How I Chose My Avatar and Header Image

Setting up social media sites, can be time-consuming and frustrating. We want to make them personal—something that reflects us, or, in some instances, the ideas we want to portray. The choices and decisions seem to go on and on.

The most difficult part for me, though, was choosing the right image for the header and the avatar.

I envy those of you who use your own pictures. That would make things so much easier.

That was not an option for me. I’ve always avoided having my picture taken. Even as a kid, I hid behind my siblings, only peeking out half of my face, just to make my mother happy. (At least, in my opinion she should have been happy. In reality, she wasn’t. Not even a little.)

My wedding was brutal. All eyes are on the bride, right? Yeah…I hated that. I asked the photographer if I could strategically hold my bouquet over my face. She laughed. Apparently she thought I was kidding.

Mother/children pictures? I’d have to search deep for those.

But my disposition of having my picture taken was neither here nor there. I didn’t have to post personal pictures on my sites. In fact, many people don’t, and that’s okay.

So what the heck would I do for my headers and images?

Hmm. I pondered and pondered.

I knew I wanted something bright and cheery. Appealing to the eye. Because, you know, who doesn’t like happy?

Problem solved. Flowers were my answer. Roses are a subtle symbol used throughout the series I’m writing, with a particular rose garden being the place my MCs go to work out their problems. It made perfect sense.

I looked through hundreds of images—maybe thousands. Beautiful. Gorgeous. I could smell them emanating from my computer screen.

But nothing felt right.

Then I came across a rose in the dark. It called out to me, and in that moment, I knew my search was over.

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It struck me as odd, because it wasn’t at all what I’d envisioned. But it was such a relief to have it actually done, that I didn’t even care. It made me feel complete, so I went with it.

I chose several different styles—flowers in the dark, flowers photoshopped with a grayscale background—it didn’t matter. Those were the images I was drawn to.

After I acquired a few, I didn’t think any more of it. I moved on with my list of things to do, happy to have that task checked off. But a few days later, I was writing a call to action, asking some fellow writing friends to “get involved!” and “don’t be a wallflower!” I laughed to myself when I wrote those words. I’m the definition of wallflower. And why the heck did I choose that word? I don’t ever use it, or even think it. And what’s up with all the flowers lately?

I started thinking more about my sudden interest in flowers, and realized how what I had chosen fits me perfectly. The flower in the dark is me. I’ll bloom, like I’m supposed to. You’ll know I’m there, through my writings, just like you would know the flower was there through its fragrance. You just won’t see me—or the flower.

The rose I chose for my header image isn’t bathed in darkness like my avatar. Although I looked for it, the black and white backgrounds kept grabbing my attention. Well, that kind of made sense, too. My writing deals with a lot of dark issues—domestic abuse, child abuse, addiction, PTSD, etcetera. But my characters will be strong, and there will always be hope. The “flower” will prevail, even through all the trials and tribulations.

I feel all introspecty (yes, I know that’s not a word, but it’s what I’m thinking) and poetic, having realized my subconscious drew me to these images. It’s a nice feeling, and I can’t say I’ve ever experienced it before. Thus is born my “theme.” I’ll forever associate dark flowers with my name, and at least for as long as my current series runs, which could be a few years, I’ll have a flower with a black and white background as my series theme.

So, I’m curious, how do you choose your avatars and page images for your social media? Do you put your own picture out there, to be friends with everyone? (Lucky you!) Do you choose an image that fits your mood? Business? Whatever it may be? Or do you choose something that represents your personality?

I never really thought about it before—never had a reason to. But now, I find it interesting. How did you come up with your theme?

5 Comments

  1. Haha, so that’s weird. You have two comments sections. I responded with the first and afterwards I thought “that’s odd” and I think it’s a message spot. Soooo, that’s why you might get a random message from me instead of a comment LOL.

  2. I like the roses – they’re pretty.

    My avi is one picture that I use on all my author social media and the blog. I’m intending to get something better done at some point. It’s just a selfie I took on my phone. I was going for brooding author, but then Kristen dubbed it “grumpy Elise” and now that’s all I can see 😀

    My blog header is just a random holiday snap. It’s the sea off the Isle of Wight. I just wanted something that looked vaguely professional. And my Twitter header is a panoramic view of the city I live in. In due course, I plan to replace them with my novel covers (when I get to the stage where I have a novel cover!)

    So yeah, I just picked stuff that didn’t look terrible for now!

  3. Uhhh, I did the same as Kristen. I guess I’ll copy it here?

    Sounds like you hit on the perfect image for you. 🙂 I also often write works with dark themes, particularly in the short story cycle I’m writing. Sometimes the darkness even wins. But I like to put hints of hope and human kindness and often that wins out as well. I believe in hope and goodness despite a world that can be overwhelmingly dark sometimes. If you happen to be the wrong person in the wrong spacetime. So I hope that’s reflected in much of my writing. Anyway, looking forward to keeping an eye on what you’re up to.

    I too hate having my picture taken, and the picture on my about me page and that shows up on some of my blog comments where I sign in (such as here) is one of the few I actually like. It was taken with my cheap phone when a ladybug randomly decided to land on my nose. And I’d just gotten a haircut so I was lookin good. Perhaps unprofessional and my eyes are super squinty, but it has one of those real genuine smiles and captures the best me. The slightly playful me that finds delight and wonder in the smallest things. The me I wish I was more often. For my header I chose something simple and functional. For now at least.

    For my other blog that I still have to get back to (snapshotsoftheworld.com if you’re curious to see these things) I purposefully took pictures of a nice road and chose one for the header. Phone lines are in the way, but the idea has always been for me to eventually replace it with art I make based off that picture. Just haven’t gotten to it yet. Nor is my art good enough for me yet. In my about me I have a picture of me at a waterfall in Japan. I’m stiff and look slightly uncomfortable, but it’s not really about me that picture. Might have a good more recent travel picture to replace it with. Or not. In most of my pictures from my most recent trip my hair is all wet and salty from the sea and tangled from the wind.

    In my twitter for my travel blog (my arts blog doesn’t have one yet) for some reason I chose a picture of myself holding some random cat I found. It’s one of the other pictures of myself that I actually like. I have maybe 3-5.

    Hope I didn’t ramble about myself too much and bore you. It’s a fascinating topic to me!

    PS Introspecty is totally a word. It takes elements that already exist in the language and combines them in ways I easily understand. So it’s a word. Or even if I understood only after some thought it would be a word.

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