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Today’s Lesson is on Avatars (Profile Pictures)

Welcome one and all, today’s lesson is about avatars.

First of all, do any of you know how the history of the avatar came into being?

I’m not talking about the movie like the pic on the left, but the computer images we now see on profiles.

Avatar the movie  Now  Means   —->  (no?)   Blank Avatar  (yes!)  —->  BlogBloke avatar

It’s quite an interesting history and one I would highly recommend you read:

“The use of the term avatar for the on-screen representation of the user was coined in 1985 by Chip Morningstar and Joseph Romero in designing LucasFilm’s online role-playing game Habitat.”  Taken from Wikipedia/Avatar.

As you all know avatars, or as some would say “buddy icons”, ” gravatars” or “profile images” are very popular no matter where you go on the net and yet many people do not use them, or worse do not put any thought into their “public” appearance.

Let’s discuss a few reasons why having an avatar or profile image is important:

  •  When joining any community, having your own avatar is a way of introducing yourself to others as well as a way for people to recognize YOU when you join in discussions.
  • Having your own profile picture or avatar, will make any comment you make on a blog stand out. Human nature being what it is, people relate to putting a face to a name and people will respond more easily to what you have to say.
  •  Maybe the most important reason to have your own avatar is to help you build awareness, brand recognition and do what we all want and need to do - build relationships.

Up to now I have been using the word “avatar” or profile picture, but if you had noticed I highlighted a word that I want to introduce you to — “Gravatar”.  Gravatar is short for “Globally Recognized Avatar”. It is a hosted avatar service for profile pictures and it is recognized as well as suggested by BlogBloke to be used when commenting on his blog.

This is a great “tool” for anyone who is serious about building their relationships with other bloggers or social networking for the simple reason that once you set up your avatar (profile picture) it will follow you throughout the entire web which makes it the best “follower” you will ever have.

There has been a growing debate of late with the new social network Google+ regarding being “real” and while there is a growing concern amongst many people about the usage of birth names versus recognized names, at this time the debate about profile pictures is a bit of a question mark, at least to some people.

What are you going to do?

Regardless of what image you decide to use, I’m inclined to say that the more memorable and unique you can make your avatar the better. Keep in mind that avatars are very small, so use contrast effectively and a high quality image. If you use an image of yourself, you can still be creative and do a lot (if you know how) with editing and color manipulation. There are many online tools you can find that work very well and are easy to use to help you be creative with any image you choose to use.

Curtis AvatarMitch Mitchell avatarDorothy Sanders Avatar Discussion Time:

1. When you talk to others, do you explain or tell an interesting story related to the avatar you use?

2. Do you use  one avatar or do you use different ones for different social networks?

3. What do you think of blog comments that have no avatar?

When you leave class today give these questions some thought, and as always if you have any questions or different points of view I would like to hear them.

Class dismissed. Any questions?

..edited by Blog Bloke

Written August 19th, 2011 by | 30 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Blog Tips for Beginners, Featured Tips, Social Media Tips, Writing Blog Content , , , , ,

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There are 30 Comments so far to “Today’s Lesson is on Avatars (Profile Pictures)”

  1. Just to add:

    1. When using an avatar as your profile pic I think it is best to use an image that is close your true likeness.

    2. I also made a baseball cap with my online name to further identify and differentiate myself from the crowd.

    3. If you are using the same avatar all of the time, that avatar will eventually become YOU online.

    Google should take note. Nuff said. ;-)

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    Reply by: Diane at 8:09 am said...

    @BLOGBloke, When I was researching the topic of avatars, while most people agreed with you, there were a lot of people who felt that a unique and memorable image was the priority.

    When you look at your avatar as an example, it readily shows YOU, but has been made unique and thus memorable.

    I also read of people who use different images for certain styles of social networks, differentiating between the personal life and the “business” life and it seems to work well for them.

    I would say that as long as there is consistency, then the actual image used will eventually become secondary?

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 8:47 am said...

    @Diane, most avatars I see are just random cartoon images people have adopted for their own use. I recommend using something like WeeMee that you can fully personalize to your own liking. And of course consistency is preferable.

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  2. I have a question. What is the meaning behind your wolf avatar that you use on Twitter?

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    Reply by: Diane at 8:18 am said...

    @BLOGBloke, For a long time I used to think that “cute” was the way to go when it came to profile images plus I had been “told” never ever show your real face. That was then and this is now.

    Fact is I happen to have an affinity to wolves or wolfies as I call them, so I used to use wolf images…what can I say? lol

    I had an image up of myself and family not long ago, but took it down for personal reasons. I will eventually figure out what I will use… honest..really..hmmm

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  3. I use all sorts of avatars. The twitter avatar I use is my favorite I think

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    Reply by: Diane at 1:46 am said...

