Friday, June 27th, 2008
We all know that Avatars are important. Having an Avatar in a community means that you are planning on taking that particular Community seriously. If you are using a default Avatar in a Social Networking Community not only will they not believe you are there to take their community seriously, but they probably will never take you seriously. Having an Avatar is a way that members of a Social Networking Community can put a face to your name.
I’m a very "Visual" person. Visual people have an easier time remembering an Avatar before they remember your name. For me, I could run into the same person everyday in the supermarket and it could take me several times to remember their name, but I can guarantee you that the day after I meet them for the first time I will remember what they look like. It’s just the way it goes.
A computer is a one-way window into the very large World Wide Web. Other than getting to know us via Social Media conversation our Avatar is the tiny picture view that the community members can see us…. can get to know us. By blocking the visual window with a default avatar we become less personal, lest trustworthy, less open. Who would want to spend any time with someone like that?
But, what happens when your appearance changes? Do you update the window? Do you let the Online world know?
Last week when I cut my long hair off I began to immediately question whether my Avatar needed to be changed.
Was it really necessary? After all, my online friends & Colleagues don’t really HAVE to know.
The thought of changing my Avatar was so scary on so many levels. Other than the work involved, my fears were…
- Would my new Avatar stand out? Would I blend in with others?
- Would the Online World realize who I was? Was TheNanny612 name enough for people to recognize me?
- Would people stop clicking?
- Would people stop voting?
- And, What was it about my Original Avatar that made it stand out in the first place? Not knowing didn’t help my fears any.
My Avatar Made Me Famous
In January of this year ProBlogger wrote a post featuring me and my Avatar…. mentioning me as a "familiar face". How then can I even consider changing my avatar?
Fear!! Fear slows me down so much these days. My biggest fear about the Avatar change….
Would the Conversation Stop??!!
As a matter of fact my change of appearance was a huge topic of conversation on Plurk that day, the next day and for a couple more days after that. I heard not one negative thing about my new hairstyle. And, I received tons of support regarding the Avatar change. The conversation was huge. I knew what I needed to do… my Avatar needed to change.
My fears were normal fears. I asked the question on Plurk and not only did I have people understand my fears, but they supported the change. As a matter of fact, not one person said I shouldn’t change it. The reason for this I believe is because the picture was me. It represented the new me, the excited me, the me who was not only ready for change but excited about it.
My wonderful online friends love me. They think my avatar should be changed because it reflects me… the me right now. That’s who they want to see when I’m online. My new Avatar… The Window to Me.
So, as I am still in the middle of updating my Avatar on all the Social Networking sites I frequent, I still question whether this new Avatar I am using is the one that I will stick with. I question whether this Avatar will have the same impact that my old one did. It is possible I will change my Avatar a few more time before finding the right one. Time will tell whether this avatar is the right one. Change is scary, but at the same time… it’s exciting too. But, what my avatar is and will always be….. your Window to Me!!
Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
People like to talk about social media sites in terms the amount of traffic sent by getting on the front page, backlinks, profile backlinks, and passing pagerank.
Image credit: sara.musico
Today, we’re going to have a little fun with it. We’re going to take the web 1.0 metric of time on site and go a little more touchy feely with it for a web 2.0 world. Trust me, this will be fun. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite most addictive sites within social media. Perhaps they aren’t even my favorite, but rather that I can’t seem to get myself off of them 🙂
There’s a reason that people are taking a long hard look at Plurk, some of them even migrating or at least spending more time there than on Twitter. Two words: Instant gratification. As if Twitter wasn’t instant gratification enough to type in 140 character points and responses, Twitter has fallen from some people’s obsession list as Plurkers seem heavily engaged, providing rapid threaded responses. It isn’t uncommon to see dozens of responses to a Plurk in 15 minutes – something you’ll never see on Twitter unless your name is Guy or Scoble. What’s worse (best?) is that Plurk’s karma, a key factor in its addictiveness, will actually go down if you’re inactive for a while. Oh, and don’t Plurk too much, the safe Plurking habits guide recommends no more than 30 Plurks per day. Brilliant.
Once you’ve found interesting people to follow and have a following, Twitter is an awesome place. Also helpful is to be watching some search tools and have a good client (I’m big on using Twitterfox and Hahlo for the iPhone). It’s great for asking questions, looking for resources on a project, and keeping up with what people are doing.
Breaking news can often be found on Twitter as well. And yes, it has been criticized for its uptime performance – the same people that are hitting the refresh button every 2 minutes while Twitter is down 🙂 Yeah, it’s that addictive.
It’s been around considerably longer than many people think. StumbleUpon is one of my favorite sites due to all the great finds I get through it. SU is a true discovery engine, something that if positioned correctly can give traditional search a true run for its money. StumbleUpon is doing something right, and people are taking notice. I’m a big fan of what they have done with SearchReviews (now in Yahoo as well), putting in your friends stumble ratings right on the SERPS.
I know what you’re thinking. Facebook is for kids. It’s annoying. It invades my privacy. Say what you will, but with facebook chat, a few addictive apps, and seeing people on there that mainly stay off other social sites (read: have a life off the computer), Facebook is still a daily mainstay for me. It’s a great way to connect with people that you haven’t seen in years, and you can quickly get lost in time through all the possibilities.
Image credit: Valleywag
Say what you will. Digg has its issues, but for me, it’s still something I’m checking out throughout the day. While Digg has its challenges and critics, it really is a great place to find a wealth of content (and finally has a new comment system). Yes, a lot of it is just funny/linux/apple, but there really is a lot of good stuff.
There are several others that just missed the list for me: Mixx, Reddit, LinkedIn and FriendFeed, just to name a few. Reason is that I’m finding with the demands of my total addict sites, I’m just not spending time on these other sites every day consistently.
Which social sites are you finding the most addictive?