The Topless Men Post, or, A Word about Avatars
WARNING: POST CONTAINS SHIRTLESS MEN! DO NOT SCROLL DOWN IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY TOPLESS MEN!
Not that it’s a post about shirtless men, or even about how many times I can cram the traffic-increasing phrase “shirtless men” into a single (shirtless men!) post, but I thought I should titillate warn readers up front. If you scroll down (or have a really huge monitor) you are going to see naked manflesh.
SPOILER: It’s not gonna be that exciting.
Anyway. Internet presence, blogging, generating exposure (hur hur hur), all that good stuff. If it’s something you’re working on, go ahead and do yourself a favor: find a single image of yourself that you like and stick with it.
If you have one little picture by your name everywhere you go, people will be able to quickly figure out that, for example, @GeoffreyCubbage on Twitter is probably the same guy as cubbageg on WordPress, and as far as exposure (hur hur hur) goes, that’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, it’s only an ideal strategy for people who’ve recently had one of those perfect-hair, sitting-in-front-of-a-marbled-gray-screen photos taken lately. For my part, I’m pretty broke and only know photographers who do things like scan raw meat and frame giant prints of the image so that O Best Beloved can hang them right above the table where do you mind I’m trying to eat my pork chop here. It took quite a bit of rummaging through other friends’ Facebook pages to find something even vaguely presentable for my most professional web functions:
And unfortunately, the shot’s mostly a lie. I don’t wear glasses, for one thing (we were going to a costume party), and we trimmed out the part where I’m clutching a glass of brandy like it was the last love of my life (I didn’t really want to go to the party, either). I use it for my articles on Google Knol and a few other internet things, but I find the whole thing a little off-putting, and the end result is most people know me instead as the blurry purple guy in an ancient cell phone photo from the days when a camera in your phone was intensely high-tech.
I personally think the shot’s an accidental masterpiece, but the unfortunate reality is that I’m both unrecognizable and shirtless, making it a really lousy image to tie my internet persona to. Such is life, and I suppose it could have been worse — we could have gone with something that actually expresses the reality of my life and personality in a tangible way.
The sad conclusion here is that I’ll likely be the blurry purple guy for a long time yet. What about other bloggers, writers, or just plain ol’ anybody with an active internet presence? Does your photo look like you? Does it represent you even though it doesn’t look like you? Would you like an extreme close-up of scanned raw meat? Drop me a comment…!