When you sign up for just about any social network, you have the option to upload an image that will represent you. No matter what the social site, you’ll want to associate an image with your online identify. This image is your “avatar.” It’s your online persona. It’s the way the online community will see you. With it, your profile appears more real, more tangible, more human. A good avatar will help people relate to you as a fellow human being, to take notice of you, to remember you, and to listen to what you have to say.
Sure, you could choose not to upload an image, but why would you? Then you’d be a faceless user that no one remembers or identifies with – making gaining traction in the network much more difficult.
You don’t want to blend into the woodwork and be ignored, right?
Choosing your avatar doesn’t need to be difficult. Your image can be a simple picture of your face or just of something you like or identify with. Using the same avatar on many social networks helps brand you and helps people remember who you are. When people recognize your avatar across many platforms, they are more likely to want to be your friend and vote for your story submissions.
What avatar do I use? It depends. If it’s a persona that I don’t want necessarily tied to me / my company, then I go for an illustration – something distinctive. (No I’m not going to show any of them to you here.) If the profile is one I’ve associated with my own name, then I use this headshot photo of me: