Avatars and signatures

Discussion of other topics not necessarily Keats or poetry-related, i.e. other authors, literature, film, music, the arts etc.

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Avatars and signatures

Postby Saturn » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:03 am

Think about this one...

Message board etiquette seems to require both an avatar or a signature, or both [they are optional of course].

It's one of the things I've often wondered about on various forums I'm part of.

What does your avatar/signature say about you?

What impression are you trying to convey of yourself with either images or words?

Could you do without an avatar or a signature?

Personally my avatar is sometimes a photo of myself or a picture of someone I like, a TV show or album or musician that's inspired me.

My signature is sometimes just something funny I think people might laugh at or other times its something very personal and has a deep meaning to me.

Go...
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Postby dks » Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:04 pm

My avatar is a picture of a little girl fairy--I just really liked her depicted innocent/mischievous nature because I feel akin to her--and her big eyes and smallness--plus, her dark hair. You can't see her quirky striped leotard because it's cropped, but I immediately fell in love with her when I came across the picture on the web; the artist who made her is very talented. I assimilated myself with her when I first saw her. I like those little artsy fairies--they're fun.

My avatar changes now and again--that's significant, too, since I often get bored seeing the same one represent me over time. I think it tends to be a subliminal symbol of what I feel at the time or what I have going on in life...whether it's a photo of me or a picture with which I identify.

My signature is, of course, a Keats quote that has always struck a deep chord in me...I believe in its message wholeheartedly.
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Malia » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:51 pm

Great question, Saturn :) I'm also intrigued by people's avitars and signature quotes. How do these "symbols" reflect the personality of the person using them?

Well, as far as I'm concerned, I am a person who tends to develop an interest and then goes out and researches the heck out of whatever I'm interested in at the time. I'm never content with just knowing the brief "wikipedia" story, I want to know all the details.

I recently took a strengths inventory that told me one of my strengths is "input"--basically collecting information on subjects that interest me. . .subjects like Keats, for example! :lol: We "input" people are those who carry the most random trivia around in our heads. For example, I once worked at an after school center for kids and a social worker walked into our main office once and began spouting all this information he knew about various mental and emotional problems that people can have. He mentioned knowing one little girl who had a disorder wherein she felt the need to pull her hair out all the time. He couldn't remember the name of the disorder, but I shot out, "oh, you mean trichotillomania" and everyone in the office just stared at me. How in the heck could I know that? I read my Dad's DSM IV diagnostic manual--I wanted to gather information on a mental illness I planned to give a fictional character I was writing about and decided the whole manual was worth a read--intriguing stuff! :)

Anyway, all that to say that when I get into a subject, I really get into it. Which brings me back to my avitar/signature line.

The bunch of avitars I'm using these days reflects my current interest in the football player Brian Piccolo and his most amazing and inspiring life--the man has SO much to teach us about what it means to be positive and truly care about others. Believe me, I've learned just about all I can about this guy and subsequently I've learned a lot about football, the Chicago Bears, embryonal cell carcinoma presenting as a primary tumor in the mediastinum ;), and Wake Forest college in North Carolina :lol: Someday that info will come in handy on Jeopardy, I'm sure of it!

As far as my quote is concerned, Anthony de Mello is one of my favorite spiritual teachers (he was a Jesuit from India who blended Christian teaching with Buddist and Hindu spirituality--often through the use of meditation). "Stay Awake!" basically refers to the philosophy that we are not our circumstances or our feelings. . .we can be happy and content only if we *choose* to be--and we need to be emotionally, spiritually, and mentally "awake" in order to do that. I guess that ties in with my Brian Piccolo avitar because he very much followed that philosophy during his life.
Stay Awake!
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:50 pm

I think I probably have a bit of a different perspective on avatars than most of y'all here since the place in my online life where they come most into play is actually on my LiveJournal. On a forum, while you do have the ability to change your avatar now and again, you only ever have the use of one at a time. It's a very concise opportunity to show the other people on the forum one thing about yourself. Depending on what forum I'm on, my avatar will usually be some kind of reflection of my personality with regards to the general topic of the forum. For instance, my first avatar here was:

Image

To me, this felt an appropriate image, namely for it's obvious Regency associations. But it also expresses a bit of myself in that it shows an interaction of characters that I particularly like. In any case, it's probably more appropriate than something like this:

Image

Bass clarinets?! Why?! :P

Next it was the James McAvoy icon during our noble campaign to cast him as Keats in the movie:

Image

Yet again, another obviously appropriate image with regards to the topics at hand. Finally we come to my current icon, which is in fact a picture of me. This one I feel says the most; for obvious reasons, it is a more direct representation of me than the other two, but it also shows the level of comfort I feel with the people on this forum (since I almost never use pictures of myself as avatar images), and also is designed in a way to display myself in a particular light: it's black and white, I'm not smiling, I'm outside. . . all sort of pensive and "academic" in nature.

