young as 13 years old to join the network.

Whereas I have no problem with career minded teenagers wanting to build their networks or to share their knowledge with the world – in fact, far from it – I do feel it is important that they know what they are proposed for.

Also, if schools and colleges are to promote the use of these platforms, as they presumably now will in career studies, the first thing that teachers need to explain is the pit falls – fundamentally, in this case, that LinkedIn is still a professional social tool and not Snapchat.

One suggestion would be that schools and colleges work more closely with agencies who are willing to invest some time in giving talks to students to advise on how to use social media for professional reasons and which platforms could work best, depending on their preferred career choice.

The problems arise because unlike Facebook, which blurs the lines when you consider consumer businesses, I don’t believe that this is the case for LinkedIn and so find it hard to understand why someone would want to display an image of them pouting proudly in their preferred ‘selfie’ but this could just be me.

In a world where we should be ever more aware of the audiences that we are sharing our information with, I find it hard to believe that professional people would really want to promote themselves under the description of potential recruit or business owner while brandishing an oversized glass of wine, an undersized ‘cleavage revealing’ top and a pout that a glamour model would be proud of – and that’s just the men!

As I said, perhaps it’s just me but can we ban the pout and stick with a good old head and shoulders shot – I would certainly be more inclined to do business with someone who takes a professional network like LinkedIn a little more seriously.

Or am I just getting old?