Awesome Blogging Avatars and Why Mark Harai Hates The Sales ‘Lion’
The weekend is upon us folks and I wanted to discuss a topic we can all relate to and one that has been receiving more and more attention recently: Avatars. Always up for a good conversation and debate, I can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts on this matter.
Mark Hates the Lion
About a week ago my friend and awesome blogger Mark Harai sent me an interesting tweet. Basically, Mark said he thought I should change my Lion Avatar on Twitter because it hid who I really was. “Hmmm,” I thought, “Mark doesn’t like my Avatar.”
(Note: An avatar, for those that don’t know, is that cool little picture next to everyone’s name on the comment section of a blog or Twitter. If you do not yet have a blogging avatar, hightail it on over to Gravatar and get yours before you finish this article. It’s free and it’s important!)
Always wanting to improve my personal brand, I let this roll around in my head for a few days before I responded to Mark, as I honestly wanted to analyze his opinion from all sides before delving into further conversation.
To sum it up in a nutshell, the following quote is a snippet from an article on Mark’s site:
When I get a connection notification in my email that has an avatar with no human face on it, I delete it. I don’t want any community I’m working to populate littered with a bunch of logos – I want to see the people’s faces I’m connecting with. It doesn’t need to be the CEO… It can be someone from the marketing, accounting, janitorial departments — just give me a real person to connect with!
The article goes on to make some great arguments regarding the proper use of avatars and some tremendous conversation ensued in the comments section from people around the blogosphere who wanted to pitch in their thoughts as well. I left a comment there also but wanted to bring the discussion over here to TSL as to hear what the great people of this community had to say.
Why Not Your Face?
When I started here on TSL a little over a year ago, one of the first eBooks I read on starting a blog was written by the incredibly popular Glen Allsop, who has one of the more interesting avatars on the internet with his ‘ViperChill’ logo and has said many times that an avatar should be unique, memorable, and brand worthy.
Taking Glen’s words to heart, and knowing my personal connection with ‘The Lion’ (I’ll save that for a future post), I knew I wanted my avatar to be just that- unique and brand worthy.
I am Iron Man
Do you remember the scene in Ironman II when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) informs the world “I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one…”? For me, that’s how I feel about the Lion. Does this mean that I’m not into ‘personal’ and ‘real-faces’? No, of course not, in fact, anyone that reads this blog regularly knows how I feel about adding a ‘face’ to your brand and business. This is also why there is a photo of me in the header of my blog along with photos of the ‘Sheridan Clan’ in the bottom right section of this page.
So the question is am I right or wrong? Is the Lion hurting or helping my brand? Not only that, what are the general rules of thumb for handling your blogging Avatar?
But before we open the floor to discussion, I want to make a few further points.
As many of you know, I recently did a guest post on the very popular blog, Men with Pens. When I emailed the owner James at MWP and sent him my guest post request, this was his exact response:
Awesome to hear from you, Marcus. You’d caught my eye a while back in our comment section from a thoughtful comment and a cool avatar (there’s something to be said for being different, eh!), so it’s neat to see you send me this.
Furthermore, as I explained to Mark on his post, one of the great benefits to the Lion avatar has been my ability to get noticed on blogs where there are heaps of comments. In other words, let’s say you go to a blog like Tristan’s at Blogging Bookshelf. That guy gets bajillions of comments with every post. As we all know, bloggers can get traffic from other blogs by leaving comments, especially ones that utilize CommentLuv, but that’s only if they get seen. With the Lion avatar, I’ve noticed my click-through rates are higher than the norm when I leave comments, and it’s simply because my avatar visually stands out.
I could site multiple instances where someone has contacted me about the Lion, heck, the wonderful Patricia at Lavender Uses and I had a conversation just yesterday about it, but I genuinely wanted to get your thoughts on the matter.
It’s Your Turn
To close, Mark Harai sent me another tweet after I left my comment on his article joking that no one supported my stance on this subject. And to be honest, maybe Mark is right. But then again, maybe Mark’s an idiot. 😉 So let’s set the record straight and get your thoughts on the matter, shall we? 🙂
- Do you feel the Lion avatar is helpful or hurtful? Why?
- What are a few ‘rules of thumb’ you’d list in describing how to choose the ‘right’ avatar?
- Have there been any reactions you’ve noticed to your personal avatar?
Note*** Please be honest with your answers, and don’t just agree with me because my kids are cute. Oh, and after you beat up on me a little, make sure you ‘friend’ me on Facebook. 😉
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