Switching my profile picture and why it’s important

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been posting on this new blog of mine, and I’ve been reflecting on the power and pitfalls of social media. One of Sidneyeve Matrix‘s recommendation in her keynote address at the University of Delaware’s Summer Faculty Institute on May 29 was that you need to claim your social media spaces. I’ve been using the handle “mathplourde” for many years, and have claimed many spaces for it.

My current avatar

My avatar, 2009-2012

The avatar I’ve been using for many years is from the 2009 Sakai conference, when I was named a Sakai Fellow. Although I still like that shot, and that it still represents who I am, I thought it was time for a change. Some reasons include:
  • I’m holding a Sakaiger in my hands, an obscure but legendary creature most people do not recognize, therefore making me look childish.
  • The shot was taken in a ballroom with bad lighting and people in the background.
  • It associates me with the Sakai community, which is not a bad thing but only one part of the story. I’m also a social media enthusiast, an Ed. D. student, and an educational technologist.

My new avatar

Sidneyeve also recommended to get a good head shot and to use it consistently across all your spaces. I had the chance of getting such a portrait taken by my Evan Krape at the Office of Communication and Marketing at the University of Delaware, to be included in the Experts at UD directory (my profile is not up there yet, I still need to provide some information). I got permission to use it more widely for my social media presence.
My new avatar.
As an advocate for the use of social media for professional development, I think a portrait like this one helps reflect a my professional persona and also helps people recognize me when they meet me face-to-face, leveraging my online presence a bit more in achieving the most important part of social media: connecting with the right people.
But let me know if you think this is too boring 😉
If you want to know more, see this this Mashable article that provides some tips on how to select and design your profile picture (although I agree with everything but the part about using South Park of Simpson characters – that’s just annoying, and I’ve missed people I wanted to connect with at conference when they have use something like this on Twitter).
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