Friday, July 18, 2008

Head Shots

Yesterday, Cooper's cousin Sarah emailed me this Slate article, asking me if I'd read it. I hadn't, yet, but it was on my list. The article is about web head shots - what people use, how they take them, what they say about us. It's the sort of modern iconography/tiny cultural touchstone topic that I find interesting all the time, but probably especially interesting right now, since I just joined Facebook (after years of relying on my sister's login. And of course I'm kind of obsessed with it, especially since I'm now back in touch with some of my really good old college and high school friends. This internet thing, it's amazing.)

Anyway, the article is a good one, but the most interesting part to me and to Sarah was the link to FaceStat, an outfit I was previously unfamiliar with. The author of the article describes FaceStat as sort of a next-gen Hot or Not, only with a more rationalizable angle.

The gist is this: you upload a photo and anyone can comment on it, answering a few key questions about what they think you're like, based solely on the photo. Anybody can comment on the photos - no upload necessary. The idea is that, in aggregate, you end up with a pretty good idea of what people think of you based on your appearance.

Sarah and I spent a little time figuring out whether satisfying our curiosity regarding what people think of our looks would be worth the potential blows to our egos (the questions range from attractive? to trustworthy? to political affiliation? and on and on). Also, we talked about how to make it about food, so I could blog about it.

And here's what came out of the conversation: I'm going to have Cooper take a bunch of pictures of me, all wearing the same outfit, all in basically the same pose, but doing different things. One control, where I'm not doing anything, but also one where I'm cooking, one drinking beer, one drinking wine, one eating, one holding Dixon. Then I'll post them all under different pseudonyms. Then I wait for the responses...and compare. So it becomes a research project (I love research!) about the influence of cooking/eating/drinking/kids over our perceptions.

Projects! I love them!

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