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:
When I saw you post within my Bloglines reader and saw your picture before I read the title I thought that was a great thing to do for each post displayed in a RSS reader.
I wonder is that can be done for all posts?
Trisha Lyn Fawver says
@Solardave if you use WordPress there’s a plugin called wp-avatar that lets you put a picture in each post in the upper left hand corner with text wrapped around it. Pretty handy plugin that can be found in their plugin gallery.
Stephan Spencer says
That is a great idea. That headshot image of me appears only in this post because I added it by hand. You could add it to your templates. Or use a plugin like Trisha suggested the WP-Avatar plugin. There’s also the RSS Footer plugin to put a sig line including your image/avatar.
You can also put your avatar into your blog’s favicon too, which will cause it to show up next to your blog’s name on many RSS readers.
Finally, if you’re using Feedburner, there’s their “Feed Image Burner” tool that’s worth checking out.
David Carralon says
Hi stephan, i agree with the opinion that using an image of yourself as an avatar can bring you more credibility and trust. People want to get the feeling that there is a real person behind every email, profile, website or whatever other thing that represents yourself and the services you provide. There is a similar post on the SEOMoz site around the subject of avatars and social media profiles on the web, which you may already know of :