The Evolution Of Your Profile Picture


Ah, Facebook. Probably the cornerstone to our identity for the majority of our adolescent and young adult life. I can remember the girl in my class who said she would invite me to Facebook since her brother was already at NYU and had the in. No, I can’t tell you anything I learned that year in chemistry. Priorities, am I right? I did the math and it looks something like this: eight years on the book, 2,920 days, and 116 profile pictures. This works out to about a new picture once every 25 days (disclaimer: this might be completely incorrect). Honestly, this change much more frequent than I’m comfortable admitting to. Upon review though, I realized the changes took place mostly in my earlier years. I think we can all agree Facebook is about 568 percent less important to us now than it was two or four years ago, and thank Christ for that. But back then, the first thing anyone did when scoping out who you were was check your profile pictures. In this one tiny picture, we had to graciously and genuinely represent who we were. This was clearly no easy task. Let’s reflect on the steady evolution of that tiny window into our souls.

Prom Pic

What a classic. All that shiny satin and those ringlet curls just bring back memories of my boobs falling out mid-Cha Cha Slide. What a disappointment. The most fun part was either getting dressed up or the after party, which, naturally, I didn’t make it to until my senior year because I couldn’t date until I was a junior in high school. Thanks, Dad. I like to remind my parents that their rule is the reason why I’m not currently in the running for a pro-league wife position right now. Even they have regrets.

Sports Pic

This is pretty much the high school swag picture circa 2007. Like, look at me run and stuff! I was part of an organized team right when it was cool. The low-budget jerseys bring back stimulating memories of some awkward chafing and remembering how flat chested I was. It’s okay, soon those uniforms will be throwback and everyone in Brooklyn will own one.

Regrettable Pic

This one is a total wild card. It could be a photo of a very awkward haircut or a picture with some sort of statue in a suggestive position. Regardless, you were a teenager and whatever you thought was funny then isn’t funny now. You know what is funny though? Me wearing khaki shorts to a high school dance. I still get a group text once a month getting shit from my friends about that one.

Vacation Pic/Beach Body

RIP, six-pack and thigh gap. This one is a classic for all of us trying to peacock for that hottie two grades above us. “He definitely saw my new profile picture and, like, that’s why he almost made eye contact this morning in homeroom.” What are the rules on bringing this back? I mean, it’s completely false advertising, but once someone finds out, he or she is already committed, right?

Illegally Drunk Concert Pic

This is self-explanatory. Somehow, you still looked halfway decent while sweating in the parking lot of the Rascal Flatts concert. Good for you.

Frosh Year Group Shot

Finally! COLLEGE! It’s 110 percent likely that you stopped talking to everyone in this picture approximately two weeks after it was taken.

Still Illegal But Less Frowned Upon 20-Year-Old Shitfaced Pic

Hey, look. You’re holding a funnel, but don’t worry, you cropped most of it out for good measure. What a badass. The rest of the pictures in this series totally show your underwear so they didn’t make the cut–but they are somehow mysteriously still on Facebook.

Making Fun Of A Friend Pic

People always have one of those pictures where their eyeballs are half-rolling back in their head and they are drooling, face planting, or stuffing their face Sunday morning. Whatever it is, it’s humiliating. If you’re not quick enough on the de-tag, you’ll pay for it. Mine involves a friend with a turkey leg in one hand and a corndog in the other. Disney will do weird things to your digestive standards.

Hardass Pic

For most people, this will involve some sort of luge, funnel, keg stand, or gargoyle, because obviously these are very difficult tasks to complete while blacked out. If you’re truly hard, maybe it’s a lifting pic if you’re a bro. It could be yoga or Zumba or whatever normal girls do. I clearly don’t fit that category, so mine was a lacrosse picture. Yeah, I know, no one cares about women’s sports. Trust me, I know.

Study Abroad Pic

Look, I’m cultured. And by that, I mean I blacked out in various European cities for a semester.

21st Birthday Pic

You look good, but you look drunk as hell. When I looked at the picture from my 21st birthday, all I could think about was how I spent the next one at the DMV getting my license updated so I wouldn’t get fined. When you look back, soak it up again, because as Drake so wisely said, “nothing was (JK, is) the same.”

Celebrity Pic


Day Drinking Pic

Look, I like to drink in the daytime and wear pinnies, sneakers, and sunglasses. Oftentimes, this picture involves costumes, which is what really makes it interesting. Mine? A sombrero, someone in a Gumby suit, and a Costco-sized container of animal crackers. No, I don’t remember.

Family Pic

Finally, you start to realize that you might want to start displaying yourself in a slightly more mature manner. There is no better avenue for this than the good old family picture. It’s proof that people actually love you and raised you–it wasn’t that pack of wolves everyone thought.

Silly Pic

When a girl has one of these pictures, 99 percent of the time, it’s not even a little funny. You are just trying to show people you care about more than just your appearance. Which you don’t.

Classy Pic

You’re an adult. Look at how there aren’t any wrinkles in your clothes! Huzzah! You’re even sporting a classy gin and tonic in your hand. You don’t even have to crop it out because you’ve celebrated your 21st birthday three times now. What you can’t tell is that the picture was taken at 10:30 a.m. on a Friday when you called out sick from work.

Strewn amongst these is a smattering of normal pictures that not coincidentally become more and more facially-oriented over the years. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. The mom or dad body creeps up slowly and steadily, and you often don’t even know it’s arrived until you notice the majority of your wardrobe consists of khaki shorts and short-sleeved button ups.

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Mary Swanson

Both a bitter and optimistic 24-year-old entry-level underachiever with 2-4 friends and 0 talents. Washed up is an understatement. I prefer almost all my food luke-warm, what does that say about me?

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