Photo Credit jurvetson’s photos

We all know McDonald’s golden arches, Nike’s swoosh, and Starbuck’s circular green logo. It’s part of their brand.

But, how much is familiar as we travel through blogosphere?

Based on a name or avatar, do you know if a fellow blogger has visited the same blog you’re on? Do you recognize a blog author when you see their name?

Today’s Lesson

My previous lesson was How to Get and/or Add A Gravatar To Your Post Comments. Avatars are one method used for cyberspace branding.

I also wrote a post titled, “Blogger Exposes Herself, Traffic Soars”, where we discussed the necessity of letting fellow bloggers know a little more about ourselves, thus building credibility. That post inspired Deb Yost of Three Weddings to start using her full name.

Within the last week, as I’ve been traveling through cyberspace and reading comments, I finding more bloggers with the name “Barbara”. Oddly enough, a year ago, I found none.

Catherine encountered the same problem, and now either uses “CatherineL” or “Cath Lawson”.

As part of the branding process, it’s becoming essential to either show your full name, or use a name that is unique to you.

Much like picking a domain name, your name is blogosphere must also be memorable.

With that being said, I have begun using “Barbara Swafford” as my sign in name on comments.

This could pose a problem. If I “Google” my name, there are many others with the same name. So, I ask myself, should I look at other options?

Today’s Assignment

Is your name unique to you in blogosphere?

Do you notice when cyberspace friends frequent the same blogs that you do?

Any suggestions how I could remain unique, with a name that is not?

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – doesn’t the McDonald’s arch seem to spoil that lovely place in the pic?

    Trying to find a unique name is difficult isn’t it? My name is also common. I do think the avatar pics make a huge difference, but I’m wondering if we’d be better off using real pics of ourselves? I may get one eventually I think. The purple hair looks ok on StumbleUpon, but it seems really odd seeing it on my business blog.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Risk And Money In Business – The Rules

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Yes, that golden arch seems out of place in that picture. It appears to be a quaint little village, which probably has many little diners offering great native food.

    I love your purple hair. When I see that avatar, I know it’s you. You do bring up a good point about having that on your business blog. But your posts are filed with so much value, I’m guessing it doesn’t matter to your readers what your avatar is showing.

    At this point in time, I’m more concerned about what name to use. A year from now there could be another Barbara Swafford blogging, and I wouldn’t want to lose my loyal readers to someone else.

    I like how JEMi uses “JEMi@InMyHeels”, so I’m thinking of “Barbara@BWAB”. What do you think?

  3. What if there’s another blogger named Barbara Swafford, with a blog named “Blue Whales Are Beautiful?” Then even “BarbaraSwafford@BWAB” isn’t unique!

    But I don’t think you have to worry about that. Even if your full name isn’t completely unique, it’s unique enough. There might never be another Barbara Swafford on the particular blogs you visit, and even if there was, she’d probably be more concerned about how to distinguish herself from you.

    I like “JEMi@InMyHeels,” but I wonder if “Barbara@BWAB” would confuse people, making them ask “what’s a BWAB?” Then again, that might get them to click through to find out!

    @ Catherine, the purple hair is fine with me too, but I guess you shouldn’t go by what the two of us say. I’m coming over to your blog next to see if anyone’s commenting on the blue hair.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Automatic Blog Post Rehasher

  4. Oh, and regarding the rating…I gave my avatar a PG rating, so theoretically the plugin should be filtering it out since you have it set to G. That makes me wonder if it would filter out the R’s and X’s.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Automatic Blog Post Rehasher

  5. Hi Barb -I like your idea of β€œBarbara@BWAB”. I’ve seen various bloggers use the @ or | character with their blog name after it.

    @Catherine – Your avatar rocks! I know what you mean about personal vs business avatars. For a business one, perhaps you could create an image with your logo and a tagline? But I would miss the purple hair.

    @Hunter Nuttall – Is your avatar a Simpsons re-enactment of The Matrix? Kind of small so I can’t really tell, but it looks like it.

    sterling | bizlift’s last blog post..Traveling & Remote Working As A Couple

  6. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Hunter,

    Blue Whales Are Beautiful? Hmmmm.

    I think we all agree we are in the infancy of blogging, so the chances of another “BS” blogging is quite good. I guess my biggest concern is that if there were another “BS”, and their blog was substandard, it could (in a round about way), be a reflection on me.

    Since I do use the BWAB abbreviation a lot, I’m leaning that way. Like you say, some may click through on comments to find out what BWAB stands for.

    Re: the rating. Theoretically you are right. I’m hoping I never have to put it to the test for R’s and x’s

    Hi Sterling,

    I see you use your blog’s name after your name, and that looks good.

    Question. Do you use a logo or your photo avatar when communicating in your business?

  7. Well there is only one Natural Woman, lol. I shorten it to Natural at times and if I can’t get that I type the acronym NTRLWMN.

    Is your name unique to you in blogosphere? I doubt it, although I have not see anyone as Natural Woman, but me.

