With the advent of Social Networking, there comes a whole new set of rules pertaining to privacy of information. While some people take it upon themselves to give as little information as possible to try to protect their private information, others find nothing wrong with giving TMO (too much information) to the point that you know everything about them from their favorite hobbies to the precise time they had sex and with whom.
One area that seems to be creating a bit of a stir is avatars. Do I use my real picture? Do I use the picture of my favorite pet? Do I use a photoshopped picture of myself as a sex toy? The latter, of course, being done by only the most creative of all the contributors to the various networking sites.
Some experts on interpersonal relationships have delved into the question of just what types of avatars are appropriate when trying to reach out to others. One such expert, Dr. Nowall Buddy, has come up with a list of what one should ask himself before posting an avatar on his Facebook page, Twitter, or even a discussion forum on a site they may belong to. Here is Dr. Buddy's list:
1. Do you want to impress people? If so, go with something intelligent looking such as a picture of Albert Einstein or even Leonardo da Vinci. He suggests, however, you stay away from Stephen Hawkings, as that may only confuse your followers. Anything with a brain is effective.
2. Do you want people to know who the real you is? If so, then by all means, post your own picture, but beware, some may not find you as handsome or as pretty as your mother has led you to believe all these years. And, Buddy says, if you are aging, lie. By that, he means, post a picture that shows you at least 20 years younger than your present age. It just makes for a prettier internet.
3. Do you have a need to show your humorous side? If so, choose an animated or cartoonish avatar but beware, most serious writers, if in fact you are posting on a writers' site, abhor cute little avatars of, say, Calvin and Hobbes. Better to choose an undulating half-naked man to get the funny point across.
4. Most importantly, while sex sells on the written page, (nude and naked used on a regular basis within postings), sex toys as avatars may be viewed by some as offensive. Know your target audience. If you are a member on a forum for say "Horny Husbands of Hoboken" then, by all means, choose anything with the word vibrating in it. Otherwise, be prepared to have all your posts glossed over due to the fact that the avatar is getting all the attention and what you write goes completely unnoticed.
Hopefully, the above information will help clear up any misunderstandings regarding your personal choice of avatars for various sites.
Next week, we'll touch on the issue of just how short and sweet your Twitter tweets should be when breaking off a relationship.