Sunday, January 31, 2010

Doppleganger Week on Facebook: Who's Your Celebrity Look Alike?

Is that my friend Nikiah or is it Lisa Nicole Carlson from Ally McBeal?

And I never really noticed that my favorite uncle’s childhood best friend (oh what a tangled Facebook friend web we weave), looks just like Chris Elliott. But now I’ll never get this image out of my head.

Why am I suddenly comparing all my friends to celebrities? Because its Doppelganger Week on Facebook. Nobody, not even the gurus of all things social media over at the Mashable blog, knows where or how Doppelganger Week started, but it has taken Facebook by storm. Like the “What color is your bra?” status update meme and Wayback Week, Doppleganger Week is the newest fad, and it has practically everyone on Facebook changing their profile pictures to a famous face. Now, as I scroll through my friend feed, I do double takes when I see the celebrities my friends (sometimes misguidedly) think they look like.

While internet memes (an idea, catchphrase, game, or concept that spreads quickly via the internet) are by no means new to Facebook, memes that require users to change their profile pictures are. But they make sense. Facebook, more than any other social media platform, encourages users to be themselves. And that includes uploading pictures from their real lives. While people might be tempted to use another picture – such as a funny avatar or a company logo – on Twitter or online forums, Facebook is all about just that… the user’s real face. I’m just surprised that Facebook, a platform that’s celebrating its 6th birthday this week, didn’t adopt memes that played on user’s pictures even sooner.

I confess I rarely get told I look like a celebrity, so I haven’t picked a doppelganger. Should I be annoyed? Or proud that my striking good looks are so um... unique?

Since I was having trouble finding my famous twin, I did what any social media user worth her salt would do. I asked other Facebook users. I got suggestions like Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt from the 1971 movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) and Janeane Garofalo. I liked both ideas, but I thought I might find someone even better, so I turned to Google. After searching the keyphrase, “find my celebrity look alike,” I stumbled across’s Celebrity Collage.

…Which is clearly broken. After uploading this picture, I, flatteringly, received an 80% match with the elegant Grace Kelly, a 78% match with smoking hot Mary Louise Parker, and a 75% match with Gene Tierney. I think this website is trying to sell me something, don’t you?

I then tried, which wanted my email address before finding my celebrity look alike, and then claimed that I looked like two separate teenyboppers named Rachel, neither of which I felt at all resembled plain little ol’ me. I suppose the art of internet-based celebrity look alike identification is as yet an inexact science.

I have yet to pick my celebrity doppelganger. Have you? You’d better get on it, because soon enough Doppleganger Week will be gone the way of the dodo, and Wayback Week, and the What Color is your Bra meme…

Side note: More interested in finding your true facial twin than your celebrity twin? Then check out Coke Zero’s Facial Profiler made especially for Facebook. While it seems to have some of the same problems as My Heritage’s Celebrity Collage and, this snazzy app claims that it will find your twin among Facebook’s over 350 million users. ...Once again, I was “unique.”

Did you have better luck than I did finding a twin? Post your results in the comments!

Jennifer Escalona is an Atlanta-based professional blogger and social media consultant who writes about small business, technology, and intercultural marriage. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook or read more of her work at


  1. Some of us were just not meant for fun on Facebook, although I do appreciate you helping me to finally figure out why all of my Facebook friends were sharing intimate underwear details a few weeks ago (I thought maybe it was my new aftershave).

    In an attempt to join in the Doppelganger mischief, I went to to pick up my celebrity collage. Due to technical difficulties, I didn't get it, but I did pick up a nice un-get-rid-of-able toolbar instead.

    Then I went to Face Double, but all I got there in exchange for my email address was an inbox full of grocery coupons (I've got a great dollar-off Scott Tissue if anyone needs one).

    Then I went to Coke Zero's facial profiler. After profiling, it informed me that none of Facebook's 350,000,000 users looks anything like me. I'm not quite sure what to make of that, and I never liked Coke Zero, anyway.

  2. I did Face Double and got Halle Berry (what?!), Shania Twain, Diane Lane, Ashley Judd, Alyssa Milano, and Karina Lombard. Oh, Internet, you time waster!

  3. Jen, you are such an engaging writer! I enjoyed your post. And Ray, I'm with you, I wondered why all my FB friends suddenly looked young and sexy.

    As for the tool bar episode...that is exactly what keeps me from doing more "fun" things online. Those fun, frivolous sites always seem to be infected (literally and figuratively) so that they are more trouble than they are worth.

    I promise to update my profile if I ever get the nerve to find my double.