The tyranny of a picture

Probably the biggest determinant of whether you are going to get a reply from that MBA hunk or the sporty lawyer on an online matchmaking website is your profile pictures.

There, I said it. I hear you protest – that can’t be true; what about my native wit and charm, my professional heft and my intellectual gravitas? Do they count for nothing? Surely looks can’t be the most important factor in choosing a life-partner?

And you would be right, but not in the world of online dating. It sounds desperately shallow and yes there are exceptions but for a majority of the male species, your profile pictures are what would turn them your way (or away).

So here is my hypothesis. That insolent guy who ignored your Like message on iBluebottle, he would have definitely talked to you had you met at the workplace or at a friend’s gathering. Politeness would have been a factor (it doesn’t appear as rude on a website to ignore a compliment) but more importantly he wouldn’t have been burdened with all the romantic baggage the online dating game brings. A Like message on iBluebottle indicates an explicit romantic gesture however minuscule, and people are going to be far more cagey.

You can’t blame them really. When you talk to someone face to face, there is a shared atmosphere and you quickly get a full sense of the person. Browsing an online profile is a completely different proposition. Even though iBluebottle’s famously comprehensive profiles are far better than other websites, there isn’t any body-language to help in your assessment. So your pictures become the main focus.

I believe understanding these differences in online and offline prospecting can be useful in your search.

A picture

Given the fact that your pictures are so important, and that you can’t pass of Katrina’s pictures as your own, what can you do?

Firstly, don’t be that gal who is too cool for her pictures. You might have tons of attitude but a profile picture is not where you show it. So smile, unless being morose is your default state. Face the camera directly and spare everyone the filters. You have Instagram for that.

Secondly, upload pictures that have you as the centrepiece. Not pictures where it requires a magnifying glass to make out your features. That pagoda you visited in Thailand, no need to show that in all its glory. The pagoda is not looking for a partner, you are.

Thirdly, get the technical stuff right. Ensure that your pictures are bright and clear. You might like dark moods but again, no need to display them in your pictures. Never ever ever (as Arnab would say) upload low-resolution pictures. They indicate that you do not think it is worth the effort to present yourself in the best possible way.

Bad pictures do a profound disservice to your profile, which would have taken you considerable time and effort to complete. Replace them and you just might be surprised how inviting your profile becomes. If you don’t have good pictures handy, go out and get them.

As narrated by a female iBluebottle member who noticed a marked uptick in her Likes after she replaced her pictures with better quality ones.