“I know for sure, what we dwell on, is who we become”.
- Oprah Winfrey
Last week, I had dwelt on display pictures (DP)s on social media portals that reflect the ‘Perpetual Mindset’ and Oprah’s quote best reflects the state of mind of the Perpetual DP profilers. Their obsession with that one thing – a certain celebrity or pet, for example – leads to that part of their identity eventually becoming their whole identity. Thankfully, the second broad type of DPs that fall under Current Mood, do not suffer from that kind of intense identity complex.
Certain DPs are also time-bound and reflect just the current mindset or mood of the person. It is not a statement of relative perpetuity, but one stemming from a certain sense of immediacy. For example, you may be a pethusiast, but something in your life may trigger a reason for you to change your usually pet picture DPs to something else through which you want to communicate what is currently going on in your life. The various sub-species of this group are:
The ‘Pity Me’ DP: This is a DP which is actually not a DP! In fact, it is just a blank picture put up by a sulking attention seeker who currently feels that ‘Kisiko meri parwah nahi hai!’. Consequently, a colourful, happy DP will suddenly be taken off, leaving the space blank. Why, you may ask? Solely to tell my followers that something about my life is not right. It's actually a well thought-out invitation to the question: "Hey, is everything okay? Why did you remove your DP?”
The Deep DP: Motivational quotes, vague life principles and inspiring thoughts are the signature of this DP type. Nobody actually may be seeking their profound wisdom, but that is hardly a detriment to these self-proclaimed sages. The genre of wisdom varies from time to time, depending on their own life struggles, challenges or victories.
The Nirupa Roy DP: Remember Nirupa Roy, the Rudaali Queen of Bollywood who mastered the art of crying? Well, this category is a tribute to her, given that these DPs reflect the ‘dukhi atma’ mindspace of the person. There are also two sub-types within this group – The No Smile Please DP and the Melancholic Quote DP where sad quotes, sadder phrases and the saddest thoughts reflect the mood of the person, and often change with it. What’s interesting is that both these types of DPs are usually directed at a particular person on their friend list, who has caused them to be gloomy and depressed in the first place!
The Gehri Soch Mein Dooba Hua DP: These are your new-age Descartean thinkers, with the one vital difference being that they are just simulated thinkers. Why do the real thing when you can just pretend? Think of The Thinker, and you will know exactly the kind of poses that this species proudly projects. The more distant the gaze, the more far-reaching thinking you are capable of, seems to be the operating principle here.
The See-My-i-Phone DP: What’s the point of an owner’s acquisition without stirring your neigbour’s envy? This Onida-ian principle is the prime driver of this kind of DP characterised by random selfie images taken in random places like malls, cinema halls, etc. Of course, the more shiny surfaces all around you, the better this DP gets, case in point being a lift. And hey, an i-phone is worth a show, right?
The Pehchan Kaun DP: In footballing terms, this is a self-goal! If the sole purpose of a DP is to identify the person, this DP defeats it. By uploading pictures with friends, family or kids, they keep their followers confused as to who they really are. My secret hunch is that most of them suffer from an inferiority complex!
The Been There ‘Scene’ That DP: This is the Sartaj Badshah of the DP world, easily the most popular. Earlier, travel gave us pleasure, perspective, peace, etc., but today, its most important purpose seems to be to provide us with a lot of DPs. Looking at these wanderlust DPs, you may come to the erroneous conclusion that these people travel a lot, but if you look closely, you will see that all of their DPs are from one single visit - just the magic of different clothes, angles and scenes. For them, one trip is equivalent to a year full of DPs. Wonder what they were putting up as their DPs during lockdown? #Throwback bro!
We at Red Lab (Rediffusion Consumer Lab) unearthed quite a few species and sub-species of DPs. So which type are you? Your friend? Wife? We sincerely hope that this piece will give you a peek into the windows of many souls.
(The author is Joint President & Chief Strategy Officer, Rediffusion. This article has inputs from Rhea Jain and Aneek Das)
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