Twitter Rule #1 – The Importance of An Avatar Photo

Twitter Rule #1 – The Importance of An Avatar Photo

By: Shelly Kramer
August 31, 2009

Twitter Rule #1: The Importance of An Avatar Photo: Keep Your Ta-tas Covered and Save Your Package For the UPS Guy

Okay, seriously. I’ve had it with the avatar pics that people use and it is time to take a stand. So unusual for me, I know.

Ladies, do you go to a meeting at your kids’ school with your boobies hanging out of your low-cut blouse? How about the monthly Chamber meeting? How about the grocery store? If you say no to displaying your God-given charms in any of those public places, well then, I say that it’s only right that you keep your ta-tas covered in the social media realm. Honestly, I don’t need to see how buxom you are and if that’s the basis for anyone following you, are you really interested in that?

Twitter is not a dating service. And, while some may occasionally use the medium to flirt, overall, I find it to be a world filled with intelligent, thoughtful, professional people (and by “professional” I simply mean people who work for a living – regardless of profession) who love engaging, learning, sharing thoughts and ideas and making friends. Some engage in social media for business, some for pleasure and fun conversations, but it is rarely a place where physical attributes make a difference. In fact, in my opinion, it’s just the opposite.

When you barge in with your boobies hanging out, what message are you really sending? Is it: “These are the assets of which I’m most proud, so I’m making sure I show them to you FIRST.” Or is it “I don’t have much intelligent to say or contribute, but if you get a glimpse of these babies, you’ll follow me back, for sure.” Or is it “I’ll flash you my boobies because they are sure to impress.” Surely that just can NOT be your intent.

Men, this is about you, too. We don’t need to see your rippling six pack and you can save your package for underneath the Christmas tree. Or, for the UPS guy. Maybe it’s just me, but I truly enjoy seeing what people have to say in the social media realm and when they cavort across my screen half-naked, with bulging biceps and boobies barely constrained, I find myself more annoyed than anything. But, you see, I’m attracted to brains, passion, intelligent thoughts and conversation, causes and real people. I don’t care whether they’re old, young, handsome or homely – I look for what’s on the inside because, in my almost a half century of life, I’ve discovered that that’s what really matters.

So, whether you’re just setting up your Twitter account and experimenting with the medium or are a veteran user, I challenge you to consider your avatar photo and make sure it really represents the “YOU” that you want the world to see – and get to know. Aside from keeping your clothes on, here are a few other suggestions:

  • Make your avatar a picture of you. Just you, not your cat, your horse or your kid. No matter how cute any of them may be. And don’t include a pic taken with your wife, your best girlfriend or your baby alligator. Your avatar is YOU. When someone engages with you in the social media realm, they want to talk with YOU, not any of those other things. And if you include people other than yourself in your photo, how in the HECK do we know who we’re talking with?
  • If you’re set on using a logo, design an avatar that INCLUDES a logo, but not an avatar that IS a logo. Refer to the paragraph above. If you’re a winemaker, terrific. I want to get to know you, first. Then we can talk about your wine and, once I like you, I might just buy some. But I really don’t wanna have a meaningful conversation or interaction with a logo. Do you?
  • Don’t change your doggone avatar even 20 seconds. People come to recognize the “face” that you present to them (your personal brand, you know) and, when you change it often, it really changes your personal brand – and it’s confusing. Keep it consistent. Change every once in awhile, if you must, but this really one instance where less is better than more.
  • Be honest. Don’t use a picture that’s 10 years old. That’s fake. And really kind a lazy. And, no matter what you may think, most of us don’t really enjoy having our photos taken and most believe we’re not very photogenic. Get over it. Have someone snap a picture, use your webcam – whatever, just take a current
    pic of your mug, suck it up and use it!

There you go – that’s the end of my Twitter Lesson #1: The importance of an avatar photo. And all kidding aside, this is really a critical element of your online persona. Be real. Be honest. Be yourself. That’s all anyone could ever ask.

  • Excellent points, as always! I hate seeing everyone’s “junk” on my monitor. (Though I must admit, I have never objected to the six-pack pics…)

    Thanks for your insight. 🙂

  • Shelly,

    Thank you so much for your insights! I’ve often wondered anyway how one can fit such *big asests* into the required upload dimensions? Shoot, since I believe my legs are my greatest physical asset (ahem/wink), it’s taking me such a long time to figure out how to fit it all into my avatar:~)

    But seriously, it would behoove anyone not to properly consider the excellent points you have offered in this post.

    Thank you, I appreciate it and I am so glad that you and I have connected along the virtual way!

