Profile Pictures Through The Years
For no reason other than nostalgia, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane of the handful(ish) of photos and graphics I can remember using for my profile picture online.
When I started university in 2003 I was surprised to learn that ICQ was not the go-to chat app because it certainly was amongst my group of friends. So a switch to MSN Messenger presented an opportunity for a new profile photo. As I was in university, I wanted to seem cool but because the photo was taken with a terrible webcam, you can only barely make-out how cool I was1.
Within a year or two, Facebook started to take hold and I added this beauty of a photo. I used Facebook actively for a few years and then spent another several years keeping my account active but not using the service2. I have since deleted the account but for the ten(ish) years I had the account, I never changed my profile picture.
Around the time I joined Twitter I started to become less interested in using my actual photo for things I did online. Thankfully I had the perfect graphic to use. I ran a failed campaign to be on the Wilfrid Laurier University Student Union Board of Directors and I created campaign buttons with my last name and a check mark. After my loss - and in attempt to be funny - I put a big red X through it and updated my MSN photo (which is probably still my avatar on there). It was also what I used when I signed up for Twitter and was probably the first universal logo I used for any new accounts.
When we get in to the 2010s, Twitter was basically the only social network I used - my Facebook account wasn’t used and MSN seemed to have given way to things like iMessages, kik, and BBM… I had some profiles elsewhere (like Last.fm) but there weren’t many and I used them infrequently. At some point I realized that the J and K keys (my initials) were next to each other on the keyboard and with that, I found a perfect photo to use. I added a bit of a fake blur and some instagram-style filter and then replaced the profile picture for every active account I knew of.
The keyboard initials were my default choice for a while - probably 5-6 years. A few years ago I was starting to come around to the idea of using a proper photo of myself and I was able to find a decent balance with the photo below. It’s a screenshot from a video I took at a ribfest using an app that made the video look like it was shot on an old camcorder. I really like the effect and I also thought I looked pretty cool. It helped that my face is partially obscured so it allowed me to use a real photo without putting myself too out there.
Finally we arrive at the change I made yesterday. I needed to update my profile photo at work and was also getting tired of the hipster headshot I have been using. I had just got a haircut and my beard seems to be at a reasonable length where it doesn’t look too ragged. Because of my greatly reduced use of online accounts3, the only places I have had to use this photo are on the About page, on my Micro.blog page, my LinkedIn page, and my various profile photos at work.
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Please note the Che Guevara poster, my spacer earnings, the weed cartoon poster, and the mural of miscellaneous rock music stars. Just out of frame are the beer can Christmas lights. ↩︎
During this period I also changed my account name to Lloyd Braun… which led to an unintentional update on my wife’s profile page saying she was married to Lloyd Braun. Perfect. ↩︎
Facebook is long-gone, MSN/ICQ/AIM are no more, I use very few other online accounts, and as of a couple of months ago I stopped using Twitter (and removed my profile photo all together). ↩︎