Remember on Monday when we talked about our domain names and mistakes we may have made with them? When you think about it, how many of us know the exact domain names of some of our favorite bloggers?

Today’s Lesson

How do we recognize a blogger? Is it by their real name? Their blog name? Or, their avatar?

I’ve listed 14 random blog authors, the name of their blog, and their avatars.

I then mixed up each category.

Take time to study each list.

Don’t cheat. Honest answers will help all of us to gain better recognition in blogosphere.

BLOG AUTHOR
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1) Miguel
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2) Natural
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3) Betsy
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4) Jannie Funster
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5) Urban Panther
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6) Jewel
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7) Tom Volkar
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8.) Vered
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9) Karl
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10) Linda Abbit
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11) Lance
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12) Eric
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13) Davina
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14) Alex
BLOG NAME
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Delightful Work
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Loving Pulse
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Pink Ink
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Thinking Out Loud
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Jungle Of Life
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Passing Thru
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Work Happy Now
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TenderLovingElderCare
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Urban Panther’s Lair
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Wisdom & Life
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Motivate Thyself
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Someday Syndrome
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MomGrind
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Jannie Funster.com
AVATAR


Today’s Assignment

Were you able to match the author to the blog and then to the avatar?

What do you think holds the most weight?

The author’s name?
The name of the blog?
The avatar of the author?

If you do not have an avatar/gravatar yet, check out “How To Get and/or Add A Gravatar To Your Post Comments”and claim one for yourself. If you have any problems, please do not hesitate to ask.


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Disclaimer: For the above lists and links, I used copies of the avatar you have left here on my site. If you choose not to have your name, link to your blog and your avatar used for this assignment, please let me know and I will remove them promptly.


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  1. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    Haha, this is an interesting way of showing (and polling) how effective these things stick in our minds. Well, for me, I only recognized Vered of MomGrind, but that’s because I knew about her from elsewhere. It didn’t exactly started from reading her blog.

    Kelvin Kao┬┤s last blog post..JellyTelly Launches Beta Site

  2. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    This is an interesting question, Barbara, and I think it relates to online branding.

    Whether bloggers consciously set out to ‘brand’ themselves or their blogs, or whether any branding is accidental, it is a great benefit to gain instant recognition in the blogosphere.

    I immediately recognized Eric, Alex, Vered, and Urban Panther from their avatars. I could name them from seeing their avatars.

    So, I guess this means that the name linked to an avatar is useful. I intend to get an avatar quite soon.

    However, avatars aren’t in place on all blogs nor do all bloggers want to have an avatar (either their face or a graphic)- so using one isn’t essential.

    In my opinion, the ideal scenario is when all three of the elements you suggest are equally recognizable, either together or separate.

    To have awareness of your name AND your blog AND your online image is pure gold- branding wise ­čśë

  3. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – this is an interesting question. When I was looking through my reader the other day, I was wishing that the blogs were listed by the authors name, instead of blog name.

    Some of them are really hard to remember. And out of the ones you listed – Vered’s domain is the most memorable. And Alex’s is probably the second most memorable.

    I find the avatars with pics of a person, or an anime easy to recognise but not the ones with a picture of an object.

    Cath Lawson┬┤s last blog post..Barrack Obama – A Leader In Twitter Use

  4. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    A game, how fun, Barbara!!

    I went down the avatar column and could name 8 out of 14 with no sweat. The rest I had to use the other columns to match up with.

    I believe all of them are important. Some people learn better through words, and some by photos/graphics — that’s why it’s important to have all of it on your blog IMO.

    Coincidentally, I’m running a contest at 99Designs.com this week to get an icon designed to add to my blog title.

    Linda Abbit┬┤s last blog post..Funny Fridays: Because ItÔÇÖs Better to Laugh than to Cry!

  5. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    My first instinct was to scan the crowd for faces I know. I didn’t realize how much the AVs helped. It reminded me that I keep thinking about getting an AV someday. I think it’s cool how all the little faces pop up. I just never figured out how to add one.

