Facebook: The Private Profile Challenges

I love nosing around other people’s lives on Facebook, sticking my nose in to every nook and granny. I suspect I’m not alone in this pastime – I’m sure many of you also click on friend’s friends to see who they are and what they look like. It is of course a great endeavour for bored single people who have thus far been rejected by the opposite sex (or the same sex if that’s your preference).

But there is a spanner in the works, a fly in the ointment, a whistle blower in the financial institution – privacy. Unfortunately privacy has become a big concern for Internet users who don’t want utter strangers to see how they live and what they do. I think this is just really mean but short of hacking their account we’re stuck with it.

00224_001There are three ways to see someone’s profile:
(1) Be their friend;
(2) Join the same network as them and hope they have allowed access to their profile for other network users or;
(3) Hope they have no privacy settings on their profile at all.

But the vast majority of people have locked down their profile and so we have very few tools at our disposal to see whether or not the person is appealing to you. Here are some of the challenges we face.

Problem #1: Image Size
Unfortunately, unless you have access to a profile, your only visual of someone is the circa 100-square pixel preview image. This is often too small to make a call on the person’s physical attributes. You can copy and paste the image in to a photo editing program and blow it up to about 400 pixels wide. This will result in very poor resolution meaning that the person will appear pixelated and you are therefore unable to accurately appraise their appearance.

Image blown up 4x

Problem #2: Unrelated images
Sometimes people put up a picture of a cartoon character, a sunset or a palm tree. This is not you. How can one make a judgement call on your physical attributes?

Problem #3: Multiple faces
This can be a hard one to call. If there is more than one face and one is markedly more attractive to you than the other then you need to use a bit of intuition to work out which one is the profile subject. Usually it will be the more prominent face but you can’t always rely on this logic. Sometimes the subject may put that particular image up, even if they are secondary, because they like how they look. Best thing to do is await an image change and hope that the subject does not revert to a palm tree.

Multiple Faces

Problem #4: This is the best it will ever be
Most people don’t put up pictures of themselves looking naff such is the vanity inherent in us. So you must remember that when you do view a picture of someone (blown up to 400 and pixelated), this is probably the best they’re going to look. Sometimes you can positively evaluate someone’s main picture and subsequently find (when you do have access to their other photos) that their profile picture must have been taken on some incredible day when planets aligned. That’s why it’s their main photo.

I had a theory about 20 years ago that you were better introducing yourself to someone looking your worst – cheap ugly coat, hair combed sideways like a science teacher, big thick bi-focals, slightly-dazed expression. Then the next time you met them, shed these shackles and look absolutely brilliant. This makes you seem more attractive than you actually are because their expectations were at such a low base.

Whether this works or not is still undetermined.

This blog is brought to you by Shallow Endeavour eXperiences.

7 thoughts on “Facebook: The Private Profile Challenges

  1. Now this one is just soooo funny! Why on earth, would you feel the need to appraise and judge physical appearances on Facebook profile piccies? Personally, I find it hard enough to maintain contact with my friends, nevermind looking elsewhere for more.

    Totally laughed out loud @ problem 4. I figure, if every time I log-on, I have to see my own pics, then it might as well be a reasonable one. Ooh, it’s hard work aligning those planets these days πŸ™‚

    Maybe we should all endeavour, to be less shallow πŸ˜›

  2. Thanks Debbie. You never know when you might rub shoulders with someone who takes your fancy, especially if they are a friend of a friend. You can sometimes find the person – even if they have a private profile – in your friend’s pictures. In fact that is often where your interest can first be piqued.

    Should we endeavour to be less shallow …. ? Wow … that’s deep …

  3. Hey hey! Should this be the time to tell you i got asked out this weekend by someone that is my friend on FB? Now, you’ve got to go and find out from your pixelated photos whether you approve.

    Lol, great blog. Makes you miss Myspace, eh?

  4. The pictures were always bigger on MySpace and people were more “forward”. So, yeah, let me know who the pixelated wonder is and I’ll investigate. As long as he’s not a palm tree.

  5. Hi G,

    I’ve never done that before but I guess if your single its a good way of finding a potential date.

    I don’t like adding people who haven’t got a picture profile and people who I haven’t actually met in person. Facebook for me is more about staying in touch with people who are friends, becoming friends and through meeting in person.

    The only acceptance to the above rule are Morten and Jonny Sjo who I want to keep up to date with their music, concerts announcements etc. If Magne F was on facebook he’d be an acception too.


  6. Hi Karen
    I think it’s just curiosity or fantasy from my perspective anyway. The fantasy part is that you see someone interesting and if they are a friend of a friend maybe you can some day meet them in some sneaky way!

    But really I just wanted to poke fun at the lengths people PROBABLY go to when trying to get a good look at someone πŸ˜›


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