In contrast, here is the icon I am currently using on the baseball-related forum on which I also participate:

Image

Now, this says very different things about me depending on the context in which I might use it. Suppose this were my avatar here on the Keats forum. People who didn't know me better might wonder what the world I was thinking using such a colorful, light-hearted, sports-related graphic on a forum about a very deep-feeling poet who died tragically in his youth. However, if I had used the Jane Austen avatar on the baseball forum, people would wonder why I'm being so sentimental and girly-girl amongst people who are there to talk about their team, joke around, drink beer, and generally have fun. . . no academia whatsoever. Furthermore, this particular avatar is an original creation intended to be funny (obviously), which helps to get my posts noticed amidst a group of people who've been together far longer than I've been involved in the forum. It's almost like saying, "Hey, I'm one of you too!" and getting involved without having to literally say as much.

So clearly, avatar choice is a pretty intense thing from my perspective when it comes to forums. But then, as I said in the beginning, I've been nurtured by the LJ way of doing things. While you've got your one rotating avatar on forums, I've got an arsenal of 70 to use on my journal. That fact alone says something about serious LJers like myself, since any number of icons above the 6 that are included with a free account are paid for. So obviously LJ icons are taken very seriously.

"But Credo, why would anyone do such a silly thing as pay for icons?!"

Well, I'll tell you! :wink:

LJers use icons not only as a means of identifying themselves through pictures. Most of us use icons which somehow relate to the nature of the journal entries which they accompany, whether they be topical or emotive (sometimes both). Probably the most unique factor of LJ icons, though, is the fact that they are actually quite often intended to have some sort of artistic value. It is a great stamp of pride for LJers to create their own icons and share them with others, and it is always good LJ etiquette to identify the makers of your icons. For example, here's my icon list: http://www.livejournal.com/allpics.bml? ... ntwhistler

Well, that's probably more than you ever wanted to know about avatars/icons in the world of LJ and beyond. :P
Last edited by Credo Buffa on Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Saturn » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:00 am

That's a bit more in depth than I expected Credo :shock:

Thanks for the effort though it's all very interesting :P
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Postby Malia » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:34 am

Great post, Credo. (Love your Twins icon, btw ;) ) I realize that my pics of a dead football player really don't belong on the John Keats forum, :lol: but I hope ya'll will endulge my whims. I'm a big one for getting excited about various whims :lol: Maybe I'll follow Piccolo up with Mr. Darcy :) (He's another wonderful whim, isn't he girls?)
Stay Awake!
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Postby Bill » Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:52 pm

Well, my avatar is a pic of Pete Townshend of The Who. He was a big influence on my playing and writing style, especially his energy on stage.

Oh, the pic is reversed as I'm a lefty player.

The signature is a little something I started writing back in high school, when you signed everybody's annual before moving on to college.

I wanted someone who read it years later to tilt their head and say "Huh?"

I also sign birthday, anniversary and holiday cards with the same statement. Just keeps folks wondering.

Image
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Postby Credo Buffa » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:15 pm

Malia wrote:Great post, Credo. (Love your Twins icon, btw ;) ) I realize that my pics of a dead football player really don't belong on the John Keats forum, :lol: but I hope ya'll will endulge my whims. I'm a big one for getting excited about various whims :lol: Maybe I'll follow Piccolo up with Mr. Darcy :) (He's another wonderful whim, isn't he girls?)

Well, you said yourself that Keats and Piccolo do have a lot in common, being both very talented and dying tragically young. Besides, if it says something about you, then that's the most important thing, isn't it?

I love my Twins icon too. :P That picture actually ended up on the front page of the sports section back home last season--and the bum-slapper just happens to be my favorite player--so it pretty much begged to be immortalized in icon-dom. :lol:

Bill wrote:Oh, the pic is reversed as I'm a lefty player.

That's a great little detail. :wink:
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Postby AsphodelElysium » Sun Oct 28, 2007 1:31 pm

My avatar is a screen shot of Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden and Terrence Mann as Harry's assistant, "Bob." I just wanted to have something up to celebrate the fact the SciFi network is going to re-air Season One of The Dresden Files, starting in November (just in time for my birthday :wink: ). Its a great show (the books are even better) and well worth checking out if you have a spare hour. Blackthorne and Mann are excellent actors anyway, but they do such a wonderful job with Harry and Bob. Its just a fantastic show, especially if you're a scifi/fantasy fan. :D
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