Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Five Faces of Facebook

Facebook only exists so we can look up people we knew when we were young and compare our lives to theirs. I mean, at least if you are over the age of 25. It's a cold, hard, fact. We can all pretend that we are just "socially networking," joining clubs, and supporting social causes, but really, all we are doing is comparing weight gain and eye wrinkles. Have any doubt? Look at the profile pictures.* There are roughly five types, and all are designed to let people from the past know just how well the person in question is doing.

1. The Glamour Shot We all have a picture of ourselves that we love above all others. And sometimes, that picture has little basis in reality. That is the glamour shot. While it is technically a picture of the person in question, you wouldn't necessarily be able to recognize them in public using it as a basis. Usually taken at some kind of social event, not necessarily in the past five years.

2. The "Look I found someone who loves me despite what everyone might have thought" Shot This one comes in two varieties. The first is a picture of the person in question and the object of their affection. The second is the person in question in full wedding regalia. Both give the same message: I am married, and so I have won. It doesn't matter if the marriage is unhappy, or the bride was bought from a catalog, everyone who looks at the Facebook profile will at least know that person is married. And that's what counts.

3. The "Look I reproduced" Shot I don't know why babies are seen as currency in our society, but they are. These pictures let everyone know that the person in question is doing well in the genetic stock market. In some situations these profile pictures are only of the children, which at first gives the strange impression of eternal youth, but really usually is just an indication that baby weight has not been lost -- even if the kid is in their teens.

4. The Obscured Shot This is my favorite, and the one I use the most often. It is a picture of the person in question, but shot in such a strange way that it may not be obvious that it is a person at all. The picture can be out of focus, or shot from a distance, or taken from behind (usually not a good choice though), or from a Halloween party. It is supposed to give off the vibe of being artistic, but really it is all about covering up flaws without using Photoshop.

5. The Random Shot A cousin to the obscured shot, this one could give off any number of impressions: funny, artistic, mystical, socially conscious. The only important thing is that it not feature any kind of human form that could in any way be construed as the person in question. The reasons for using such a shot are the same as in the obscured shot, only much more vehemently felt.

Have I ruined Facebook for you? Good, stop sending me those damn fruit faced Green Patch kids. They creep me out. And if I haven't? Well, I hope I have made it easier to navigate the pictures you see -- so you know what they are really saying.

*All photos were found searching the name "Mary" on Facebook.


an ordinary Saffa girl said...

hahaha so true... FB shows only what people want you to see... and I found a bloke who used a photo from 20 (yes, TWENTY!) years ago... hello???

Dunc said...

Brilliant, and so true - off to go un-tag myself from the less flattering photos out there on FB.....

Wendy Weiler King said...

can't.... type.... laughing... too hard.

So what does a picture of a DOG say about you?

Emily-Ione said...

It's true! I like the partially obscured photo option . My wedding pics don't really look much like me and for God sake can you imagine what a glamour shot of me would look like? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I have no offspring and crazy cat lady though I may be I do not refer to them as "furkids" (~~shudder~~)

Yup bad half obscured pics are the way to go.