    Do you notice when cyberspace friends frequent the same blogs that you do? Yes, I know avatars, then I notice names.

    Any suggestions how I could remain unique, with a name that is not? Create your own avatar. YOu could use BS or BWB in some block format? I don’t know.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Meet the Bloggers, Part Deux

  8. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural Woman,

    You are an original. As is your blog.

    BTW: I like your avatar.

    Funny you should say “BS”. I thought of that but the initials are associated with negative terms, so it didn’t take me long to disregard that idea. πŸ™‚ The thought of some type of logo has been on my mind. You comment is making me revisit that idea.

    Another perfect score!

    BTW: Thank you so much for my “Blogscar” award. That’s the first award I received for blogging. I hope my acceptance speech wasn’t too long. πŸ™‚

  9. LOL I agree with Cath
    That yellow M… it’s so in your face “THATS RIGHT IM TAKING OVER THE WORLD!” ish.

    Well I haven’t found any other JEMi’s on the blogosphere so far so thats good πŸ™‚

    I’m glad you guys like JEMi @ InMyHeels
    I interchange that with JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, You
    which, btw, is long but sometimes I just worry bc my blog name is so misleading, I have to smack certain audiences with that instead πŸ™‚ (lovingly of course)

    BWAB eh? I think I like that.. Barbara @ BWAB or Barbara | BWAB..

    Hmmm if I think of anything cutting edge I’ll be sure to let you know πŸ™‚
    I really like the logo idea.. I’m working on that myself.
    in fact

    This branding and marketing stuff is serious – today I was at the bookstore (one of my very favorite places) and found myself wandering to the marketing section and eagerly reading about branding and all this other stuff marketing majors live on. I thought it couldn’t hurt bc if I wanted to get my blog out there, I’d have to think like a ‘business’ so-
    I do agree all these little details add up

    JEMi @ InMyHeels’s last blog post..Waiting to Live

  10. @Barbara – I use my photo for gravatar. I swapped an artistic one (like on my stumble account) for a more business looking one. It seems the trend with the big bloggers is to brand with their portrait (ie Leo@ZenHabits, Darren@ProBlogger, Guy Kawasaki, etc.)

    But for those that want to maintain privacy, using a logo is an option to provide unique visual branding while maintaining a professional image.

    Does anyone know of bloggers that use their logo for their gravatar?

    sterling | bizlift’s last blog post..How To Travel & Work Remotely As A Couple

  11. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi JEMi

    I agree, JEMi is not a common name, so I’m guessing you’re safe. Your “signature” makes you sound intriguing. Although some may assume yours is girly blog, one visit will show them otherwise. Your advice and wisdom can be applied to all who want to improve themselves.

    Logos can be tricky. Getting them right is crucial. It sounds like you’re on the right track by reading more about marketing.

    If you come up with any other ideas for my signature, I’m all ears. πŸ™‚

    Hi Sterling,

    Thanks for the return visit.

    It will be interesting to see if the trend lasts with photos or if the “A listers” will start using logos. A good logo can go far.

    I’m not aware of any bloggers who use gravatar logos. Maybe someone else does.

  12. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – It never occurred to me that your initials were BS. That might be another idea. Jessica wanted an avatar the same as yours to comment on my blog, but I persuaded her to have a different one!

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Anti-Squash Business Survival Tips

  13. @ Sterling, yes, it’s a Simpsons re-enactment of the Matrix. The original was 98×98, so it’s a bit harder to see at gravatar size (80×80). And unfortunately, some sites make gravatars even smaller (like 48×48).

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..The Rules For Providing Value

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Is Jessica going to be commenting on your blog?

  15. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I cannot believe how many Debs are out there blogging. I even came across another mom of 3 girls named Deb. I’ve been happy with my decision to start using my whole name. It makes things a lot easier and so many of my readers say they feel closer to me because of it. It’s made blogging even more fun and made my new friendships even better.

    Debbie Yost’s last blog post..How Do You Learn?

  16. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    While my name isn’t entirely unique (I can find a few Jodith’s around if I google it, but not many), I have yet to find another Jodith blogging, at least not yet. So I don’t really worry about having to stand out among the crowd by name.

    Jodith’s last blog post..Continued Training

  17. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Debbie,

    You’re seeing a lot of Debs now, but I do believe as blogging becomes more popular, you will see even more. I do think your decision to use your full name was a wise choice, especially since you want to become a freelance writer. Much success Debbie Yost.

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jodith,

    You do have a unique name, and it’s the first I’ve seen. Plus, yours is the first blog I’ve seen on Administrative Assistant “training”, so I’m guessing you’ll be safe.

  19. On certain blogs I leave my Logo…RB; it’s a simple little graphic. Otherwise I use RB as my signature. My full name of course is “Ricardo Bueno”. Though I think “Bueno” is the most unique part of my name πŸ™‚
    Any branding suggestions for me? I could use a little outside help πŸ™‚

    Ricardo Bueno’s last blog post..It looks like ex-Countrywide President…