It's pretty amazing that, up until now, the business social network LinkedIn hasn't offered its members the ability to add a photo of themselves.
As of tomorrow, LinkedIn users will have that option, along with the necessary privacy controls so that they can decide who can and can't view their picture, such as their existing network, members of LinkedIn only, or anybody viewing their public profile.
In a thinly disguised dig at Facebook, LinkedIn spokeswoman Kay Luo tells Business Week, the company will "do everything we can to encourage it [LinkedIn] to remain professional." Photos are in, but no "poking", making someone a "pirate", or any of those other irritating applications which now plague Facebook. (Yes, I'm having a bad Facebook day).
But are photos on LinkedIn a good or bad thing?
That's the question that Allen Stern over at CenterNetworks asks, concluding that the new feature works against the Web's ability to create a more level playing field, in which its anonymity can ensure that people be judged on things other than their looks.
Without the photos, everyone is judged based on their skills in a semi-anonymous way at least on getting in the door. I have always thought the Internet put us all on the same playing field but photos certainly changes that.
My photo here on ZDNet certainly works against me any time my writing lands on Digg's front page!