Occasional Thoughts on Educational Technology and Life by Judy Brophy

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Does Your Avatar Say About You?

Seems like we are constantly being asked to "personalize" applications we use by adding a picture that either is you or stands for you, your avatar. 

While you might just take the nearest image at hand,  my guess is that folks put some thought into the image they choose. They are making a statement. And what does that statement say?

Here are some things I've noticed about different types of avatars and what they say to me, at least. (These are all from Twitter, though I think you see the same types of avatars in Facebook.)

Posed portrait
Is this an artist? A model? Someone with too much time on their hands?
Digital image
I distrust this automaton. Is there a soul here?

Parts of faces once looked innovative but is now one of the older tricks in the book
This is a shy person, possibly artistic.
I am cool
I’m new here... or possibly just lazy?
Way too sexy for prime time
Cheesy. Having trouble taking what you say seriously.
Couple shot
A case of confused identity? Who's speaking here?
Too much detail
This is not the place for a mural. Don't try to fit too much in. Says to me you have trouble making decisions.
Lousy pix
Would you buy a used car from this man?  
I’m simple? I work with kids?

Sepia or B/W
Sepia or black and white photos stand out in the crowd. Shows independent thinking.

How about the picture that is obviously better looking than the person? I share no examples but you know who you are.

If your picture changes a lot you look indecisive.

People who don't care for their faces use their backs. 
Sometimes you just have a great face. Use it.