    J.D. Meier┬┤s last blog post..Design a Routine for Exceptional Thinking

  6. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Well, this was really fun Barbara – I recognized “most” of them by the avatar – I don’t know – does that I spend way too much time here!!! (no, I didn’t think so…).

    I think Cath makes a point that I agree with – it’s easier to recognize the ones that are either real photos or anime pictures. And I really do find the pictures make people more recognizable in the comments. If I’m in a hurry, and scanning through comments, a picture can pull me in because it’s a person I recognize.

    What I’m also getting from this is that maybe it’s important to use the same picture anyplace you might have a picture on the web – like Stumbleupon, Twitter, Digg, etc. You will become more “recognizable” in more spots. I think I’m doing this – but now I’m going to check…

    I like Linda’s point as well – about how different people recognize/remember things differently. A great reason for both having an avatar, and for having them enable on your site.

    Lance┬┤s last blog post..Believe In Yourself

  7. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. This was a neat idea. There were 3 avatars that I recognized but couldn’t connect with a blog name. After this experiment, I find that the avatars are a faster recognition tool than the domain name or the name of the blogger. Thanks for linking.

    Davina┬┤s last blog post..Akemi Gaines On Intuition, Dreams And Spiritual GuidanceÔÇôInterview Part 2

  8. Well, I guess in the blogosphere, the author names don’t have much significance as only 10-20% of your readers are regular and know you very well… Rest of the people are referral and search visitors.

    I prefer to pick an avatar that matches with my domain name, which I think, is the case now ­čśÇ

    If you have your name as the domain name, may be, you can pick your face as avatar ­čÖé But such domain names may not hold much value, but their contents would.

    cheers,
    Ajith

    Ajith Edassery┬┤s last blog post..Understand your blog postsÔÇÖ visibility via Google Webmaster Tools (and take corrective measures, if necessary)

  9. BetsyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I’m a visual person, so the avatars win out. The hierarchy of recognition for me is person, non-human object, then monogram. I think the most compelling avatar is Jannie’s eye.

    I’ve been thinking of changing out the me in the bucket picture, but, like Lance mentioned, I’ve got it in so many places I’m not going to bother.

    This was a fun exercise in branding!

    Betsy┬┤s last blog post..REMEMBER

  10. NaturaNo Gravatar says:

    I recognize a blogger by their avatar, but when I see the avatar, I recognize I always know their “name” real or fake and most times their blog address.

    Maybe the name they use holds the most weight though.

    i matched up 7, only because I know their avatars and I see their names here.

    hey, this is a hard question ­čśë

    Natura┬┤s last blog post..Oh, Sense Less One

  11. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    @Cath: In my own Google Reader, I like to rename each feed to the author’s name. I like it that way because it’s more personal. I sometimes do that even when a blog is authored by several different people.

    Kelvin Kao┬┤s last blog post..JellyTelly Launches Beta Site

  12. Great idea for a post, Barbara.

    I was all over the place. I matched some by name and some by nickname. I think I managed to match 6 or 7 of you guys. I did the best by matching the name to the face, however.

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz┬┤s last blog post..Open Discussion: What Would Make For A Great WordPress Hosting Company?

  13. Eric HammNo Gravatar says:

    Great idea, Barbara. The point I can make that is crystal clear to me, is that the names fairly easily link to the avitars in my head, but the blog names are much harder to match up. I think it can easily be attributed to the fact that our names and avitars are constantly linked together in our comments. I used to go by “Motivate Thyself” in my comments for this very reason. But I eventually realized the benefits of using your real name when joining a community.

    Eric Hamm┬┤s last blog post..Can Our Kids REALLY Be Whatever They Want To Be?

  14. ru4realNo Gravatar says:

    I’m thinking there is a lot more to consider here than meets the eye. I believe the ‘most’ important contributor would be different for different types of blogs.

    Your online name is THE most important factor, as it is what ALL blogs use … not every blog allows avatars in the comments section, so your name value is very high. One that arouses curiosity or one that is descriptive is better than your real name, because it makes readers more likely to click over to check out your blog.

