What It Implies When You Have No Profile Picture

DISCLAIMER:  This post is sure to offend anyone and everyone, and quite frankly I don’t care.  I’ve been storing this one in the deepest, darkest caverns of my brain for quite a while now and it has to get out.

We’ve all seen this.  Many of us may even have a contact with this for their  profile picture on Facebook, LinkedIN, Myspace (I know … who still uses Myspace?), Meetup, or any of the other hundreds of social network sites out there.  When a person chooses to not have a profile picture on any given online profile, they are suggesting a few very specific things about themselves, all of which are the antithesis of being “social”:

#1  It implies you feel you are horrible to look at.

I told you this might be offensive, but ultimately when someone does not have a profile photo on Facebook or LinkedIN (or whatever), an initial (and terribly material) assumption is that the person thinks of him or herself as being less than attractive.  Maybe you’re a woman with a full beard; possibly you’re a man for whom the size of your entire face is roughly 1/8th the size of your nose.  Perhaps you are just like the rest of us going into our thirties and wondering when, exactly, the break-outs are actually going to stop.  To not have a photo of some kind on your profile, though, suggests that you have something you want to hide.  I think this would apply much more to a dating site, and in fact I recently saw an article suggesting that if a person has no or waist-up-only photo of themselves on eHarmony, Match, etc., that they will usually be passed for fear that they will break every mirror in your house.  It’s still true, faithful blog followers:  we live in a material world and are all a bunch of material girls.

#2  It further implies that if you are not horrible to look at, you are terribly narcissistic and paranoid.

Here is something one of my family members recently said to me in regards to his choice to have no profile photo on his Meetup.com homepage:  “I don’t want all kinds of perverts and predators looking at my picture; the last thing I need is a stranger getting off on my photo.”  Let’s first give you a mental picture of this family member:  he is in his mid-50s, roughly 250 lbs, generally wears khaki shorts and flannels everywhere he goes, and spends the majority of his time drinking Coors, playing video poker, and scratching his unkempt mustache.  So my first response to this is that he should be so lucky to have anyone looking at his photographs online obsessively with the fires of lust burning below the keyboard.  My second is simply:  how, exactly, would complete strangers swooning over your oh-so-debonair picture affect you anyway?  Lastly, this reeks of a paranoid narcissism; as if the entire world is out to find pictures of you, not to mention they are all looking for those pictures to lust after you.  With over 800 million people on Facebook alone, not including the number of people on any number of the 200 or more social and dating networks out there, I have a hard time believing many people are intentionally sought out to be the victims of pervs anymore.  There’s free pornography for that.

Anyone who legitimately fits into #s 1 or 2 (as in, they actually do not post profile photos of themselves for one or both of these reasons) needs to be smacked in the face and told to get over themselves.  And in fact, of the people I know who do not post photographs of themselves on their online profiles, many of them refrain from doing so for reasons similar to these.  There are a few more things that the vacant slot in the photograph slot suggests, though:

#3  You are too goddamn inept to figure out how to upload a jpeg.  Very possibly you do not even know what a jpeg is.

#4  You are too goddamn inept to even log in to your profile page again after signing up.  

#5  You think you are above social networking and online living, despite the fact that it has been credited as being essential for living (and working) in the 21st century.  (I really hate these pompous assholes.  I really, really do.)

#6  You really and truly believe that you are too busy to scour through your millions of digital photographs for that perfect shot that captures who you are.  For Christ’s sakes, if anyone on the social network thought this much about their profile picture, the world would have a dearth of crappy, fuzzy, and poorly taken (read: camera phone pointed at mirror, tilted sideways) pictures for us all to make fun of.  Get over yourselves, you aren’t too busy to snap a picture and upload it.  No episode of Dancing With the Stars is that thought-consuming.

Shall I continue?  I think you get the point.  Having no profile photograph at all is just plain obnoxious, and it implies quite a bit about you that me-thinks you’d rather not have implied.  Now, I’m not saying that this is necessarily what the case may be when a person chooses to go photo-less; but it most certainly is what us ignorant underlings of Lord Zuckerberg and his buddies over at Google, LinkedIN, et all have conditioned us to assume.

Next up on the docket?  Keep Your Kid’s Diapers Off Facebook

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  1. Ulrich Nielsen

    Your only valid point is number 1. Not everyone has a nice looking face and they know it and they feel bad about it. There’s no need to put them down to feel better about yourself. The rest of this article reeked of pretentiousness and edginess and none of the other points are valid at all, you’re reaching.

