My Avatar – Your Window to Me

Written on June 27, 2008 – 9:31 am | by Shana Albert |

TheNanny612 Avatar Face-Off

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??!!

Heck, no!!

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!!

TheNanny612 Avatar Face-Off Winner

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  1. 23 Responses to “My Avatar – Your Window to Me”

  2. By androo on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    great post… it makes a big difference when people use the same image on all their social networking sites (twitter, mybloglog, etc.) it’s as if they are branding themselves… cause i do recognize some of my online friends by their avatar / icon… again great post and a nice new picture :)

  3. By Chris on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Well you already know I love the new one!.. I think a little change every now and then will help you. I think you have the name branded. If anything it will draw more attention to yourself. I know when I saw the new pic, I was like.. wow, who is that?! I don’t remember this person, but then I saw your name, and was like wow! new pic! whew!… Little changes are needed every so ofter. And like I said, you can’t be over the age of 25! :P

  4. By Steven Bradley on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Shana I understand the worry, but I think the change in avatar is working out really well. It’s possible some will take a little longer to realize it’s you, but that should only last a little while at most.

    And the new avatar looks great. I like the haircut.

  5. By Xarah on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    I like the new you! You look much younger, fresher, and more sassy!

  6. By Todd Mintz on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Changing an avatar every so often (when like here, you make a major change in “your look”) makes sense. People who change avatars often based upon their mood isn’t smart for personal branding because it causes confusion for their “visual” followers who might glance over their Tweets / Plurks.

  7. By Shana Albert on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Thank you all for the positive comments & the wonderful compliments. :)

    I’m still a bit wigged out that I changed the avatars…. change has never been a close friend to me. But, I know that my pic reflecting the real me was very important to me too.

  8. By Tim Jackson on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Yes, our Avatars are that first images people have of us. They can reflect a seriousness, a professionalism, a sense of humor or irony. Changing avatars, just like changing our “About Me” pictures on our blogs, etc, can be a frightening thought… but it also reflects a willingness to embrace change. If there’s one thing that is constant about Social Media, it’s change. Lots of it.

    And yes, the new avatar looks great. Glad you made the change!

  9. By Zak Nicola on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    I’m glad you wrote this Shana. I’ve been having the same thought about changing my avatar with very similar fears.

    When you see the goggles come off, know that you helped inspire me (I’m not a big fan of change either.) :D

  10. By Maki on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Hey Shana…I think you look terrific and the new avatar is awesome!

    I wouldn’t worry about changing it. My rule of thumb is that if the avatar is a authentic visual representation of who you are (or want to be)… it should be used. The branding issue is not that important IMO. Authenticity is.

    People can and will adapt to changes easily as long as they are not made very frequently. :)

  11. By Tanner Christensen on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Nice article Shana!

    I love the new avatar, it’s much brighter and really shows off your great smile.

  12. By David Temple on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    Shana you could be bald and still look great. I on the other hand have gone with an icon instead of my face because…….. I’m in the witness protection program.

  13. By Shana Albert on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    @Tim Jackson – Thank you for pointing that out. You mentioned that Social Media is about change… you are totally right there. It is a wonder how much I have embraced Social Media that change is still so hard. Thank you so much for joining in on our conversation. It is so good to see you here. :)

    @Zak – Change is very difficult for me. Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one. I have gotten use to your goggles, but more than that I have enjoyed your conversations, so I can guarantee that I will look out for you even if your avatar changes… just like you did when I changed mine. Thanks for joining in.

    @Maki – Thank you so much for supporting me through my avatar change, Maki. I really appreciate it… there is not many bloggers I respect more than you, so truly… I appreciate it. :)

    @Tanner – I’m glad you enjoyed my post, Tanner. And, I’m also thrilled you like my new avatar. I’m glad to see you… I’ve missed seeing you around. :)

  14. By Shana Albert on Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

    @David Temple – You crack me up!! Thank you for the compliment, my friend… and for stopping by. :)

  15. By Kristen on Jun 28, 2008 | Reply

    Shana~You are such an inspiration. I so need to change my avatar but I am scared. Everyone knows the red shoes but what if they don’t like my face as much. Should I care? This would be a drastic change for me but might be necessary. Thank you for the encouragement. :)

  16. By Paul on Jun 28, 2008 | Reply

    I like the new look Shana.

    I have went the other way, replacing my photo avatar with a cartoon one – why? We’ll I came across some old captain caveman cartoons about a month ago and thought he fitted my personality more than my photo ever did. Y’really need to inside my head to discover the unimportance of it all.

    Change is good, however that said, sometimes it does go way wrong — anyone remember the pop star Prince from the nineties rebranding as a symbol, there may have been some contractual dispute in there but his career nosedived until a resuregence brought about by the year 1999.

    Anyway, im waffling, great post and great ne look.

  17. By Shana Albert on Jun 28, 2008 | Reply

    @Kristen – Your red shoes are certainly the type of avatar that cause people to remember you, but I also think you have that type of personality to make people remember. I don’t think it would take people very long to have any avatar you chose to be burned into their memory.

    @Paul – I love your new avatar…. Captain Caveman was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. Thanks for stopping by. No need to worry…. I didn’t think you were waffling at all. :)

  18. By Amadou M. Sall on Jun 28, 2008 | Reply

    This post is cool, almost philosophical.

    Of course it’s always good to know and recognize all the various faces of our friends. In your particular case, all your “faces” are beautiful.

    And your new look is awesome!

  19. By Shana Albert on Jun 30, 2008 | Reply

    @Amadou M. Sall – Thank you so much. That is very sweet. :)

  20. By Dave on Jun 30, 2008 | Reply

    Hi there… my name is Dave; long time follower first time commenter..he he…. U could change your avatar to anything and I’d still track ye down ;0)

    Nice to see the new one popping up all over… change is fun – now let’s do the furniture!!

  21. By Jon on Jul 3, 2008 | Reply

    What do you think about using brands as avatars? Do you think they’re more or less effective than head shots?

  22. By Rob on Mar 30, 2009 | Reply

    I almost always prefer long hair on women. Often I hate short hair, honestly. But yours is about as impressive a makeover as I’ve ever seen. Congrats.

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Jul 1, 2008: TheNanny612 and the Three Avatars | Social Desire
  3. Oct 29, 2008: My Mother’s Values Help me to Succeed at Social Media | Search Engine People Blog

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