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U.K. holds best Facebook profile picture competition

Facebookers can now compete for the title of Best Profile picture in the UK. Judges, including a leading portrait artist, will judge Facebook artistry using very broad criteria.

Few things define the modern human being more immediately than their Facebook profile picture.

Does yours say you are cute but witty? Or gormless and insecure? Do you show your full, glorious body? Or do you merely show your eyes, nose, and cheek, taken from your favored left side? Or are you one of those who simply shows your overfed, crabby cat?

Your choices could be even more crucial if you happen to live in the UK and enter the country's best Facebook profile picture competition.

Oh, yes, there is one.

The commercial excuse appears to be that Blinkbox, a company that streams movies, is celebrating "Catfish," a movie in which Facebook profiles are not all they seem.

However, this competition surely has vast cultural significance beyond some mere commercial wheeze. This competition will reveal the state of the British nation's ingenuity, which has fallen on fallow ground of late.

The British prime minster's Facebook profile picture. A winner? Perhaps not. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Yes, they toss a few movie stars overseas occasionally. They tossed us Ricky Gervais, so that someone with a strange accent could make the nasty jokes of which Americans are too afraid. But the UK is fundamentally in stasis. The country couldn't even decide on a political party to run the place, so they picked two.

If the UK's Facebookers can show that their Facebook profile pictures are of supremely artistic merit, it will surely elevate the nation back to at least a position above the line of mediocrity.

The organizers of this competition have chosen some venerable artistic figures to judge the pictures. There is Jonathan Yeo, one of the world's foremost portrait artists, who has painted Tony Blair and Sienna Miller, not to mention Dennis Hopper. There's also photographer Martin Parr. And the obligatory comedian Bill Bailey.

The criteria these fine artists will be using to judge your efforts might be described as loose. In fact, they might best be summed up by the line from the competition rules that reads: "The submitted profile picture image need not necessarily feature an individual."

Brits have until January 17 to concoct their artistic best. And I know that so many will be throbbing at the temples in pursuit of the prize. Would that be one million British pounds? No, it would not.

For the organizers declare they are offering a far more appropriately ego-stimulating prize for the best Facebook profile picture in the UK: "Internet immortality".