I said…self…you should sit down and write something tonight…
Then I got distracted about a Facebook post I posted about a while ago…it ended up getting WAY more mileage than I ever imagined. Actually, I only decided to post it originally because I figured my LinkedIn profile picture was due for an update. I thought I could take a selfie to use for it, but after I did I was concerned about what people might think about it…especially because I use LinkedIn as my resume. So, before I uploaded it to LinkedIn I decided to post it on Facebook to see what the popular opinion would be. I asked people to pretend they didn’t know me and say what was the first thought that popped into their minds when they saw the picture. I wasn’t surprised by the types of answers I got, but by how many answers I got. I only have about 200 Facebook friends and I got over 30 comments. I was expecting 2 or 3 maybe…but 30?! I guess people like to talk about hair.
Anyways, since I did get so much mileage out of it, I thought I’d take it a step further and turn it into an actual exercise of sorts, even though that wasn’t it’s original intention. You see…I love stereotypes: I love analyzing them and I love breaking them. I would say it’s impossible to be completely unbiased and there is almost always some truth to most stereotypes. It’s like I said: I wasn’t surprised by what people said about my selfie. Why would I be? I know what I look like and I know what people might think about it. The question is: How did I know how people would respond?
There are several answers to that question. One being I knew some of the people who answered really well…another answer is stereotypes, and that is where I would like to focus. From day one each and every one of us is exposed to and conditioned by a multitude of stimuli through out our lives. Different geographical locations, different belief systems, different opinions, different circumstances, different years of experience and many many other factors all affect what we were conditioned by and exposed to. So, we all might have a different bent on various stereotypes or completely different stereotypes all together, but we all have them.
Look at how people answered my question about my self portrait. I will point out, I purposely asked it the way I did to get a more specific response, so it was a leading question. If I had just posted my picture and said what do you think of me, people may have answered differently. As it was, I got a lot of stereotypes for answers: Jesus (probably the most universally recognized stereotype), hippie, musician, free spirit (we’ll bulk that one with hippie), artist, bogan (New Zealand’s version of what I would consider a hard core or heavy metal fan), and actor…oh, and someone also mentioned withdrawn and quiet with hippy.
There are myriad different directions I could take this conversation from here, and I may think out loud about some of them later, but for now I’d like to point out that most of these answers are true about me in one way, shape, or form. Although, in their extreme none of them individually are completely true of me, each of them represent one part or another of the various characteristics that make up my personality as a whole.
I had intended to turn this into a continuing series on stereotypes and maybe some day that will happen, but for now I just don’t have the time or energy. So, for now here’s another look at the same guy with a hair cut who I also posted on Facebook and asked the same question: Pretend you don’t know me and say what is the first thought that popps into your mind when you see the picture.