  2. JESSE

    I agree with the post, I’m sorry having no picture is like walking out in public with a bag on your head and interacting with others. The reasons are silly that in the comments….secret agent, don’t want to be part of marketing as if they care what you look like you are still being tracked. It’s not essential to have an online social media profile, but even our president (don’t change subject to him please there are enough blogs already on that), local government, shows on tv, friends you haven’t spoken to in years that have changed phone numbers 5 times that can be easily found, business’s, promotions, recruiters for new careers. There is a lot of crap on them too, but there has always been a lot of crap everywhere it’s not new. My point is, it’s not crucial that you be involved, I think you just isolate yourself from opportunities out there and from people you forgot you cared about or maybe people you don’t know you care about because you never met or wouldn’t cross paths otherwise.

    The post used some offensive language that didn’t really need to be on here, but that is exactly what I think when someone says hi with now picture….I’m wondering why the heck they don’t want me to know what they look like and it’s just weird to talk to someone especially if unknown without a face in mind.

    Why do you need to be so private? What are you doing that you don’t want people in your life to know about? I understand work/personal separation, but why can’t you show yourself, your work knows you have a personal life and your personal life assumes you have a professional life. There is definitely something more to not putting a picture up. Shy? you don’t have to talk to strangers, but whats that have anything to do with hiding what you look like. If you don’t want me to see you, you might as well wear a bag on your head when you go grocery shopping next time. It’s the same thing to me.

  3. HotASFguy

    Bitch next time try to be kind and respect others feelings . and please do upload another pic of yours after removing those 2.5 kg of makeup on your face.

  4. Pavel

    This is one of those posts where you tell things that are plainly wrong, and think it is really edgy if you say “i know it will offend someone, but i don’t care”, and feel really smug and cool about it. But, in reallity, you are just wrong and unreasonably cocky, not edgy or original or cool or anything of the sort, really.

    Some people use facebook just to connect with friends they are actually friends in real life, and join groups, not to make imaginary online identities. Having a picture or not is irrelevant to this. And if you think that facebook’s privacy policy is actually secure and respecting of privacy, then i’m sorry to say that’s not the case. Some of us do not enjoy being subjects of international marketing tracking and researching that is so profound that it borders on privacy invasion. As a data analyst who has some experience in the marketing world (which i abandoned for reasons concerning ethics), I would know something about this. Facebook and Google in particular are major offenders in this.

  5. Christena Schmidt

    Kill yourself Christena.

  6. lomash

    I read only the first few lines…. and its all bullshit. People have various reasons for what they do…. and social media is the last place where people have to be consistent or keep up to the norms of what other are doing. There is nothing wrong with people not putting their profile pic, the problem is you are an asshole who doesn’t understand that social media is not the place where real life happens.

  7. Anon

    Um..maybe they’re just shy? Or they don’t want others to see their real faces? So what? This is none of your business. Some people don’t use the internet since they don’t want to use it, and frankly, don’t need it. This is none of your concern and it doesn’t make them a pompus asshole. While the internet is a huge part of most everyday life, it’s not necessary for survival. If you were narcissistic, you would probably post your picture online since you think you look so great. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you hate people with no profile picture for some weird judgemental reason, it’s the fact that you’re taking that so seriously without thinking of real reasons of WHY they have no profile pic, mixed with your wording. I know you might get mad after reading this, but honestly, just like what you obviously thought as well, I don’t care.

    1. Sarah Braun

      Bravo!! I deactivated my FB account years ago, enjoy a successful career and the company of good friends despite not having a social media presence. It feels good being ‘weird’ lol

  8. Romy

    I am not sure if you’re getting any right about these ‘psychological’ analysis, but I am pretty positive that the reasons you gave tell us a lot about you, and it seems a bit twisted.

  9. Paul

    I don’t take photos of myself and don’t allow others to do so either except for formal reasons (passport, etc.) I have never (in my 38 years) seen a photo of myself that I’d be comfortable showing people I know, let alone anyone else. As such I don’t have any photos to post. If people don’t like me simply because I don’t post photos, that’s their loss.

  10. Geeko

    I put a blank photo, but not for any of these reasons. I just needed a clean break and wanted my profile to breath for a bit.

  11. Sophia

    Social networking is not essential for living and working in the 21st century. Neither my partner or I are on any social network sites as we have no interest in them and we’re doing just fine.

