I attended a couple of networking events this week. This is part of my goal to get out there and connect with people face to face.
I like people. I really do. But around people that I don’t know, I can be reserved. When I find myself in a networking scenario, I scan the room and look to see if anyone is making eye contact or at the very least, looking in my direction. If they do, I approach, reach out my hand and begin the small talk tango. We continue dancing until we find something in common or the music dies.
I’ve been following a thread on a LinkedIn group this week:
My contribution to the discussion? I tend not to connect and therefore probably wouldn’t do business with someone who hasn’t posted a photo on their LinkedIn profile. The only way for me to get a sense of who they are besides what appears on their resume, is by seeing not only their photo but what photo they chose.
I found it ironic that one of the members who replied that she wouldn’t do business with someone without a profile picture selected a shot of her eating in a restaurant – fork in mid air.
Is this for business or pleasure?
As with my Twitter account, I don’t follow anyone with an egg for an avatar, or anyone that looks like Justin Beiber. If it’s a brand logo, I assess the company’s online engagement and relevance.
In the LinkedIn case, the question isn’t would you follow someone without a photo. It’s would you do business with someone who didn’t have a photo? It obviously resonated as there are nearly 1100 comments posted as of today.
Some referred to the fact that we don’t put (or shouldn’t) attach photos to resumes as a reason for not having a profile picture. Some thought that if you were female, older or a visible minority, a photo could contribute to discrimination. Has LinkedIn become an online HR office?
Sure, we don’t put our photo on our business cards (real estate agents excepted). But when you’re handed someone’s card, you see the owner of that card.
Being a die hard media socialist, I’m all about business doing business with people.
No matter what level your playing at, it always comes down to the personal connection you make with your client or service. I don’t think you can do that online without a human point of reference and on all social media platforms that point is their image.
Do LinkedIn member’s profile photos ( or lack of) influence your opinion of them?
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts.
A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus.
His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social".
Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.