Did you get a visit from the Google Feature Fairy yesterday? I did, and some lovely new colors appeared in the top navigation bar. I saw some changes on the Grand Ol’ Search Engine page, too. Then, a curious little bubble hovered in the right sidebar of my Gmail inbox, reminding me of the userpic connected to my account. I got the hint: Google is going to use my picture in more ways than it used to.
Hmmmmmmmmm. Forgot about that picture I'd chosen. It’s a photo of me (this picture, actually) with too much flash and some curly, straggly bangs in my old office.
It’s not too bad in the right size, like the medium 200x200 size above, but this is what it looks like when it’s really small.
So, I’m thinking, as I often do, in the middle of my intense internet-checking and app-coding days, do I really want that picture, possibly that small, associated with every single email that I send?
Hmmmmmmmmmmm (with more m’s). No, I don’t think I do.
This got me thinking about all the folks out there who haven't committed to a picture, icon, or doodad to represent them online. Ever sign up for a new site only to find that their default userpics (or avatars or Profile Pictures, what have you!) look a bit...similar?
Yes, these are how community members in the Year 2011 are actually represented until they change their picture to something else. I know what you're thinking: Crikey, the sexism! So much blue and gray and crew-cutting! Reader, I’m with you, and so are others. But, today, I’m going to give these services’ cloudy-weather theme a break. We shall travel deeper.
Even on xojane.com, the comments are provided by a service called Disqus, which powers the discussion for whole lot of great online communities with a light technical footprint. Despite the femme vibes on the site (with frisky colors like #B71B3B Pink and #FFF000 Yellow), all of us commenters have got the same default look.
WHAT A HUNK.
Lots of communities, some built particularly for female audiences and some not, stray away from even the head-and-shoulders look to go for something completely different. I looked around the web and rounded up a few great ones. Let us take a look at them!