  • Thanks,Jen.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and admire a nice physique and respect the determination that that requires. For me, though, it all goes back to this: would you show up at a party where you didn’t know anyone with your shirt off? And, if the answer is no … well, then, methinks shirts won’t hurt. Gah, but I’m an old-fashioned goober, aren’t I??

    Thanks so much for reading and, even more, thanks for making time to comment – you’re a doll!

  • Robyn Archuleta

    You are AWESOME! All good points. Enjoyed reading – thanks for putting it out there.

  • Henie,I’m cracking up thinking about you with a pic focusing on those glam gams. Personally, I think your fab smile is killer – love it! Thanks for reading and for your kindness.

  • Hi Robyn,

    Glad you enjoyed. I’m a nut – can’t be helped.


  • Excellent post and not surprisingly witty to boot. You are a class act my friend. So glad elizabeth pointed me in your direction.

  • Well Hello Claudette,

    What in the world are you doing reading anyone’s blog at 4:26 am, girlie? Thanks for your kind words. Any friend of Elizabeth’s is someone on my “must know” list as well 🙂 Thanks again.

  • Shelly always nice to see your sense of humor in writing! But, I have to say I resemble that remark. Okay maybe not my Ta-tas as you call them but I do like changing my Avatar! I have been doing that for years I love finding new ways of placing my mug out there. FYI they are all recent. You see I found this fun site that lets you get as creative as you want. 🙂 I do understand your point really I do! lol

  • I know, honey, and it’s part of your charm – that whimsical changeability. And I heart you for it. And the reality is that you are so busy you don’t NEED sm as a marketing tactic to help brand yourself, drive awareness, etc. – you are amazing as is. But, lots of people do engage in various forms of social media to do those things and, for them, I do truly think that a little continuity is a good thing.

    You, my great friend, you have earned the right, based on your fabulous reputation, to do whatever the heck you want!!!


  • Ted Nugent

    I guess I’m going to have to change my avatar now to one that doesn’t show my man boob cleavage. Cool website ladies!

  • Ted

    I frickin’ love this article! I honestly clicked and read it even before knowing who wrote it, D’oh! Yet the whole time I was thinking, “this tone is very familiar!” Shelly, you da wo’ man! Very true though. I have two avatars I use, one for “open” and one for “closed.” Depends on my mood I guess. However, when my “closed” icon is used, very few people respond to ANYTHING I write. When my “open” icon is employed, it’s like I just walked into the Cheers bar, “TED!”

  • Ted

    BTW, the gravatar used on my response here is my “closed” version… don’t let it scare you away, hahaha!

  • Thanks for this article. It is really helpful, and I am willing to share it in my facebook and twitter.

    I believe this is the foundation for people who want to success in their social media nowadays.

    Again thanks for sharing.

  • Ted,
    I love your gravatar – and you do a great job of letting your personality shine through – in all of your avvies 🙂 Thanks for reading, my CO Twitmigo!!

  • Thanks Jimmy, for the read – and thanks for your kind comments. People sometimes lose sight of themselves and the message they want to send in the social media realm, and we all need reminders every now and then – even me! Thanks again for reading and especially, for making time to comment.

  • Shelly, another great post, that I laughed all the way through-thanks! One thing I am thankful for learning from my days as a performing artist (a jazz vocalist, would you believe?), is that people need visual interest-it’s why the news has a multiple camera angles, and reporters walk when they are talking to someone they are interviewing…ever notice how you are either drawn to or averted in distaste when an anchor has made a poor choice in attire? It’s usually cleavage that gives me the peevage on news programs-what are they selling? So thank you for your thoughts, and I will keep my avatars true to ME but always change ’em up a bit for interest-ta-ta for now. 🙂

  • Omg … “cleavage that gives me the peevage” seriously – I LOVE that! And you are officially notified that I am, henceforth, using it and perhaps even claiming as my own. Hehe. Thanks for taking time to read my craziness and even more for sharing your thoughts – which are spot on, of course 🙂

  • I see a lot of wedding photos used as avatars on social media sites. Admittedly, only a few are of people with cake smeared all over their gobs…but really–is that the ONLY time people get their picture taken?

  • I really don’t mind looking at ample breasts. Maybe it’s just a subconscious and atavistic response to seeing a capable female mate. I don’t know. For me, cleavage is a warm invite. — And wardrobe malfunctions are a lagniappe.

  • Anyone who knows the word “lagniappe,” much less is able to use it in a sentence is definitely someone who can look at ample breasts all he (or she) likes, Mike. Thanks for the comment that made me laugh the most 🙂

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