Social Question

6rant6's avatar

When someone uses a picture of their SO as their icon, what do you infer?

Asked by 6rant6 (13692points) January 25th, 2012

Sometimes I see people who have used pictures of their mate in place of a picture of themselves as an identifier. For example, someone will use a picture of spouse on Facebook as their profile picture.

What do you think when you see that kind of thing?

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37 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I don’t really draw a conclusion from it. I use a picture of my dogs. What would you infer from that?

janbb's avatar

Haven’t really notice that phenomenon. (Is that me or really my spouse? It’s harrd to tell with us penguins.)

linguaphile's avatar

I’d infer much more from the total lack of SO’s pictures on someone’s FB photo list.

zensky's avatar

I put my kids’ pics. You may infer that I love them.

janbb's avatar

@linguaphile But I think the OP means as an avatar.

muppetish's avatar

I almost always use a picture of my Significant Other and I together as my profile picture. Seeing us together makes me smile whenever I sign on. People are bound to have different reasons for doing it. I’m not going to assume anything about it.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have noticed that the women I personally know who do this, or use a picture of them WITH their SO, are insecure and needy, and just seem to need to advertise the fact that they have a mate in their life.

Because the women that I know personally tend to follow this pattern, I assume the same thing of those that I don’t know. That is my impression – although it might not be correct.

If a person puts up their own picture, I would say that they are confident in themselves. If they don’t want to advertise their face for privacy reasons, the next option would be a pet, a hobby, or a picture that you think is cool. Putting up your SO’s picture and advertising their face when you don’t want to do the same to yours is kind of weird.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I think they want to use the Internet in a safe way…but, my first thought is that they love their SO, or family so much that they want others to see that love.

Luiveton's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt “or use a picture of them WITH their SO” – But wouldn’t that suggest that they’re making it clear that they’re taken? Or that’s what it should infer..

But as @muppetish said, and I am in full agreement everyone has their own personal reasons and we should not waste our time making potentially incorrect assumptions. Mainly because it doesn’t concern us.

In my case I’d do it because I love my SO and nothing else.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The question was, what do I think when I see someone do this. Well, this is the impression I get. I can’t help it. I do concede that my impression could be wrong.

downtide's avatar

I probably wouldn’t notice if they did. But if I noticed, or was told, then I’d infer that they are very devoted to their SO. I would hope they’ve asked permission and that the SO doesn’t mind.

Jude's avatar

I have never seen it done. And, if I did, I wouldn’t think anything of it.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Gee, i simply infer that they are using a picture of their SO. Oh, Unimaginative Me.

6rant6's avatar

@muppetish I think the dual picture makes a lot of sense. If you want to be reminded of how happy you are together, then that seems a reasonable thing to do. It does someone compromise your individuality. After all, you aren’t only half of a couple. But I still see it.

It makes me blanch when someone ONLY has their mate. It makes me think that either they have extremely low self esteem as @Skaggfacemutt alluded to, or they are trying to chase off people who might otherwise get fresh (is that word still used?) I realize that is sometimes a realistic reaction to what goes on. I apologize on behalf of all the jerks who have ever contributed to that.

I also understand using cartoon characters, or pictures of your pets if you want to retain anonymity, or just don’t have any pictures of yourself that you like. I’m puzzled at the use of kids pics since it seems it can’t be for anonymity anymore, since one would be sacrificing theirs. I just think people are more than the parents of their kids; if they don’t think of themselves beyond that, it’s a little sad.

6rant6's avatar

@JilltheTooth From the mouth of babes.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Gosh, thanks for calling me a babe! ;-)

SpatzieLover's avatar

<——————Speaking of babes, my photo is the same in FB as it is here.

Why? He’s the only one I have. I love him beyond words. I don’t like seeing my face. I have never liked having my photo taken….And It’s a fairly safe photo to have on the Net. IMO

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t belong to any site like Facebook, but I don’t really pay that much attention to the pictures people use as avatars.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My first thought would be the spouse doesn’t have a facebook but shares the acct., several people I know do that, the shared acct. part.

That I’ve noticed though, no one on my facebook accounts has done the solo pic of their spouse yet. I think most of us have used our pets as avatars and those with kids use them as avatars often.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think I would even notice. Unless someone’s avatar is quite distinctive… I don’t notice them let alone infer anything from them.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’ve never seen any of my friends do this. If I did I would probably think they used the photo because they love their spouse or SO.

