avatar: iconographic representation of self

Yesterday I had a shoot with photographer and artist, Tyson Crosbie. The purpose: social media avatar.

There are plenty of people who participate in social media and social networking simply as a way to keep in touch with friends. Regularly uploading new pics from various ad- and misad-ventures. Sharing stories, songs, and videos. Making plans. Adding new friends. And adding apps that allow them to engage these friends. All for fun.

Then there are those, who may do all of the above, but also see social media as an essential tool for building personal brands and online reputations. They aren’t just adding friends, they’re building a network. And very likely, they are building multiple networks across multiple social media platforms, from blogging to Twitter to Facebook to Flickr.

At the core of each platform is the individual user profile with various biographical information including user handle, given name, location, about, web presence, and … profile image. This one image serves as an iconographic representation of self. Avatar.

But how often, even among those building online personal brands, do we truly think about our avatar and what is conveyed when we select it. Don’t most of us just search for one of our favorite pics, crop it square, and click upload? I did. But as I continue a transition from just another girl keeping up with friends on MySpace to Ms. Herr when online, I’ve been realizing that my iconographic representation needs to be much more than just a quick hacked pic.

Soft edits will be posted in the near future for feedback.

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  1. #1 by Chuck Reynolds on May 9, 2008 - 10:59 am

    Agreed. Although my avatar isn’t the greatest quality head shot but it does prove extremely functional as people who I don’t know in real life recognize me instantly as who I am because they’ve seen my twitter updates or my site and know what I look like before they meet me. My face, as awkward as it may be, is my brand as much as my name is.

    So get a new avatar from Tyson (I’ve got my photo shoot finally Monday) and use it everywhere 🙂


  2. #2 by Ms. Herr on April 16, 2009 - 10:23 am

    For additional thoughts on the power and importance of your avatar, check out Seth Godin’s power of a tiny picture post.

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