March 13, 2017

What’s in a White House Profile Image?


Screenshot of White House Twitter profile images from the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

A friend of mine, a government employee, asked if I had noticed the difference between these two Twitter account photos. On the left is the now-archived profile photo of the Obama White House. On the right is the image currently  in use on the Trump feed. It’s hard to know how or why one picture gets chosen over another. In this case, though, the contrast provides food for thought.

As my friend writes:

The differences between the two are striking. For example, the Obama profile image shows the building’s northern facade, which is where the entrance is located. The sky is bright, blue, and expansive – all of which signal positivity, ambitiousness, and optimism. The Trump profile image show’s the southern facade, which does not have a formal entrance. In fact, it’s the equivalent of the President’s backyard. The light behind the building suggests the photo was taken during twilight, when the sun has already set. The hedges are is also much more prominent in that profile picture, suggesting the building is something to view instead of enter.

That all makes sense to me. The Obama White House, always graceful and composed, emphasized a gradual approach and the longer view. Trump, not one for context or lead up, on the other hand,  is blunt and “in your face.” Also Trump, as we know, isn’t much for the outdoors.

Regarding the light, one would guess dusk is the apocalyptic Steve Bannon’s favorite time of day. The rush to eliminate pollution regulations and kill climate policies, treaties and research also fits the sort of brownish peach color. A more fortress mentality and showing people your backside, or the back door (or the end around), is also fitting — and I love the band of conservative red. At the same time, the tall hedge is like an inspirational reminder, especially to the minions inside, to build that wall!

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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