    If you have a relationship oriented blog, like a ministry, or some sort of counseling or encouragement blog, your face will instill much more confidence in your visitors … a carefully chosen digital avatar may be equal to that, as long as it doesn’t project ‘too’ techie or futuristic an image that might give a less ‘warm’ feeling to people looking for help. The down side of using your face is that it changes over time. I have a couple older blogs that use my face as an avatar, but since that pic I have gained a little weight, changed my hair style, and started wearing glasses. I really need to change those avatars, but people ‘know’ me by THAT face.

    If your blog is focused toward marketing, then an image that brings your product to mind will probably be better suited. It’s the perfect ‘branding’ opportunity, and the image can be used for online as well as offline recognition … and it will never need to be updated.

    Unquestionably, offline marketing is VERY dependent on our domain name. A long or overly hyphenated name is a major obstacle to offline marketing. If people can’t easily recall your URL, they will never make it to your blog.

    ru4real┬┤s last blog post..Do You Have A Word of Comfort?

  15. I recognize people by their avatars rather then their blog name or their real name. I was able to match 5 of the 14 but I’m not sure if that’s from recognition or because it’s sites that I spend more time visiting.

    I’ve thought about this some because my name and my domain name are the same but the name of my site is different. I’m not sure if it causes confusion or not. I try to stick to the same avatar but admit that when a better photo of me is taken, I change it.

    Kim Woodbridge┬┤s last blog post..(Anti) Social-Lists 11/9/08

  16. RossNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there.. I have to admit I didn’t do so well when I just went on Author’s name! Certainly I did much better linking up avatar faces, and I also think blog name is important. There’s something about being able to link a face to a blog, I guess it’s because we do this so often in the ‘real world’!

    So I would rank highly: avatar of author, followed closely by blog name / author name…

    Cheers

    Ross┬┤s last blog post..How to stay inspired in tough times

  17. Definitely the avatars helped me the most and interestingly I also knew the names of folks with a photograph more often. I wonder if a real photograph of the actual person helps us connect more. At least that has always been my bias. Problogger did a post on branding recently where he recommended connecting the name and the blog name in comments like Vered and I do.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work┬┤s last blog post..Does a Business Startup Have To Be Hard?

  18. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    I matched all of them, the last couple by process of elimination. I think all are important, but if I had to choose one, I would say I recognize author name first.

    Writer Dad┬┤s last blog post..Bright Ideas

  19. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Kelvin – I didn’t realise that was possible but I’m going to give it a try.

    Cath Lawson┬┤s last blog post..Barrack Obama – A Leader In Twitter Use

  20. I’ve been thinking a lot about how a domain name can affect the blog traffic, and therefore, the success of the blog business, so this post is very timely.

    It drives me crazy to think I didn’t SEO my domain name to Yes to Me. Yes, it’s a good easy name to remember, but no one would google “yes to me” when they are thinking of spiritual development.

    While my Akashic Record Reading site gets 75% of traffic by google search! Part of the reason is the great domain name: akashicrecordreading.com

    Still I don’t want to move my domain (again). . .

    Akemi – “Spiritual Entrepreneur” @ Yes to Me┬┤s last blog post..What Is Spiritual Healing?

  21. I think domain names are not over rated. It is almost like choosing a good title for your blog entry except this is for your whole website.

    I would say, a good domain name is easy to remember and shares a little about the site. Accomplish those two items and you’re good to go.

    I could make a few of the matches above. Avatars are great.

    Bamboo Forest┬┤s last blog post..Halloweelection Roundup

  22. Interesting comments, maybe I have a few things to change, as my avatar.

    Sorry not to be too witty, I’m a bit sick today, ­čÖé

    Miguel de Luis┬┤s last blog post..Eldietario is 3 months old (and got a new name)

  23. I recognized 12 out of the 14 avatars and could connect them with names – but I only remembered 8 domain names.

    I agree with Tom that it’s a good idea to use an avatar, your real name AND your domain name when you comment.

