Last week, as I sat in the conference center at the Kalahari with bloodshot eyes, double fisting Monster Energy drinks, anxiously awaiting the start of CodeMash while I forced down some bacon and eggs to get me going, I realized something: I "know" all these people.
I looked around the room and said to myself "hey, there is Corey Haines, Alan Barber, and there is Jay Harris and Leon Gersing", and I did that pretty much that entire day. Something was different this year, and it was that I recognized people.
A friend of mine told me a story where he went up to Jim Holmes to register and he said, "Don't I know you from somewhere?". My buddy immediately made a huge smile and leaned over the counter to get a little closer to him and said, "Does this look familiar?". You see, Ryan Lattimer's twitter picture is a close up of his face he had taken at work, and when he did that, Jim got his joke and immediately recognized it was from Twitter.
I follow nearly 700 people, and I use Tweetdeck groups to help separate the blazing feed of posts from everyone in my list to my friends and certain keywords I am looking for. If I happen to see something on the "All Friends" ticker, then I'm just lucky. But there is something to be said about seeing those faces over and over again.
Now, back to my story about why your Twitter picture is important. I have been twittering back and forth with Charlie Sears (of notorious CodeMash Rock Band fame) about some homebrewing techniques for the past few months, and I knew he was going to be at CodeMash. I had never met the dude, but when I saw the faux-hawk I knew it was him, well, because of his Twitter picture. When I finally went up to say hello, he told me he didn't know how to find me because the only way we knew eachother was from Twitter.....and my Twitter logo is a picture of my car :(
Those of you that do actually know me (not in the Twitter sense), know that I am pretty obsessed with my car, and it has always been kinda like my online persona. I never really wanted to have my ugly mug all over the Internet. That is great and all, but I realized it has limited me because there is no way that anyone could have been sitting in that conference and recognizing me if I hadn't previously met them. I'm no celebrity, but knowing someone's face was an immediate ice breaker to go up and talk to them. You may even know a little bit about them beforehand, but at the very least you already know their name.
So, all of this being said, I have decided to take a crappy picture of myself with my webcam and change my Twitter picture, as well as my LinkedIn picture, Gravatar, etc.
My "online persona" is now actually ME. (if you want to see or talk about my car, I'd be happy to oblige upon request)
So, we have a year left until CodeMash v184.108.40.206. and you may have way less than that before your next conference. This is my challenge to you: If you are one of those XBox avatars/Car Pics/Random pictures of your kitty on Twitter (or anywhere else online for that matter), try using a picture of yourself and we will all "know" eachother before we have ever met.
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