With more people on Facebook than there were on the planet two hundred years ago, it is imperative that one puts forth their best image in this new digital age. I mean, who knows who could be looking at your Facebook profile? What makes me qualified to offer guidance on this particular subject? I Facebook creep like it’s my second job. Most people wouldn’t admit that, but as many of my friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, classmates and pets will tell you, I am not like most people. This stalker-ish hobby has provided me with a connoisseur-level knowledge of profile pictures and status updates which I benevolently detail in the sections that follow. You’re welcome.

Section 1. The Status Update Too often in my Facebook career have I seen people squander their valuable status updates on dumb things like spreading “social awareness” or wishing their mom a happy Mother’s Day. C’mon people, status updates are your chance to have your self-worth validated in the form of a virtual thumbs up. Don’t waste it. If you struggle at coming up with snappy and impressive status updates that spark equal parts envy and admiration in your virtual friends then simply copy and paste any of the following pre-approved statuses (Below: List 1). These beauties are guaranteed to garner at least 10 likes or your money back. (Disclaimer: Results will vary based on your geographic location, age, and the zeitgeisty-ness of your Facebook friends).

List 1

  • I want a love like Rose and Jack . (NOTE: For added irony, substitute Rose and Jack for Katie and Tom, Sid and Nancy or Norman Bates and his mom)
  • I hate the Yankee$ (NOTE: most effective for readers who live outside of New York City)
  • Could Jack White be any more bad ass?
  • The purity of Bryce Harper’s playing style gives me hope for the future of baseball. (NOTE: Bros will eat this s*** up)
  • I can’t wait for the Arrested Development movie #TheresAlwaysMoneyInTheBananaStand
  • You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… (NOTE: John Lennon = automatic likes if you live above the Bible Belt)
  • Andrew Garfield. (NOTE: ‘nuff said)

**If all else fails just give people an hour-by-hour rundown of your schedule for the day or post one of those “Like in 5 seconds” photos. People love that!!

Section 2. The Profile Picture Picking a suitable profile picture is an art in an of itself. It is not enough to simply select a photo of yourself taken with your Mac’s Photo Booth feature anymore. You need to choose a picture that makes you stand out and doesn’t disgust the casual Facebook creeper. This is the image that you are projecting to the entire virtual world. DO NOT mess this up. The following are four photographic categories that will be of great help to you in your attempt to achieve profile picture nirvana.

Section 2.1. The Throwback Nothing says “Everyone tell me how cute I am” like a baby picture. If you have a spare couple of hours head over to your parents house and gather up some of your most cheek pinch-worthy baby pictures. Then, scan them with a high-quality scanner and upload them for the world to see. Captions such as “Back in the Day” or “#swag” can be the perfect compliment to a photo of you rocking a Barney onesie or a pair of baby Ray Bans. Remember: Hash tag captions aren’t douchey if they are ironic.

Section 2.2. Comparatively Cute By choosing a photo of yourself surrounded by less attractive people, you can magically make yourself appear prettier. You could even try to sneakily stage a Comparatively Cute photo by following these easy steps. First, find someone to take a picture of you and a couple of friends. After a nice photo has been taken suggest doing the token “silly” photo. Then, just stand there and flash your prettiest smile while your friends make themselves look like bonafide fools. Finally, upload the pic to Facebook before your friends have time to see it.

Section 2.3. Party Hardy Everyone appreciates a girl who can let loose. Who cares if a your parents, impressionable young relatives, professors, employers, or future employers stumble upon photos of you having a little fun? Any employer worth working for is going to see that profile picture of you dancing on the bar while tossing back your fourth Bud Lite Lime-a-Rita and think, “I’d be so lucky to have a charismatic and outgoing female like that on my payroll.” IMPORTANT: These photos should always be accompanied by a caption that reads “YOLO” in order to convey your appreciation for life and its fragility.

Section 2.4. Cool and Unusual This category encompasses pictures of you doing notable and unique things such as: riding a camel or elephant in its natural habitat (NOT the circus or Renaissance Fair), participating in a TOMS Shoe Drop in Africa, skydiving, or “Eat, Pray, Love”ing it in Italy. If you haven’t done anything particularly brag-worthy in your lifetime, don’t be afraid to play around with Photoshop and create your very own Cool and Unusual profile picture.

Conclusion If you follow these simple guidelines, I am confident that you can craft and maintain your very best Facebook image. Good luck my dear readers. You got a lot riding on this, so don’t screw up.

Follow Kendra Hoban on Twitter.

(Image via ShutterStock.)