  24. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kevin – Thanks for participating. I’ve read all of the comments and the results are interesting.

    Hi Scott – Absolutely. Online branding is very important, and I agree, if all three aspects are equally recognized, a blogger will be well branded.

    Hi Catherine – I see Kevin answered your question with regard to renaming blogs in our readers. I had the same problem as you and now have the author’s name listed first.

    Hi Linda Abbit – That’s right. Some people are more visual, whereas others remember words. We need to find a way to appeal to as many as possible.

    Hi J.D. – Your comment reminded me of how in real life we do the same thing; enter a room and scan for those whom we recognize.

    Hi Lance – Yes, it is very important to brand ourselves with the same avatar on all sites (blogs and social media).

    Hi Davina – Like you, I notice the avatars first. If I don’t recognize the avatar, than I will look at the name, and if their comment is interesting I’ll click through to their blog.

    Hi Ajith – That’s a good idea. If your blog name is your name than your avatar could be your photo or an avatar that reflects our personality. Just like Catherine and her purple hair. ­čÖé

    Hi Betsy – You’ve brought up a good point. Should we change our avatars when we have them registered all over blogosphere? If we did, would we lose some of our branding power?

    Hi Natural – I see you have a new avatar. I like it! Since you’ve recently changed yours, do you think it has affected your branding power?

    Hi John – Thank you! I’m finding it interesting how guys and girls are answering this question. Most of the girls are voting high for avatars, whereas with the guys, the answers are more mixed.

    Hi Ru4real – You’ve brought up many great points. I agree, when we use our own face we have to remember our “look” will change over time. Do we change our avatar or leave it the same as that is how we’re KNOWN? In addition to that, if we expand on our blog and turn it into a business, should be change our avatar to reflect that? You’ve left be wondering and made me realize this is a topic that needs additional exploring.

    Hi Kim – Good question. If people are searching for you or your blog, what name would they use to search?

    Hi Ross – Welcome to the BWAB community. Blogosphere is very much like real life, isn’t it?

    Hi Tom – I’ve noticed how when you comment you add the name of your blog. Do you think it helps to gain better branding in blogosphere?

    Hi Writer Dad – Good job!

    Hi Akemi – You’re right. A good domain can make a big difference in search engine traffic, however, with proper branding, marketing and the use of SEO in blog posts, we can overcome that.

    Hi Bamboo – Yes. Easy to remember domain names can make a big difference in branding.

    Hi Miguel – I hope you’re feeling better soon. Now I’m curious. Will you be changing your avatar?

    Hi Vered – One thing about using your name, blog name AND avatar, all three elements are connected.

  25. As I get to correspond and know these bloggers better, it is their Avatars that really jump out and hold the most weight for me, automatically connecting me to these bloggers with a feeling of friendship.

    Then first names, then blog names. URLs a hit or miss , mostly.

    One thing that became apparent with this assignment is I know less than half of these depicted, so I better get visiting the friends I don’t know yet!

    (I still think my avatar is almost “too much” because almost everyoe else shows a whole face, not just one big bizarre eye, but I’ve got my branding going and all. What’s a gal to do?)

    Jannie Funster┬┤s last blog post..To flounce or not to flounce

  26. PaunchinessNo Gravatar says:

    I think in this age of stumble upon, facebook, RSS and feed readers the domain doesn’t really matter for promoting a blog. No one types the URL its all linked from somewhere.

    Conversely, in the case of a major business trying to attract customers with broadcast or direct mail I’d make the URL short and memorable. No one is ever going to remember how to spell paunchiness from a TV ad or billboard. But here on the internet it works well enough.

    Paunchiness┬┤s last blog post..Fish Oil – Weight Loss & Depression Benefits

  27. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jannie – Yes, you do have your branding going on. Every time I see the “eye”, I think, Jannie’s watching. ­čÖé

    Hi Paunchiness – Good point. What works in blogosphere may not work in the real world of business.

  28. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    If you’re running a business blog, I can see wanting to advertise yourself.

