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The Changing Faces of Social Media Avatars

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Do you change your avatars? Yes? No? If so, how often? At Red Shoes PR we often have this conversation as well as with others in and outside the industry.

I confess, I change my avatar frequently. It usually starts with Twitter about every month or two. From there, as I use the other social media tools, I update the avatars as I go along. By the time I finish the whole smattering of them, it’s time to start over. But I am OK with this.

I know, I know. But what about branding you say? Whatever. Have you ever seen a celebrity’s photo in person, then you see them in person and you realize they are using a photo that’s about 15 to 20 years old and they no longer look anything like that? And what about real-time social media? Someone sees you on Twitter, Facebook, etc., and then meets you in person and you look absolutely nothing like your social media avatar???

Look, life changes. What looked OK a month or two ago, might not necessarily ring true today. My hair color changes frequently. During the winter I wear sweaters, during the summer I wear lighter colors. Sometimes, I want to look smart so I wear glasses. And then there’s Halloween when for one day I looked (a little bit anyway) like Kate Gosselin.

I know it’s confusing for others when I change it so frequently, especially on Twitter. But from my perspective I like when others change their avatars because I can see another “face” of their personality. The new photo catches my eye as I make the connection of the name, tweets and new look. In my head, through your comments, photos, and interactions, I am conjuring up who you are in “real life.” It’s like putting a puzzle together. So the more avatars I see of you, the more I am able to put the pieces together for a more complete picture.

But the funny thing is, no matter what I look like in my avatar, you can pretty much bet I’m wearing red shoes. So I get branding. But my changing avatar also reflects who I am and how I have chosen to represent myself through social media.

What do you think?

To change or not to change avatars … that is the question.


“Changing Faces” Photo by Brenda Plonis via FlickR

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