  12. john

    I am not good looking but I can find a good pic to post online, it is not about how I look, it’s about being very self conscious, you can’t understand it unless you experience it, there are also other reasons too, you don’t want to express your feelings online and let everyone you ever met in real life recognize you and know you deepest feelings, probably depends on what you say online and how much shy you are, regarding your family member excuse, he just not telling the truth and you’re naive enough to believe him.

  13. WhiteMan

    I hate all people who has pictures of them on Facebook

  14. Samee

    #1 Is completely dumb because we have so many picture editing apps and filters.

  15. Javed Shaah Bhunnoo

    Dude you have issues.

  16. darude sandstorm

    What if the person is an undercover LE operative. What do you say to that?

  17. Charlotte Wackett

    I don’t want to be defined by one picture nor submit to what Facebook, other people think is socially acceptable. Facebook has become a platftom for insecure braggers, bullies and dullards
    . It’s utter tosh, a waste of time. I’m only still on it as certain apps require you have one but I’ve recently written a status saying I will not be checking it any longer, that I am available on email. I resent having people’s lives shoved down my throat, feeling like I should be liking it. Perhaps now they’ll be more to talk about when I meet up with people. Get off Facebook, get your life back.

  18. David C.

    I remember around 2010, 2011 when the Facebook craze made people write things like this. Of course Facebook is still huge, but it was at the height of public conversation around that time

  19. Sunny


    Those examples are possible, Ms. Schmidt.

    But let’s also consider that it may be for legitimate security concerns. If you think having your facial feature identity (and full name with it) available to many anonymous millions online is safe, then perhaps you are unaware of technological security concerns or have been fortunate enough to not have had your ID stolen, had your photo adulterated or misrepresented, been stalked, etc. It is sad, but this stuff happens. Just ask your local police chief.

    So, maybe some of these people are simply practicing caution with anonymous strangers. As in, they would rather be safe than sorry. Of course, there still may be pics of them online, but this would significantly reduce the odds of being victim of negative or malicious activity.

    It often just boils down to a personal choice (or sheer ignorance, naivete, or nonchalance).

    That said, If folks are concerned for such privacy and security, I would suggest consideration of posting a profile photo of themselves with sunglasses/hat on, in a shadow, with low resolution (fuzzy, grainy, blurry pic), or from afar where you can not see their face.

    Or, they could choose a unique image of anything other than the face. That way, at least there is an identifying, visual association with their account and communications, without compromising safety or security. I have noticed a lot more people doing this. They will use a sports mascot, pet photo, cartoon, avatar, etc.

    As another reply-poster already conveyed: If “friends” already know you, then they have an idea what you look like. FB is not a dating site. So, any image should be fine. If someone must see a face or be annoyed, then perhaps it is more their own issue rather than that of someone else.

    1. jessicameowsica

      I agree completely and I’m so happy to see someone who isn’t bashing the writer/post.

  20. i was expecting something deeper

    I have no profile picture on FB because I use FB to keep in touch with friends, and my friends already know who I am, how I look like, and what I do. Strangers who look up my name will see no picture; but does that matter? I do not know them, and they do not know me — we care not for each other. And I hope by the time that stranger gets on with his or her day, they would not be so bothered still by that no-picture profile of that nobody that they ran across some hours ago.

  21. tuppick

    Why no photo? Social fecking horrible crippling anxiety good enough for you? The fact of having been the victim of horrendous bullying for years? I know it’s not a real problem in many peoples’ single dimensionsal brains but it is a thing and it’s frigging hard to win social media if you’ve been in that situation. Maybe not having Facebook at all would be the answer but once again it means letting the bastards win. I get that this post is meant to be a light and flippant observational thing, fine. But I hope you don’t mind if I take it as further reason why people really are as ridiculous and horribleminded as teen movies, magazines etc make out. What can you do?

  22. Paul

    Amen! The only other one is that, like me you’re not all that tech-savvy and/or you’re rather in the stone age and don’t even have a cell phone or your own computer… so things would generally be a bit more challenging.

  23. myais

    I don’t have a profile pic because I have social anxiety. I’ve also masturbated to many facebook profile pictures.
    You can call it paranoia, but not narcissism.

  24. Luka

    Lol. I don’t have a profile picture at the moment just because I didn’t really like my last one after all, so I deleted it, and I don’t want to look like one of those people who just takes a new profile photo for a short while and then changes it back to get more likes. (cause that’s fucking annoying).

