What Your Online Icon Says About You?

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I’m thinking of changing my blog image or what you might call my “icon.” You know, that little image that pops up whenever you make a comment or write to someone from Google email. Why? I’m not sure exactly but for some reason my current icon doesn’t feel like it ‘fits’ anymore. Can an icon be shed and reborn as we grow and change?

How existential.

And since I often think long and hard about things that maybe don’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things, I decided to dig a little deeper to understand what the word icon means. So I looked up the formal definition and here you have it:

Icon:

1. An image; a representation

2. A representation or picture of a sacred or sanctified Christian personage, traditionally used and venerated in the Eastern Church.

3. An important and enduring symbol.

I thought it would probably be ok to leave number 2 alone for the purposes of my study since I’m fairly certain no one needs to venerate my anything, let alone my blog icon. But numbers 1 and 3 are sort of interesting, no?

If you are on WordPress (love you guys!) then whenever we interact here in our little cyber neighborhood we see tiny images next to our words. We see “important and enduring symbols” that represent each other. Some are photos of what we actually look like, some are photos of us on our best day, some are faces, some are silly, some are smiley or serious, some are symbols, some are images of a flower or a pretty shoe or a mountain or some other thing that moves us enough to want it to represent us.

People also choose icons on Facebook, of course, and I feel like I remember a time when everyone used their actual image. Then people who were camera shy but also didn’t want to keep that creepy default ghost head icon that is assigned to you by Facebook in the hopes of forcing you to at least choose anything else, started to get creative. These people would choose a picture of a bird or surfboard or sunrise.

Some people have an image of their child as their icon which I’m not judging but I am saying this – I have a hard time reading your sarcastic comments with the same wit when it looks as though your newborn is posting them.

In any case, the possibilities for blog icons are endless. It is fascinating to me why people choose one thing or another as the little symbol to represent them to the online world. And I would like to choose an icon that welcomes groovy conversation.

I’m curious what you guys think about the use of icons. Why did you choose the one you did? Do you feel it is easier to relate to a person in the cyber universe if they use their actual photo or if they use a symbol?

Peace, always.

xxx

12 thoughts on “What Your Online Icon Says About You?

  1. Fashion Mayann

    When I customized my site, I used a purple and white leopard motif, but the white letters of the name of my blog didn’t stand out, so, I changed it and chose chocolate to express my passion for this delicious delight. I must confess that, at the time, I didn’t know it would appear every time I make a comment ! I like mystery too much to use my own portrait but, honestly, maybe that if you use your actual photo, it will make you even closer to people (especially as, unlike me, you write about personal stuff on your inspiring posts) ! xxx

    Reply
    1. longandluxe Post author

      Hi there, Fashion!

      That is such an interesting story about how you chose your design and icon! Thank you for sharing your thoughts :) I love seeing your icon because it looks delicious and also because I love your comments and posts. And whenever I see that chocolate swirled goodness I know I’m in for a treat!

      Just as you say, I’ve been thinking of changing to an image of myself for that very reason. All along I’ve been hesitant to do so. Thank you for reading and for your insights! So grateful.

      Wishing you a peace filled Friday :)

      ~ Allison

      Reply
  2. dievca

    I don’t photograph well and I would like to stay anonymous on the blog — so the photo I choose to represent ‘dievca’ is a handcuff bracelet and chain collar from ALC. These items represents my blog’s mix of D/s leanings and passion for fashion. I cannot wear a collar/bracelet all the time, so the photo allows me to express the type of relationship I have chosen. I do own the bracelet and seeing the photo is a lovely reminder to me that I belong to Master.

    Reply
    1. longandluxe Post author

      Dear dievca,

      I think the story of your symbol is beautiful and I must say I always warm to it because I know your comments and words will be honest, eloquent and true (and at just the right moments, witty as well!).

      It seems to me when someone chooses just the right symbol to go with their thoughts and presence, it can enhance instead of hinder connections online.

