Appropriate Profile Pictures

I recently composed, finalized and distributed instructions for how people can upload their

Meghan Hatalla
Appropriate or inappropriate?

own pictures to be used for in Outlook, Sharepoint, etc. However…we had some *interesting* uploads, and now it’s fallen in my lap to hurriedly compose a policy with guidelines on appropriate contact pictures, which naturally spills over into what my grandmother might refer to as a good, sensible profile picture.

According to Youtube’s policy on profile pictures, the rules are pretty straightforward:

“Do not upload pictures containing celebrities, nudity, artwork or copyrighted images.”

But obviously, it’s not enough. I’m reminded of a former coworker who’s LinkedIn profile featured a revealing top and hair blowing in the wind, which made me wonder if she mixed up her eHarmony pic with her Linkedin pic–but it would have fit YouTube’s guidelines.  Google+ Policies & Principles follow the same format:

Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content.

No sex. Got it. offers a little more substance to their informal advice:

  1. Use a current head shot (close up of head, shoulders, FACE, but no more)
  2. Keep it simple–no distracting accessories or Photoshop/Instagram-like filtering
  3. You–and only you. Not a group picture of you and your friends/family
  4. SMILE!

I like those guidelines, but they aren’t exactly policy material, are they? Possibly the requirement to use a current head shot and that it must be of you (and only you). Business Insider reiterates many of the same points, but adds a few good pointers:

  1. Don’t use a pixelated photo
  2. Don’t be too serious
  3. Use color, not black and white (unless the photo was originally taken in black and white)
  4. Don’t use an avatar…unless you’re a superhero
  5. Don’t use your logo or a pic of your product
  6. Don’t NOT have a photo

Again, though, great suggestions, but only a few that could be worked into an actual policy.     What gives me the most trouble is the inherently subjective nature of *what* is  mature/offensive. So, here’s what I think I’ll submit:

Your profile picture may not contain celebrities, nudity, artwork, copyrighted images, or any mature/offensive content. Information Technology reserves the right to remove any profile photos that contain any of the above.

Recommendations for uploading an appropriate profile photo:

    • Upload a profile image that is your likeness or a head-shot photo
    • Use color, not black and white
    • Don’t use a pixelated photo
    • Don’t use an avatar
    • Use a current head shot (close up of head, shoulders, face, but no more)
    • You should be the only person in the photo

If you would like to use your badge ID photo for your picture, you can request your photo by submitting a ticket to the Help Desk.

Any ideas on different language?


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