  25. Alexandra

    This is ridiculous. Maybe people should stop making assumptions about others based on what an online profile is like. Honestly I’d rather have no picture and a life than a profile full of pictures and trying to prove something to others

  26. Artur

    Never in my entire life have I read an article of such foul quality.
    I’ve had periods both with a profile pic and without. It’s only a whim. You come up with naive theories to explain the lack of profile picture and go way off the mark… think twice before you write something.

    1. Joss

      Really? Never in your life?
      Clearly Artur is both horrible to look at, terribly narcissistic and paranoid

  27. Nate

    I was not fond of this article, specifically the point about those choosing to omit a photograph being narcissists. I’m not sure you fully understand the meaning of the term…

  28. Write Zilla

    This post doesn’t anger me at all. And I’m so glad someone brought this up, because people without self pictures are so annoying. I’ve seen people online that I’ve talked to that are less than attractive, but that doesn’t bother me. I’d rather look at them than staring into blank space or dealing with someone that has a bag over their head. Why do people think it’s ok, not to have a self pic? It’s just very annoying.

    Anthony Weiner’s self pics don’t annoy me. I don’t even understand why people made a big deal of it. Looks like he’s got pretty good ‘junk’. The issue is how does he perform his governmental duties. That’s what people should have been focusing on. I wish we could fire some of the quacks in the FDA that aren’t doing or haven’t done their job. And they haven’t shown their junk to everyone – not that we’d want to see it anyhow.

    You even have these types of jokers on dating or hook-up sites as they are often called because the point of those sites is to get your booty call on. Yet there are some on these sites that have no self picture, yet they want to get laid. Huh? Wow, makes a lot of sense. I guess they expect you to be pleasantly surprised if you meet them in person, or just accept their ugliness and do a mercy fuck.

    1. Brad

      So you think your sheepish mentality is NOT annoying? Care to give any proof that having a picture actually has ANY affect of one’s actual attractiveness, the quality of the interactions amongst members or efficiency of finding compatibile people? I bet you can’t. No because you’re just part of this growing epidemic of social media fed puppets who don’t even realize that you’re being brainwashed. How ever did people meet before internet or how did people ever tolerate newspaper personal ads. Stop trying trying to fault others for your lack of imagination. It’s usually the same people going on about other people’ s pictures that spend years and years cruising dating sites with absolutely no success, which is no surprise at all given your priorities. The “realest” people I’ve met online did not have photos. Go figure! !!

    2. Doctor

      stop categorizing people .. and according to your theories your profile picture should be anything but yourself.. maybe try a hippo taking a bath in a river.

    3. Cc

      Why have such an angry opinion about an online profile anyways? Who the fuck really cares??? Clearly u let the little things bother u, and its not worth it!!! Opinions opinions..just like assholes, suck sometimes

    4. Pavel

      That is just opinion, op. A terribly wrong opinion.

  29. lol

    this article is not offensive at all i haven’t a profile picture of myself in months, yes self esteem is an issue i used to have pics and my depression would trigger id delete all pics of fb deactivate my account and put airplane mode on my phone slowly getting better id reactivate and turn my phone on, but id never put a picture up.

  30. Jacqueline Baker

    I don’t have a profile picture cause I think that the blank face reflects my personality 🙂

  31. 5 More Things You Should Stop Doing on Facebook Now « Heather Christena Schmidt

    […] have written – you can see it is a well-spoken of topic here.) Although, it would appear that no one is listening because everywhere you look on the Internet, people are committing social networking faux pas […]

  32. Keep Your Kids Dirty Diapers Off Facebook | heatherchristenaschmidt

    […] Your Kids Dirty Diapers Off Facebook Yesterday we talked about what it implies when you don’t have a profile picture on any of your regular social networks.  You know, that blank image of a man’s silhouette […]

  33. Heather Christena Schmidt

    Ame, it’s been years for me as well! I just never understood why some people do not have one still.

    JP, Question Mark Heads says it perfectly.

    Glad to hear you both enjoyed it!

  34. Jeremy (@takeshikitano3)

    Agreed, hilarious. And I believe on Yelp such people are referred to as Question Mark Heads.

  35. Amelia Wayne

    Ok, this wasn’t offensive, this was HILARIOUS. I, too, have been nursing this little eye-twitch-worthy notion in the back of my mind for years.

    Thanks for getting this one out in the open.

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