What Your Social Media Profile Picture Reveals About Your Personality

woman taking selfie on smartphone

If you're like most people, you don't just snap a pic and instantly upload it as your profile pic on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Tinder or LinkedIn or -- you get the idea. Choosing the "right" profile image is a process that takes some serious time. After all, you need to try different angles, lighting, backgrounds, and facial expressions -- not to mention have a friend or two weigh in and give their opinion of which shot of you they like best.


But the image you ultimately choose as your profile pic speaks volumes about the type of person you are. (And we're talking personality, not just what you look like.)

Recently, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, and Shahid Beheshti University analyzed profile images from over 66,000 Twitter users. What they found: The type of pics we use to represent ourselves largely depends on our personality.

The highlights:

If you're conscientious ... You're apt to choose pics that are natural but bright and colorful. AND you'll convey the most positive emotion out of any other group here -- yep, even extroverts.

That may seem odd. Conscientiousness, after all, means you're all about orderliness and planned behavior, not necessarily off-the-wall with happiness. But that's exactly WHY there's so much smiling going on here, researchers theorize. Conscientious people PLAN to look happy and agreeable.

If you're open-minded ... Your picture's going to rock -- in quality at least. People who are all, "Hell, yeah, let's do it!" tend to post the best pictures in terms of sharpness and contrast.

If you rank high in imagination and eagerness for new experiences, your face will be larger in the frame and there's likely something artistic or unusual going on. (And probably more than, like, you "holding" the Eiffel Tower in the palm of your hand.)

If you're extroverted ... It won't just be YOU in the pic, but a gaggle of your besties. And you're going to be grinning from ear to ear because hey, this is you in your element.

Extroverts also gravitate toward lots of colors. No B&W here. You'll likely NOT be wearing reading glasses. And, a bonus: You'll probably look younger in your pic than you really are.

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If you're neurotic ... your pic is gonna be simple. Less color, less fuss. You may be looking away from the camera or hiding your face. And chances are your expression may be blank, or at least hard to read.

And not to perpetuate a stereotype, but ... science says that you're probably wearing glasses. (BTW, neuroticism doesn't mean "nuts." It just means you're more apt to feel negative emotions like anxiety or moodiness  -- but in the most endearing way possible, we're sure!)

If you're agreeable ... you might not post a high-quality shot of yourself. In fact, it's likely to be kinda blurry. But, whatevs. You'll be smiling and the image itself will be cheerful and bright. And your easygoing self will be easily conveyed to others.

The takeaway from this insight? Although profile pics give us the ability to CHOOSE what and how other people see us -- whether it's an honest depiction or not -- we rarely stray from who we are at heart.

Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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