      Fascinating, indeed! Thank you so for commenting, and for the joy of connecting here in our little cyber neighborhood.

      Peace ~ Allison

      Reply
  3. Mike Pratt

    Although I dislike being photographed and taking self-portraits, I always use my real face on the websites I frequent. I suppose it gives the audience the feeling that I am indeed real, not someone hidden behind an icon. Especially on WordPress. I’m here sharing my images, thoughts, ideas, etc. so I at least want people to know who it’s coming from. As a visitor, I also enjoy seeing those who I’m interacting with although it doesn’t make the conversation any more enjoyable if there is a face or an icon. The words, feeling and connection are most important! This is all my personal opinion and it is neither right or wrong, just mine :)

    Have a wonderful evening dear Allison! Enjoy the weekend :)

    Reply
    1. longandluxe Post author

      Hi Mike!

      So glad to hear from you. I feel very similar to you in that I’m not a big fan of my own photos. And I agree I have the same warm and interesting conversations with writers who appear as symbols as those who appear as themselves. And it’s funny too that it’s not about “looking good” as much as it is about looking real.

      Writing to you now made me think of something. Maybe I want to use my real image because I’m feeling ready to own what I write about on a deeper level. It’s been a transformative time for me these past few months and my blog has become something much different than what I set out to create. When I started writing I needed to feel anonymous, protected. I was a little afraid to get real.

      Maybe I’m ready to write without a mask now. We shall see. . . part of me really likes the idea of a symbol, too. I love writing because it’s not about what you look like, it’s about what you have to offer.

      I’m so grateful for your comments and insights, my dear Mike!! Wishing you a peace filled weekend :)

      ~ Allison

      Reply
  4. dreamiliscious

    Aesthetically, I love icons and symbols… though, it is tough to choose or design just the perfect enduring one, thus no tattoos! I don’t often use my own photo but somehow decided to use one for my dreamiliscious icon because dreaming is so close to that source… the sleeping head. But really, I detest pics of myself, especially caught while sleeping! I may now be in search of a new icon. In general, I think changing it up & trying it on for size is a good thing. :-) You my friend, are beautiful in all avatars and icons and especially, in your own truth. XO

    Reply
    1. longandluxe Post author

      Haha, no tattoos for you, then? That’s ok – better none than one you’d regret later :) I have two and only because I was sure beyond a doubt. I love your icon! That’s awesome that it is an actual photo of you – I think it’s beautiful and peaceful, and the electric blue conjures up the vibrancy of your dreams.

      What a very kind thing to say about being beautiful in my own truth. Your comment is so very, very appreciated. May we all get closer to truth and love daily.

      Peace, always my dear ~

      Allison

      Reply
  5. jackiemallon

    What a good question and very timely as I must change mine! The history of mine in a nutshell: I started blogging reluctantly because my agent recommended it as I had just released a novel. Hence the icon is of me hiding behind my novel! As the months have passed I have started to separate blogging from what my agent wanted and see it as a fun and creative exercise on its own (Who’d have thunked it? Not me going in!) And I’ve a bunch of new friends–some of them I spotted in the comments above:-) So new season, new icon…Just have to decide what the devil to put in that little box of prime blogging real estate :-) Ya got me thinking…

    Reply
    1. longandluxe Post author

      Dear Jackie, hello!

      So happy you’ve stopped by and your comment is intriguing . . . love how you call the icon a “little box of prime blogging real estate! Makes me feel less obsessive for posting about it. It’s a tricky thing to choose what pops up next to your words and mingles with the other folks in these little cyber pockets of the universe.

      Wishing you inspiration in choosing! Aren’t our friends just divine :) Hope you’ll come back again soon!

      Peace, always ~ Allison

      Reply
      1. jackiemallon

        You obsess all you want, lady! It gives us all fuel for our blogging ponderings over the first coffee of the day. Hope to be popping over often and, yes, our friends really are the cool gang in school :-)

        Reply

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