We all have that one friend who still has a photo from her wedding six months ago as her profile picture on Facebook. And why shouldn’t she, right? She’s radiant and glowing with happiness. Her makeup is perfection. And no selfie could compare to the skilled editing magic of a professional photographer.
But in the world of social media etiquette, is this acceptable?
Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert, author of the newly published book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life, and founder of The Protocol School of Texas. She says there is no protocol for when it comes to how long a person keeps a photo as their default image on social media. But, she adds, because of the timeliness factor of a wedding photo, you may want to update your profile photo to reflect the other exciting things happening in your life long after you’ve said your vows.
“The word ‘rule’ is strong because it’s subjective,” Gottsman explains. “In regards to what’s proper or not, it’s fine to keep [a wedding image] up. But if you have that as your main photo and you’re applying for a job, you want to keep in mind that potential bosses will see this. You may want to keep it current because social and business often overlap.” (According to one report, 92 percent of recruiters use social media to evaluate potential job candidates.)
Another thing to consider, Gottsman says, is what message a months-old wedding photo sends to your followers. “It may feel to other people that you are just, for lack of a better word, showing off—you may have some friends that aren’t married who are wishing they were and can’t even find a significant other. Or [they may feel] that you’re living in the past, that that was your greatest moment.”
Thanks to the popularity of #ThrowbackThursdays and #FlashbackFridays, you will always have an excuse to relive on social media the best day of your life. But Gottsman cautions against overdoing it: “I think throwback photos are fine, but we all notice the person that [appears to live] their life in the past. Everything about their life is a throwback; there’s nothing about today. When your main profile picture is a picture of you from 20 years or 15 years ago or 10 years ago, that can be seen as a bait and switch.”
The bottom line is to keep your photo stream on social media fresh. While a snapshot from the day you said “I do” is sure to bring you the warm and fuzzies, there will definitely be so much more worth sharing for all the world to see. And there’s a good chance your friends, fans and followers will appreciate that.