Zeitgeisters, I’ve renovated my website lately and I got this thing called a globally recognised avatar – a Gravatar. Your Gravatar is supposed to be your avatar in every place you need one. If you comment on someone’s blog, if you Twitter, if you mouth off on a forum – wherever you’ve travelled to online and identified yourself using your email address – then potentially your Gravatar could be there symbolising you.
For some years my blogger avatar was this censored photograph (below) from my time as business man in Chicago in the 1970s. We were in the auto accessories business. We made nearly $10 million dollars a year from fuzzy dice and gear shift 8 balls. And everywhere else on the Internet I was represented by the jaunty piece of stationery you’ll see at the top of this post.
Neither of these things are very me. And certainly having two non-me avatars simultaneously made about as much sense as a Senator Barnaby Joyce press conference.
It was time to bring together my numerous online outlets under the umbrella of a single image. My Web designing buddy Edwin of Geoffrey Multimedia (who redesigned mrtrivia.net) suggested a cartoony avatar. You will have done something like this yourself, somewhere on a computer, designing your Mii for the Wii, for example. You choose your face shape, eyes, eyebrows and everything else from a range of disembodied features. Edwin went to faceyourmanga.
He was nearly done when I arrived at his office and I said something like, “What the f**k that doesn’t look anything like me.” He looked at his work, looked at me and said, “Yes it does.” We got to work on a redesign. I agreed with the nose choice but I thought the mouth was wrong. Wasn’t happy with the style of beard. Whinge whinge blah blah. This went on for about ten minutes.
In real life, I resemble nothing so much as the Comic Guy who runs the Android’s Dungeon on the Simpsons (aka Jeff Albertson, trivia fans). True, I am not yellow, I have four fingers and a thumb on each hand and I am gifted with Eurasian-ness, but there’s definitely a resemblance. I was unhappy with range of thin-necked, emaciated bodies on offer. And the ears….mine are not jug handles. I have damn fine ears.
Eventually we settled on the design you see below. It looks NOTHING like me. This Gravatar Mr Trivia annoys me by being a little bit too cool for school. Sure, he’s got popcorn in his beard, something very likely to happen to me, but from his Morpheus in The Matrix shades to his well-shaped peeved eyebrows that say impress me, I want to punch him in his ‘toon face. That can’t be good psychologically.
Elevate the Insignificant