Monthly Archives: September 2012

Does Your Avatar Represent You?

Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr, Youtube, Gmail, any forum you care to frequent. We have a lot of social websites these days, and most of them let you upload a picture that will be linked to your profile. Whenever you post anything, people can see the picture and associate it with you. This is deemed as your Avatar, or as I like to call it, your Internet Face.

Many people don’t take it very seriously, just using a picture of someone or something they like or something silly. Some use a picture from their favorite game or movie. Some use a picture of themselves. Whatever you choose, your internet face represents you, and sometimes I wonder how many people put thought into how accurately their picture actually reflects their persona.

See, I have a terrible habit of looking at people’s pictures and assuming that that’s reflective of their personality. If the picture is of a real person, I’ll often imagine that person saying whatever the poster writes, even if it’s obviously just a picture of a celebrity.

For example, one friend of mine on a forum used to use Taylor Swift as his avatar because he thought she was hot. It took me awhile to realize that he was actually male; since the avatar was female, I instinctively assumed he was too. It didn’t make a whole lot of logical sense, upon reflection, but when does the subconscious mind ever use logic?

So, just to illustrate, let me show you my Internet Face.

This image comes to you courtesy of my friend Ankh (or @PurePareidolia) and I think he did a fantastic job capturing my essence in a 512×512 image.

Firstly, it fits the theme of my blog Ninja Game Den; he’s a ninja and the background is the same as that from the website. Even if I didn’t have a website prominently featuring ninjas and bluish purple, it’s still representative of the fact that I think ninjas are awesome and I think blurple is pretty.

But I don’t think that’s the important part. The important part is his demeanor. He’s holding his sword ready. He isn’t squinting, as if to imply caution or suspicion; he looks angry. He looks defensive, aggressive, and ready to lash out at a moment’s notice. And if you’ve seen the conversations I’ve had on Twitter or on NGD, you’ll know I can lash out from time to time. Going by the Ninja Turtles personality gauge, I’m a Raphael.

So yeah, I think this is a good internet face for me. It’s indicative of my attitude, my interests, and my style.

This probably sounds silly, but I’ve spent time looking at my fellow internet people’s avatars and pondering whether those pictures represent them effectively. For example, I think @Desgardes‘s avatar is pretty much perfect:

It’s very quirky, silly, nerdy and hilarious, and if you follow Des on Twitter, you know that’s pretty much him in a nutshell. It also goes to show that your avatar doesn’t have to be a person to convey your style.

I don’t feel quite the same about @StevenBeargal‘s avatar:

Don’t get me wrong; it’s a really cool looking avatar, very stylized and fantastical. The problem is that from far away or in a thumbnail version, he looks angry, or at the least pretty intense. And that’s not really Jarenth. I’ve known Jarenth for over a year, and the guy is very, very chill. I’ve rarely ever seen him get upset. I feel like something more relaxed, thoughtful and welcoming would be perfect.

I’m putting way too much thought into this, I know. My brain is only capable of thinking about pointless things.

So, here’s a question: Do you have an internet face? If so, do you think it effectively represents you? Why or why not?