    @Curtis, Good morning ( here it is morning)… have you noticed that on your comment (here) you do not have an avatar? When making comments on any blog, having that “image” will help others see you as a “real” person and will listen to you better…just sayin :-)

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  4. I think the avatar acts like the logos that companies use to represent their companies. People tend to remember logos more than names. So, having an avatar is going to help people remembering you.

    Thank you for this great post!

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 8:50 am said...

    @Janett Brown, good point. But I don’t see your avatar!

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    Reply by: Diane at 11:32 am said...

    @Janett Brown, Hey Janett as BLOGBloke has stated, you have made a very good point, we do tend to remember images more than the printed word. While companies have known this for many years, the fact is we can and should be applying this to ourselves…speaking of which and please don’t be embarrassed, but you have forgotten to get your own avatar, which should be a priority for you to help you brand yourself and to gain even more credibility…k?

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  5. Its an stunning movie..fully creative and very outrageous..

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    Reply by: Diane at 11:34 am said...

    @bcm, The movie was indeed beautifully done and the images have become icons in their own right. Out of curiosity what does bcm stand for and what do you look like? ( pssst that was a hint to get your own avatar… )

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  6. Trust me, the first time I heard about Avatars used in blogs, I thought it was referring to Avatar: The last Airbender :P

    Whenever I see a new comment in my blog, I expect to see the face of the person who is commenting but when I see nothing, (how should I put it) it feels strange. Feels a stranger commenting. With an avatar, I feel more secure!
    That’s how I feel !

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 8:52 am said...

    @Mushfique, nice avatar btw. :-)

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    Reply by: Mushfique at 5:16 am said...

    @BLOGBloke, Thanks bro !

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  7. Helpful ideas! I have been looking for something like this for awhile. Regards!

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    Reply by: Diane at 11:26 am said...

    @Kris, Hi Kriss, thanks for stopping in and I am glad this was useful for you…now… as your teacher - where is your avatar? I hope that when you come back I will see some kind of image of you. You should also know that when you use gravatar.com you can also link your image to your blog, twitter or any other account for that matter. Can you tell me why that would be useful?

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  8. It’s easier to dismiss blog comments with no avatars as spam, because it’d be hard to imagine a spambot bothering with a photo. An avatar also gives a face to the comment, assuring other readers that it was written by a human being.

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    Reply by: Diane at 11:41 am said...

    @MicroSourcing, It’s great to see a person from Manila visit BLOGBloke, so thanks for coming in and thanks for your thoughts on the subject of avatars ( profile images) I hope that all the other people who have commented without an avatar to their comment will note that when you make a comment of any value and there is not only an avatar but a link to a business, people will become curious and want to click on the name of the person commenting. Who knows if you are looking for a product or service ( or just a good person to connect to via their blog) putting in your URL along with an avatar, sure gives you a chance to be noticed.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 7:38 am said...

    @Diane, peek-a-boo .. I see you.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 7:41 am said...

    @MicroSourcing, good point about the legitimacy of comments and avatars. Even if it is just a cartoon it still lends more credence to a commenter.

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  9. Watching 20/20 “The Sixth Sense” last night was an eyeopener that no matter what avatar we use there is no certainty that social media users are for REAL.

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  10. I dont always use the same avatar on different sites. Also, on blogs I really think its not necessary to have avatars.

    The biggest reason for avatars I feel is the usage in forums, so that you dont have to look up the username of every poster. Of course this doesnt work, when people change avatars all the time or the forum is very big.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 8:22 am said...

    @Mario Dulac, if you want your avatar to represent you then consistency across the web is important. Don’t you think having your personal avatar above would be better than the generic version and make you stand out from the crowd?

    I do.

    Thanks for dropping by Mario.

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  11. New Post: Using Avatars or Profile Images http://t.co/20gjW0P via @BLOGBloke @blogneta

  12. Today’s Lesson is on Avatars (Profile Pictures) http://t.co/S7MKAR0

  13. Today's Lesson on Avatars (Profile Pictures) http://t.co/kb2Afwk what are your thoughts? @AgingAbundantly @mony2flow @GammerThumbs ?

  14. Much thanks to @blogneta for her new post today: Using Avatars or Profile Images http://t.co/20gjW0P

  15. To hell with Google: Use an Avatar http://t.co/20gjW0P

  16. It is so appreciated that people have like the post "lesson on Avatars" and yet have not used avatars themselves http://t.co/1qjHhaE

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