4.14.2010

What Does Your Avatar/Bio Pic Say About You?

As much of my life goes, this post has come about as a reaction. In this case, from a new follower on Twitter who has a bio pic that can only be described as 80's Douchebag. He's sitting in his car, likely a BMW convertible, looking over his right shoulder with his sunglasses partially down his nose and he's got an "Oh, you FOUND me" expression on his face. The scene is staged and I'm sure it was part of a photoshoot he bought for himself.

Seriously. The image you are conveying with this bio pic is that you're an asshole. Sorry but that's what I take from it. The only way you could look like a bigger tool is if you'd popped your collar but you're wearing a button down, not a polo shirt so that's probably against the rules according to your GQ style advisor. You could be the villain in one of Adam Sandler's movies (thinking the douche in the Wedding Singer).

Sure, my bio pic isn't much better but at least I'm not mugging like an idiot for the camera. And I'm actually doing something I love doing which lets even a casual observer see at a glance that I'm a mountain biker. The other picture tells me nothing except he's got a receding hairline and a goofy smile to go along with his Bimmer convertible.

There are other blog posts and articles detailing the different kinds of avatar/bio pics that people use and what they mean.

Formal Headshot - The straight up head shot is more formal and indicates a balance between serious and frivolous.

Angled Headshot - non-conformist and probably pretty good at snarking others.

Look at My Boobs - usually a Twitter slutbot but sometimes just a good looking lady who's proud of her mammary assets. Which is fine, there are almost certainly men on Twitter with bio pics of them flexing to show off their pecs or arms or whatever body part they think will garner them the most Oohs and Aahs and follows. This bio pic is usually taken in a mirror so the person is not looking into the camera but at themselves which makes sense because they are totally into how awesome they look.

Activist - image is always changing to reflect the current "movement" be it election day solidarity, Hope for Haiti or PETA. This is more of an add-on than a stand alone. The original bio pic is embellished with a tint or twibbon (an annoying term that means a Twitter ribbon on your bio pic). I'm guessing these folks have bumper stickers on their car that say things like "Subvert the Dominant Paradigm" even though they may not be able to define what a paradigm is.

Corporate Logo - not interested in social networking but very interested in driving traffic and sales. I'm generally not interested in following corporate Twitter accounts though there are some exceptions in regards to bike companies.

My Pet is Teh Kewt - bio pics of animals, cats or dogs usually, indicates someone who holds their animal in rather high regard. I use a favorite image of my dog leaping as my Disqus avatar because it is a funny pic.

Ze Party Animal - a bio pic of you doing a keg stand relays the clear message that you are a party machine. You rock out with your cock out and can't understand why you end up going home alone most every night.

Stalker - if you use a pic of a celebrity as your avatar you are either obsessed or devoid of your own personality. Either way, not a compelling argument to follow you. And oh yeah, the celebrity you are "honoring" with their image as your pic? They think you're creepy as hell and wouldn't let you anywhere near them, ever.

Default - you can't be bothered to personalize your profile or are incredibly boring.

High School Yearbook Black and White Headshot - this bio pic tells me you really don't like having your picture taken and/or you really wish you could be 18 again. You also regularly tell those damned kids to get off your lawn.

Cartoon - either a fan or someone who absolutely hates having their picture taken or hasn't been able to take/get a photo of themselves that doesn't make them want to puke.

Animated Gif - one recent new follower had figured out how to put a rather long sequence into his bio pic of a stick figure trying to break through the wall of the graphic. Like a five minute sequence. I watched it once and was not compelled to follow him back.
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