@6rant6 I usually use a photo of my daughter (because she’s so darn cute) as my profile picture at fb. I have very few photos of myself because I’m usually the person taking the photographs, and I’m not about to stretch my arm out to take a duckface photo of myself. When I don’t use a pic of my daughter I will use a photo of myself with my husband (I have a few of those) or a nature photograph I’ve taken. I’m not really into cartoon characters, celebrities or pets, so I don’t have much left to choose from. no need to feel sad for me. I have a fulfilling life :P

smilingheart1's avatar

In the instance of spousal pictures, it speaks to me of loss of own identity. Same with endlessly talking about what your spouse says or thinks on every thread or every other thread.

fundevogel's avatar

I’m pretty sure @muppetish is a fraggle. I wouldn’t know this if my drollic friend used a picture of a paramour.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I would not know unless they told me. If I inferred anything it would be that we have an underage user on Fluther.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@smilingheart1 This is my feelings, exactly, and I feel the same in the instance of kid pictures and constant threads about kids. On social sites, people want to know about YOU, not your spouse and kids. Don’t get me wrong – our families are a big part of who we are, and we all talk about our family when the subject comes up, but an avitar of spouse or kids speaks to me of a loss of own identity.

Jude's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt That’s crap. “People want to know about you”. With FB, I am mainly on there because of friends and family. I like to share pictures of my partner and I with friends and family, and vice versa. I want to hear what’s going in their lives (hubby, wife, partner, kids, dogs—all of it). That’s the reason that I’m there. Stop being so fucking judgemental.

Aethelwine's avatar

^^agree with @Jude.

SpatzieLover's avatar

^^^agree with @Jude & @jonsblond.

I couldn’t find a way to articulate it @Jude. I thank you for putting it into words for me

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

That is what I infer – the impression I get. A person’s opinion can’t be “crap” unless they are saying it’s a fact, not an opinion.

You’re opinion is different, and that’s fine with me.

Aethelwine's avatar

I think if a person doesn’t understand how another person would want to celebrate their love of family by using a picture of a child or spouse as an avatar must be sad in their life and maybe a little jealous. I can understand not wanting to use one, but to infer that a person who does this has a loss of identity is ridiculous. imo

SpatzieLover's avatar

Personally, @Skaggfacemutt I took your stance as a projection, not an opinion.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The original questions was asking what I infer (guess, speculate) when I see someone do this. My answer is what I infer. If people don’t like it, then don’t ask me what I infer. I am not going to LIE and tell you that I infer something else.

When you respond to a controversial question, you are going to get controversy. That is what makes it interesting.

No need to call names and swear.

6rant6's avatar

Yes, that’s what I was asking for, so good answer.

You know, here on Fluther I don’t use a picture of myself because I don’t really like any of my pictures. Or perhaps I’m afraid of someone judging me or misunderstanding me if I post one that I do like. I use one on Facebook, because miraculously I got one that I like, but it’s years old now.

I too am the one behind the camera, but the reality is I don’t truly want my picture taken. So all the issues of why one doesn’t have their picture as their avatar apply to me.

I have the pictures of my family around my desks, so I don’t need to use them as avatars to have them on my mind. I wouldn’t usurp my SO’s identity by using her picture. Especially without asking if SHE liked the picture. She’s much more than my other half; I guess I’d kind of feeling that I would be limiting us both to use her picture that way.

All this said, I don’t think that my inference is correct in all cases. I’m not really wedded to the idea at all. But it does occur to me when I see someone who uses another’s picture.

Aethelwine's avatar

@6rant6 I’ve never seen a person use a picture of just their SO. Out of the people that you know who do this, how old are they? Not that it really matters. I would think someone older who does this probably shares the account with their SO. Maybe someone younger, say in their teens, may just be showing off their SO, like “hey look at this hottie I’m with”. I have no idea. I’m not one to automatically think the worst in this type of situation.

Someone using their young child I can understand because most of my friends with young children have done this. Having a young child in your life is the most important part of your life at that moment. Nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t mean you have no other interests.

6rant6's avatar

@jonsblond Still the picture of the parent represents the whole of them, whereas the child’s picture represents only a portion. Admittedly, it may seem the most important at the time, but it’s not the whole.

I appreciate that different people do similar things for different reasons. Still, when a friend of mine replaces their picture with that of a child I infer that they may be losing themselves in the role of parent – which I hold to be healthy for neither of them.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I used to have a picture of myself as my avitar, but it made me feel vain. Also, I started worrying about whether someone I know might find this site, and I didn’t really want to reveal my identity. I love the beach, so picked this avitar to represent me. It never crossed my mind to use spouse or kids. And if it had, I would reject the idea as an invasion of their privacy. As @6rant6 mentioned, I have photos of spouse, kids, grandkids and my sisters on my desk at work. My thought has always been that your avitar is a representation of yourself.

lonelydragon's avatar

I don’t think anything except that they really love their spouse.

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