Desktop picture: indiscretion or insight

Customizing the desktop picture on any computer is easy. Just select your favorite family or vacation photo from your photo album, and you are done! People do it all the time on their phone, revealing their intimate friends, their own narcissistic proclivities, or their taste for natural landscape. The default screen set by the manufacturer of your computer does not reveal anything about you. I can’t imagine hundreds of millions of Mac users express their love for El Capitan, a rock from the cretaceous age located in the American Yosemite National park. Likewise Windows 10 users may not care all that much about the 3D translucent glass frame diffusing an ethereal blue light.

The situation changes when you use your own computer to present your slides. Either when you quit your presentation and return to the desktop or when you set it up with the audience already seated looking on, you will probably reveal something about you through your customized desktop screen. The curious audience may enjoy that peep into the presenter’s life. But is it going to embarrass you? Hey, do you like my zany favorite nephew? – he is a riot!


On the other hand, you may wish to remove the sometimes intimidating academic barriers by showing the other you: the mum and dad with young children, the animal or nature lover.

To remain discrete, change your start-up screen to the manufacturer’s default screen prior to your presentation. To send a subliminal personal message to the audience, choose a desktop image that reflects your interests or humanness.




Author: Jean-Luc Lebrun

This century: Writer on Scientific writing skills and scientific presentation skills, MC for scientific events, Podcaster, Radio Consultant, Trainer for Research Institutes in Engineering and Life Sciences, Singapore, and in European doctoral schools, as well as in South East Asia Universities. Last Century: Apple Computer, Advanced Technology Group, Technology Information manager. Then Director of the Apple-ISS Research Centre - a joint venture between Apple Computer and the National University of Singapore. Producer of TV program on IT for Singapore Channel 5.