A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words

September 27, 2007

We're excited to announce that starting tomorrow (Friday 28, 2007) LinkedIn members will have a new option available: the ability to add a professional photo to their profile.

Adding a profile photo is one of the most commonly requested features for the LinkedIn profile, primarily because many people (like me) tend to recognize their colleagues and classmates more reliably by face than by name.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and with this feature we hope to make it easier for people to form richer professional connections online.

Screenshot of Profile with Photo

LinkedIn Profile with Photo

However, before we could add photos to the site, we had to give considerable thought to the best way to integrate photos into a professional site. Privacy is an incredibly important issue to us, and we wanted to make sure we had the right controls in place.  As a result, all members will have the option to control whether their photo is visible to their connections, their network, or everyone.

Screenshot of Profile with Photo
Photo upload screen and visibility settings

In addition, we know that there may be some professionals who would prefer to not be exposed to profile photos from people they may not know.  As a result, members can also control their ability to see the photos of other members.  In fact, we've also taken special care to design the site so that while photos integrate seamlessly into the experience, there is no degradation of the experience when photos are not visible.

Screenshot of viewing preferences
Photo viewing preferences

A good professional photo is cropped and centered, and as a result we've spent some time to provide a simple, rich interface for users to upload large photographs and edit them down to a professional headshot.

Screenshot of cropping tool
Photo cropping tool

We know that people take their professional reputations seriously, and as a result we expect LinkedIn profile photos to be professional in nature. However, we also hope that the wisdom of the millions of LinkedIn users will help us identify photos that violate that. Similar to LinkedIn Answers, members will be able to quickly and easily flag photos that violate policy for review.

Screenshot of photo flagging
Photo flagging capabilities

Over the next few months, we'll be integrating profile photos into other features where they make sense. In the meantime, keep checking your profile page for the new ability to upload a professional photo. Or, feel free to keep checking my profile.  I'll have my photo up as soon as the feature is live.
Related articles:
* CNN | LinkedIn allows photos after resisting
* USA Today | LinkedIn let users post photos
* Wall Street Journal | Job references you can't control
* Business Week | Smile, You're on LinkedIn
* TechCrunch | Picture this - LinkedIn adds profile photos
* Wired | LinkedIn adds profile pictures
* CNET | With addition of profile photos, LinkedIn is faceless no more
* Yahoo! Tech | LinkedIn gets User photos, starting Friday
* Mashable | LinkedIn gets profile photos
* Zdnet | LinkedIn adds photos - good or bad idea?
* Marketing Shift | LinkedIn puts faces to names
* San Jose Business Journal | LinkedIn adds photos for member profiles
* WebPro News | LinkedIn adds user photos
* Venture Beat | LinkedIn finally adds user photos

Other posts by Adam Nash on the LinkedIn Blog:

* 5 Tips on how to search LinkedIn like a Pro
* LinkedIn at Office 2.0
* LinkedIn User - Dr. Sharon Nash, Pd.D.
* Joining the LinkedIn team - Adam Nash