“Why would I want a stranger’s opinion? What do I care what some random person thinks of me?”
“People I don’t know are going to be totally wrong about me. My friends know me. So why should I listen to anybody else?”
At Photofeeler, we sometimes hear comments like these, and we think it’s time to set the record straight.
The reality? Your friends’ opinions aren’t worth much. Truthfully, they might even be doing you harm. That’s because your professional and dating profiles are meant to be appealing to people you don’t already know. And your friends can’t see them the way that strangers do.
How Your Friends See Your Profile
Let’s say you’re using a dating app with little success. One day, while out to lunch with a friend, you ask for her opinion on your profile.
Upon seeing your pics, your friend lights up. She giggles at a goofy photo and compliments another — one that was taken at a nightclub where your friend group gathers for special occasions. She “awwww”s at your french bulldog, Mookie.
After getting this reaction from your friend, you feel vindicated. See! She knows me, and she loves my profile. My profile is awesome. If the right person came along, they’d think so too.
How Strangers See Your Profile
Now, suppose that at the same exact moment, someone in a coffee shop a mile away is looking at the same dating profile.
Right away, he notices the picture with your tongue sticking out. It registers as a red flag. Also a red flag: the fact that half the pictures were taken at a club. Seems like a hard partier, he thinks to himself. A picture with a cute dog seems okay but maybe a little try-hard. Is that even her dog? Ultimately: this is an easy swipe left.
What’s the difference between these two experiences with the same profile? Context.
Why More Context = Worse Feedback
Your friend is familiar with your world and already has a fully-formed impression of who you are. When they see your dating profile, they can’t help but view it through a lens of what they already know.
They’re not going to have the same questions, suspicions, or curiosities that a total stranger would.
You may think you’re dropping a clue that you’re “fun” with a particular party pic, but someone who doesn’t know you can just as easily assume you look “drunk” or “crazy.”
As it is, professional and dating profiles alike are meant to be viewed by strangers. Therefore, to get them right, you need to know what they say about you out of context.
Case in Point: Celeb Pics
To give a final example of how context biases feedback, consider Mark Zuckerberg. Mark is the founder and CEO of Facebook, and most people recognize his face. Now see the picture below.
From this picture alone, would you assume the man above is smart or successful?
If you’re like most people, you will rate Zuck’s intelligence higher than average regardless of what the picture is innately communicating. (Side note: Think you wouldn’t? According to research, the more objective people think they are, the more biased they actually are.)
Alternatively, you might think the man in the photo looks stupid or evil — because your opinion of Facebook is negative.
Fact is, someone like Mark Zuckerberg — who has celebrity status — carries context around with them. If you’re not famous, you need to work harder to convey things like intelligence or success. And, sadly, your friends are too biased to be of much help! So don’t get screwed over by the well-meaning feedback of friends and family, dear one. Next time, shimmy on over to Photofeeler and get input that can propel your life forward.