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A (Profile) Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Who doesn't prefer a smiling face to an anonymous gray box?

What does your online image say about you? As local governments increase their digital presence, they are increasingly aware of the brand they project through social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks. Not only are jurisdictions building their official organization profiles, but many public figures and key municipal employees now interact with the public through their individual online profiles as often as in person.

One of the most important elements of your online identity, according to LinkedIn connection director Nicole Williams, is the profile picture. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Williams outlines a few key considerations for a professional profile picture. Don’t use a picture of your dog or your spouse—no matter how important they are in your life, the image should reflect you as an individual. Dress in a way that’s appropriate for your profession. To keep yourself looking at ease, ask a friend to shoot the picture.

Especially for public employees, looking approachable, professional, and confident online can help assure citizens that their community is in good hands. The same goes for official city profiles. Just as individuals aim to show themselves at their best, GovLoop recommends that cities should use a characteristic image of the place, rather than an official seal, for their online identity.

Since the Knowledge Network is committed to building professional connections, we encourage all of our users to upload a profile picture. LinkedIn research shows that profiles with pictures get seven times as many views as those without. The same is true with questions and discussions on the Knowledge Network; people are just more inclined to share with people they can see. If you haven’t uploaded a profile picture yet, it’s easy to do. We look forward to seeing you!

Social Media is a hot topic in local government, and the Knowledge Network is filled with case studies, policies, and guidance on building your community’s online presence. Browse social media documents, or submit your own to our resource library.

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