Thursday, December 15th, 2022

A lament on LinkedIn’s need for a selfie

Selfie of a smiling idiot who left his thumb over the lense

According to received wisdom, posts on LinkedIn with a selfie get 10-20% more engagement than those without. This, the pop psychology goes, is because we connect with people and want to engage with them.

Small problem. Some of us aren’t comfortable taking selfies. Some of us don’t even like having our photo taken by someone else. We prefer images of kittens and flowers and memes to showing the world our acne scars and bad hair cuts.

Selfie of someone shorter than the camera is high

I’m one of them. My dislike for “the selfie” beyond a happy holiday snap with Mrs H is matched only by watching overpaid men in shorts running around kicking a ball. You can imagine the hell I am in right now.

My solution to this “problem” other people have is to create a caricature. A fun, smiling chap derived from the 1950s retro themed characters I’ve been doodling. That’s what you’ll find on every social media account I actively use. It’s even on my website (link in comments, of course).

Selfie of someone who was out of frame

But not LinkedIn. While HR has largely dropped the practice of demanding images lest bias creep in, LinkedIn continues to demand it. Bias is outsourced as our profile photos (stress photos) must be of us and include our likeness. We are expected to ignore any shyness or reservations, hold up our phone and snap away. Hence the abundance on this platform of stiff formal headshots, chaotic snaps from a night out and every embarrassing variation in between.

Times change, and apparently I must change with them. I must adapt to the demand I gurn widely at a camera held at arm’s length. Or pose in front of a slightly dusty mirror and flex my post-workout muscles. Perhaps lean on a high-end Mercedes in the hope you think it’s mine and not on a dealer’s forecourt. Yes, this was taken at 4am as part of my full-on path to success. Yes, I know the shadow clearly shows it’s midday.

Selfie taken with the front camera capturing a smashing pair of Donki crocs

With that the last bastion of my privacy is knocked away. The selfie exposes me to the world to be judged and recognised on the strength of a single, badly taken image. And if I am going to be exposed, it’ll be on my own terms.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.