    I recognize Avatars, but it’s mostly the name that I focus on (Avatars can change).

    But for personal blogs like mine, I actually don’t WANT people to know my real name. (Some of my closer blog friends do, when we talk off-line).

    But in general, I like to keep my anonymity. (Especially when living in a small town…where my rantings could get me into trouble). ­čśë

  29. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    I think Gravatars are a great invention – it really makes a difference to the feel of a discussion area. When I set up my new theme, it initially didn’t have avatar support – it has since been added – and I was devastated (OK, a bit put out). I recognised nearly all those blogs by all 3 methods.

    Robin┬┤s last blog post..How To Find Happiness

  30. What a fun game today, Barbara! I think maybe the avatars are the most recognizable (a picture being worth 1,000 words), but in some cases I recognized the avatar but couldn’t remember who it was. I guess seeing the blogger name, domain name, and avatar together gives the most clues to someone’s identity.

    Hunter Nuttall┬┤s last blog post..Mirroring: Your Top Secret Psychological Weapon

  31. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I wanted to play this game this morning but I just didn’t have enough time. I definetly recognized Davina, Vered, and Natural right away in all three columns. I knew some of the other ones just from seeing their avatars here. I guess the branding does work.

    Chase March┬┤s last blog post..Running Through the Cemetery

  32. AverageGalNo Gravatar says:

    What a great point! I haven’t thought about it before. But, come to think about it, what I personally remember are the avatar images. Along with that though, if the avatar is a comic or a graphic, I really don’t remember it. Definitely something to ponder and hopefully leave a lasting impression!

    AverageGal┬┤s last blog post..Top 5 Blog Widgets

  33. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Friar – You’re not alone. Many bloggers prefer to keep their anonymity. Even so, without exposing ourselves, we can still climb the ladder of success in blogosphere and hopefully not get ourselves in trouble. ­čÖé

    Hi Robin – Yes, even though some themes do not support avatars, a plugin can be used (in some cases) to make them work. Like you, I think they’re grand.

    Hi Hunter – That’s right. Although we may not recognize the avatar by it’s self, seeing the author’s name will tie the two together.

    Hi Chase – Most definitely. Branding does work. Who knew an avatar could be so influential?

    Hi Average Girl – Welcome to the BWAB community. Like you, I also remember avatars. And yes, they can leave a lasting impression.

  34. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    What a great test!! I tend to remember the blogger names more than the domain name or the avatar. Seeing the blogger names also reminds me about their personalities, interests and pet peeves.

    Evelyn Lim┬┤s last blog post..The Lipstick Indicator To Great Wealth

  35. Jeremy DayNo Gravatar says:

    Brilliant Idea. I wonder how people remember me. I recognize the avatars more than anything. But if you didn’t read comments you would probably never recognize the avatars.

    If I had my choice I would want people to remember my site name. Insight Writer. People can type it directly in or if they type it in Google I am #1 so its best for me to have people remember my site name.

    There has been much talk about how putting your site name instead of your real name in the comments is not personable. But after this exercise I am thinking about doing it. What are your thoughts Barbara?

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    Jeremy Day┬┤s last blog post..Quick & Dirty List of Personal Finance Blogs

  36. Pink InkNo Gravatar says:

    Very interesting test, Barbara!! I got 7 names and avatars matched, mostly by looking at the avatar first, then the name they go by in the comments.

    I knew some from visiting their websites, but one thing I learned is Vered of MomGrind is a definitely memorable one!

    (Oh and of course I got Pink Ink easily, too, he he he)

    Thanks for the mention :-).

    -Jewel

    Pink Ink┬┤s last blog post..Dress Up Or Not?

  37. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Evelyn – We do get to know other bloggers personalities, don’t we. When I’m visiting other blogs, I often say to myself, “Oh, Evelyn (or whomever) has been here, too. It’s kind of one of those warm fuzzies.

    Hi Jeremy – Good point. When and if we don’t read the comments we may not see the avatars.

