Am I Pretty?

Author: James Bischoff on 10/02/2014

I have made it a habit to write down ideas for blogs when they come to me so that when it comes to ‘blog time’ I can just refer to my list and pull out a topic that interested me or caught my attention but I simply didn’t have time (or lets be honest, desire) to work on at that moment. As I sit and write this entry I have 5 things on that list. Five more or less good things to write about! That being said, let’s take a journey and see where this goes, because this isn’t one of them.

I recently recalled a lesson in creativity from my childhood in which you were told to write for a set amount of time about anything you’d like, anything at all. The point was just to write, to get it out, to see what happens. A key part of this experiment is setting a fixed amount of time to write, which I’ve just realized I forgot to do… Oops. So, let’s call it 15 minutes. I’m really hoping to capture your attention for just a few minutes anyway and inspire thought in a few of you. My other topics were really good (or so I think) and the competitive part of me really picks good topics because I want more people to read my blog than anyone else I work with. Yeah, that’s my goal… I can’t unsay that can I?

As a social media manager I feel like I should write about social media in some way shape or form. I guess I’ll rehash a discussion I had with a fellow social media expert. Has social media fundamentally changed at all since the days of MySpace and Friendster? Obviously the platforms and demographics are evolved and expanding. The real life marketing and advertising applications are light years ahead, too. The reason I made the argument in the first place was because it still seems like what matters most is how pretty you are. People want to be tied to pretty things, and people are sometimes just pretty things. I’m sure there is a great study published somewhere to back this up, but I’m confident in saying so without direct citation.

A recent friend request from an attractive person crossed my LinkedIn profile. I actually knew this person in ‘real life’ and didn’t think twice when accepting. However, what really caught my attention though was the ‘people also viewed’ section that popped up after I accepted. There they were, 10 other beautiful people. Mostly female, roughly half were not ‘traditional business’ photos. They were glamour shots with no shortage of cleavage or pursed lips. They looked more like the stock photos used in late night ad campaigns than potential networking opportunities. Why are these the people LinkedIn ‘professionals’ are looking at most? And if LinkedIn is supposed to be the most professional of social outlets it is no stretch to assume that this trend crosses into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Oh yes, Instagram. I love my dog and I love tattoos. I’m not terribly surprised to see these images related to these topics when I use the ‘explore’ feature. What surprises me most are the ‘trending in your country’ photos of attractive people, generally female, with tens of thousands of likes. I’d kill to get these results for a client! And these photos don’t even serve a purpose; they aren’t selling or promoting anything. They’re just photos of attractive women. What draws a person to ‘like’ a random image on this platform or any other? As both a marketing major and someone that survived high school I am all too aware how attractiveness effects popularity. The real question is not whether or not attractiveness works the same with businesses, but how to take advantage and how to make the businesses I represent attractive. And not just that superficial skin-deep kind of attractive that gets 7,000 likes on Instagram or is most viewed on LinkedIn.

So there it is, my exercise in creativity. Hopefully I got you thinking a bit. Whether it’s making your social more attractive or why you are checking out good looking strangers on mobile applications I feel I threw a wide net. Do you have an opinion on the matter? I’d love to hear it!