Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do you know what you look like on webcam?

Have you ever actually watched yourself on a web camera? When I bought my web camera, I ran some tests to see what the camera could see and GE-AH! you would have to pay me to look at my roundish, shiny self. I can't believe people do this willingly and make kissy faces.

But there are times when you will have to do this unwillingly: distance job interviews or if you deliver programs over the internet with the help of a webcam. WSJ has an article about web presentation etiquette--do you want to be remembered as the person who should have gotten cream for that particular itch?--but I also want to to remind people to get a good look at themselves before they plunk themselves down in front of the camera.
  • No jammies for this distance interview. They can see your little duckies.
  • Check the position of your web camera and try not to lean or fidget: cleavage shots do not get library jobs. Ditto, standing up to reach for something and putting your can/ camel toe in the picture.
  • Are you shiny? This seems really vain, but we are unforgiving about video standards and appearance. Who are we measuring ourselves against? News anchors. Now, we can't all have the calm authority of Lloyd, but a good scrubbing can't hurt. At least they can't smell your breath.
  • Where are your hands? No, seriously. If you're a hand talker like me, are you jazz handing through your interview? Does it look like they're getting busy below the desk: out of sight hand-wringing can look like illegal fondling. Put little marks on the table, like dancers do for their feet, and make sure you know what your left hand is doing.
Some forgiveness is nice. How many interviewers realize their pores look like nebulae, too? Many people, especially if they are not experienced IM users, just throw themselves down and don't even check what they are actually filming. You scoff, but I know this is true. I have seen their nose hairs.

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