    With regard to using our site name, I was visiting other blogs earlier this evening and I started using “Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog”. That way I’m displaying my name, blog name and avatar. I just hope others don’t see it as “spamming”. I might have to ask that question in another post.

    Hi Jewel – You’re welcome. Yes, Vered is memorable, AND she is all over blogosphere – commenting more than anyone else I know. She’s awesome, isn’t she?

  38. Hi Barbara,
    I knew quite a few of them as I am a regular reader of most of them.

    But I have to say…this got me to thinking…I use my picture, and I am very happy that people know me from it and in fact a few months ago I made the choice to change all of the pictures of me out there to just one, because I had a few different ones and I thought it might be confusing. But as time goes by, we all change and age…do I keep that picture forever? Just because it is my Brand now?

    I can just see me at age 65 with that same picture out there…lol…

    ” MY Wendi, you are looking GOOD!”

    Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations┬┤s last blog post..Are you Planning for the Fog?

  39. I knew about 75% of them. I can tell you that it was by way of all three hints. I knew more by Avatar and website than I did by name. However, that was not true for all. This was a good game and also allowed for a sort of “blog roll”. I did notice that most people use their pictures. I chose to use a graphic, thinking that might help me be different. However, now I wonder if I made the right choice…To touch upon what Wendi Kelly said, do you think that if someone changed along the way, that it would throw people off? Or ruin their chances of being identified by those that knew them before? What would be the best way to let everyone know, “Hey, I have a new Avatar – check it out!”?

    Jennifer (Danifer)┬┤s last blog post..Movie Review – Running Scared

  40. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Wendi – I’m laughing at your comment. “MY Wendi, you are looking GOOD!ÔÇŁ. This is an excellent point, and one we need to consider when we use our own photo. Knowing our avatars become part of our brand, it’s something we need to think about. Let me put a post together about this issue and see what everyone else has to say.

    Hi Jennifer – You did good matching them. Like you, I’m not using my photo either. Was it a wise decision? I’m not sure, but after having used it for close to a year (I’m guessing), I would almost hate to change it. Then when we do change our avatar, we should change it on all accounts where they are used, such as StumbleUpon, and the other social media sites.

    I’ll put up a post next week and we can discuss this further.

  41. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    Oh dear, I don’t know any of them.

    Dennis Edell┬┤s last blog post..10 Effective Joint Venture Ideas To Get You Started

  42. I loved this game. A lot of other people liked this game too. 41 comments proves that. The creativity in showing us the importance of branding was wonderful.

    I recently read a post from Leo over at Zen Habits and the importance of being consistent. To grow our blog to the level that we desire we must be consistent with our words, actions, and images.

    I was using a comical image for my avatar. I now believe that I wasn’t showing myself for fear of judgment. It was easier to hide behind my blog and my comments by not showing my true self, but it wasn’t helping me in the long run. I needed to let go of the fear and let the real me shine through. It’s finally happening. Each day I become more comfortable and confident. Thanks to Barbara and other bloggers in the community who are so loving and encouraging, I’m coming into my own.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Now┬┤s last blog post..So Your Boss Spits When He Yells

  43. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dennis – Have no fear. Just click on their names and you’ll meet them. ­čÖé

    Hi Karl – You’re welcome. Yes, this has been a fun game. When we start blogging we may not realize we will gain an online presence, but before long we do. Staying consistent with our images, words and actions IS very important.

  44. […] we played the avatar game in the “Are Domain Names Over Rated” post, the consensus was our avatars are easily recognizable in blogosphere, and do become part of […]

  45. IngOngNo Gravatar says:

    How about IngOng????

    hahaha, it no have meaning any time. but it nice to be spelled.

    Nice post, Blogging without a Blog is also great domain and over rated. !!!!

    Cheese! Good!

    IngOng┬┤s last blog post..Who Hosting This? Take-a-Look where your Competitor take Hosting

  46. […] November of 2008 I wrote a post titled Are Domain Names Over Rated which included a fun “test” where the readers were asked to match the blog name, the […]