I am quite intrigued by the kinds of profile pictures people have on sites like the OU site, Facebook, LinkedIn. I notice the following main patterns.
1 A simple face picture, facing the camera.
2 An action shot doing some kind of relevant activity, My current picture does this by showing me teaching.
3 A picture of the person as part of a group.
4 A symbolic picture (eg of a flower).
5 A picture of the person next to something significant (eg a statue).
It seems that these are all representative of how the person wants to present themselves and we may have different pictures for different sites. For example, my non professional twitter account has a picture of me running in a 10K.
What intrigues me particularly are pictures that seem to break some of the rules. An ex-student (not at the OU) has a profile picture on a professional website that is taken from the side with her looking at her mobile phone with most of her face covered by her long hair. I wonder about the extent to which this is a conscious decision and if so, what she is trying to express by this choice.