Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Nice to See You

I can't decide on an avatar (aka. profile photo). I keep making new ones in the vain hope that it will express just the right sense of who I am, only to left with another feeling of what I call "uploader's remorse". Narcissism aside, choosing an avatar is an important aspect of your online life.

In the practical realm, a headshot is positive ID: searching for your old friend Jimmy Smith on Facebook is a long slog without a visual to go on. Even remotely common names are tough to distinguish on Fb, as my friend Aaron Norris was amazed to find out. Skype is a good example of this, where you may get an contact invitation from "jdriahh" who? without an avatar (or clear message) it's hard to distinguish friend from spammer.

Many people use photos of their kids. I don't, but my identity is already so intermingled with my family's that I'm craving ways to distinguish myself from them instead of pouring myself further into the personality blender.

Cartoons, flowers, pets, bumper stickers and the like are all popular and appropriate in the right situation. Indeed, central to my own facination with avatars is their expressive potential, and, being a visual artist, I have fun with them. Sometimes way too much fun. What I've come to realize is that there are some social networks where showing your pretty face is the best choice, and this course is probably one of them.

This site from Pima County Library takes a good look at avatars, privacy and identity issues, with links to avatar making and free photo cropping help sites like this.
- Thatcher

1 comment:

  1. I think avatars are a great way for sharing identity without giving up too much - especially for kids ( read teens). It can be a conversation started, but it really does help giving out too much info.