Avatars

Interrupting blogging hiatus to procrastinate on writing legal research assignments…

If you were on Twitter at all this weekend, you probably noticed that at one point or another, seemingly everyone changed their profile pic to a cartoon one created by Face Your Manga. If you missed that, then perhaps you remember last year when suddenly everyone on the Internet suddenly became Simponsonized. If you missed that, well, then just trust me on the fact that these avatar creators have a tendency to sweep through the Internet like locusts through a corn field and that sooner or later you’ll see one.

I love playing around with avatar creators. They’re a fun and easy creative outlet. And if your choice is play around with them or write an ALR exercise, well…the choice is not a hard one. They also serve a really important use for social networking sites. I don’t have too many hard and fast rules about using social networking sites, but I am a strong believer that users should either put up a picture OR an avatar that is somewhat humanoid in representation. I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t tell you why, but all I know is that when I see a picture or humanoid avatar, I feel more connected to the person on the other end of the social networking service than if they have a more abstract picture up.

You know, I understand about not wanting to put up a picture. I myself am pretty un-photogenic and I’m just now learning how to take a flattering picture. (One occasionally slips through that makes my neck look like I’m a starting linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, though.) And it can also be pretty scary to put a picture up on a site when you don’t know what serial killer is going to be able to see it. For the longest time, the only picture of myself that I would put up on the Internet was this one:

I still use it for my MySpace since that place still sort of creeps me out.

So, anyway, if you don’t want to use a picture of yourself, the avatar creators are a good alternative. They are almost all really easy to use, require no actual artistic talent and you can get a pretty close approximation of what you look like out of them. Last night I decided to start gathering all of my various avatars and profile pics on my flickr here. As you can see, I for the most part actually do try and make my avatars look like me. That’s really more of a function of me not being that creative to think of some other look rather than me trying to accurately represent what I look like. I don’t care if people’s avatars look like them, just look like something I can connect to!

If you have any good recommendations for avatar sites, leave a comment. I have a whole bunch of work that I’d really rather not do right now!

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2 Responses

  1. I still sometimes use my South Park avatar.

  2. I agree with your take on “humanoid” avatars. This will not stop me from occassionally using my avatar of a monkey wearing glasses, though; If you think about it and believe in evolution, monkeys are “humanoid”, and are only made moreso when you add the glasses, so this should not break any of your suggestion.

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