Sometimes it pays to be up and working at 2:30 am, because just a few minutes ago, LinkedIn’s Senior Product Director Adam Nash announced on the LinkedIn blog that starting
today Friday, LinkedIn users will be able to add pictures to their profile.
According to Nash:
Adding a profile photo is one of the most commonly requested features for the LinkedIn profile, primarily because many people (like me) tend to recognize their colleagues and classmates more reliably by face than by name. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and with this feature we hope to make it easier for people to form richer professional connections online.
They’ve obviously put some thought into this one. A few key features:
- You can only post one photo. It’s intended to help people identify and relate to each other, not be a photo sharing site.
- You can control the privacy. Make it visible to everyone, just your network, just your connections, or “No One”. I’m not sure I get the need for that last option, though — if it’s not going to be visible to anybody, wouldn’t it be easier to just not upload a photo?
- Online cropping tool. I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like the photos may have to be square. Or at least maybe a standardized aspect ratio. Anyway, LinkedIn has included a cropping tool that you can use to crop your uploaded photo to their standard.
- Flagging option. They learned their lesson from Answers — not everyone is always ethical or appropriate in their use of the tool. You can flag photos as inappropriate, copyrighted material, an advertisement or misrepresentation.
In another change of pace, LinkedIn also announced this to the media. It’s already been covered in:
- Associated Press | LinkedIn to let users post photos
- Business Week | Smile, You’re on LinkedIn
- CNET | With addition of profile photos, LinkedIn is faceless no more
- Venture Beat | LinkedIn finally adds user photos
I’m really glad to see this. As we quoted Esther Dyson in Chapter 15 of The Virtual Handshake:
Photos are what make those sites feel like real communities, and they are an endlessly compelling medium, even when they depict people you don’t know and will never meet face to face.
I strongly recommend getting a professional quality headshot done if you don’t have one. They’re not nearly as expensive as they once were. I recommend LookBetterOnline.com, which gives you a session with a local photographer and 12 digital shots for just $149, and you own the copyright (be careful about using portrait studios — while the prices are low, they usually retain the copyright and the images are not licensed for commercial use).