The more I get to know people online, the more I want to know their personal appearance. This is why I tell everyone who begins on Twitter or Facebook to use a recent photo for their profile instead of a cartoon. I’ve been breaking that rule myself until recently. For the past two years, I’ve been using illustrations, rather than photos, for my avatar on Twitter and Facebook. These cartoon illustrations of me in my vacation cowboy hat have become part of the branding for my social meteor persona.
When I attend a Tweetup or social media event, individuals are slow to connect the real-life ‘troy janisch’ with my online ‘social meteor’ persona. In the past two months, I’ve met several online friends face-to-face. Each time, after introducing myself to them, I had to remind them that I’m the guy behind the cartoon.
Dino Dogan of Triberr asked me to (literally) consider ‘updating my image’ before joining the popular Anubis tribe on Tribber.com. “You should really consider using a picture of yourself,” Dino said. “It will allow tribe members to feel closer to you.”
I replaced my Twitter and Facebook avatars with a recent NASA Tweetup photo. Then I asked my favorite tweeps for their opinions. While some of them liked the original cartoons. All of them seemed to prefer my real-life photo. Sam Fiorella said it best: “The Illustration was fun, but I prefer ‘talking’ to a person more than a cartoon character. Welcome to the Twitterverse.”
I’ll keep using cartoon images on the Social Meteor website, where its become part of my personal brand — but for social networking sites I’m happy to make the change. I’m using social media to build real-life business and social relationships. it makes sense.
And, after all, you asked for it.
Speaking of Personal ‘Branding’…
This woman got a tattoo sleeve of 152 Facebook friends. It’s just become A LOT more work for her to ‘unfriend’ them.
Credits: The photo is of this blogpost drawn on canvas using a Sharpie. It’s the example canvas I created to help bloggers who are participating in my ‘Blog on Canvas’ initiative.