What does your avatar say about you?

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but that’s pretty much what you have to do with a tiny 40-40 pixel graphic on Twitter when someone’s tweet pops into your stream. (Avatar = identity graphic.) Obviously you can attempt to see what makes the person tick by reading their stream but if you have a busy account and you’re in a situation where tweets in your stream need more than a passing read, they need a comment or help, it’s hard not make a first impression based on the avatar.

I try really hard not to and for the most part do a good job of remaining neutral, but it has got me thinking about how people choose to display themselves in tiny form – with a tiny image and a tiny sentence of 140 characters. I spend a lot of time on Twitter and have come across my fair share of avatars, and not just in passing, where I actually have to converse with the tweeter. Sometimes your impression of their avatar turns out to be exactly right, other times not.

Here are my tiny identities – personal & work:

Screen Shot 2012-07-26 at 11.04.59 AM Screen Shot 2012-07-26 at 11.06.53 AM Screen Shot 2012-07-26 at 11.07.30 AM

What does your avatar say about you? Is your avatar

  • your happy smiling best this-is-the-real-me family snap
  • a professional agency shot with lighting and smooth skin
  • a drunken cuddle-buddy photo
  • a porn star boobie or other body shot
  • something from your corporate photo session
  • a serious face
  • a really angry finger-pointing or know-it-all self portrait
  • someone else’s face
  • pics of your kids or pets or a cat pic downloaded from the internet
  • a company logo
  • an arty something or other – what kids think electricity looks like or a heart beat or something
  • a landmark or national monument or tree or flower or fruit (ha! I’m in this group)
  • the faceless Twitter egg
  • a cartoon or mask
  • some other inanimate object – a car, a plane, a rocket … in fact what could we read into that choice?

There’s definitely no right or wrong, I just think it’s interesting. I have to say it is harder tweeting in response to someone with an angry face vs someone with a smiling face!


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