you never listen to a word that I said, you only seen me for the clothes that I wear, or did the interest go so much deeper it must have been the colour of my hair…
The image that we each choose as our avatar is our public image in the internet and its one of the first things that I think about when interacting with people both here and elsewhere. So when someone chooses a particular avatar image I can’t help but wonder why. I think about the conscious reasons a particular image may have been chosen and I also think about how said image may have a deeper meaning . For instance consider what using this image may say about someone:
It could have been chosen for entirely innocuous reason like the user having a fondness for mushrooms (which I admit are delicious when sautéed in a little butter and garlic) It could be that they just liked the nice curved shape of the thing or even just the subtlety of its colouring. However if that user turns out to be a teller of many lies it should be entirely unsurprising that a recipient of their many falsehoods might find such an image a source of much merriment because it invoke the old aphorism about mushrooms “being kept in the dark and fed bullshit” and seems oh so apt for a purveyor of bovine excrement.
Now that all switched on politicians have a presence on the social media those of us who are interested in their use of the medium can’t help but notice the sort of images that they choose lets look at a few, from both the left and the right and consider just what they may say about the people who use them:
And opposition members as well:
Of course they are all trying to present themselves in the best possible light so each of them is presenting an image of themselves with a smile and in a way that says ” I’m an OK person”. Some like Scott Morrison go for informality and a candid shot which shows him involved in a charitable event. Craig Emerson likewise goes for the candid and informal and he is clearly alluding to our egalitarian traditions and our belief that every pollie is of the people. Wayne Swan on the other hand seems to be in search of gravitas with his very formal head-shot, Joe Hockey is likewise trying to suggest that he is both competent and business like Julie Bishop gives us a rather conventional formal portrait shot that exudes both warmth and professionalism to be frank I would describe the picture of Tony Abbott the same way. Which brings us to our current PM Julia Gillard. Readers will note that hers is the only picture here that includes another person, in the form of a little girl. Now knowing as we do that Gillard is both unmarried and deliberately childless I find this image choice rather contrived and I can’t help thinking that this is a deliberate attempt to suggest that her own lack of progeny does not make her unsympathetic to the issues of parenthood. Its not an unreasonable thing to suggest when it comes down to it but I can’t help feeling though that its laying the message on rather thick to use such an image as a twitter avatar.
Oh and finally a small disclaimer to explain that a few days ago I tweeted to our beloved leader asking about her choice of avatar image and sadly she, and her minders, have not answered my question.
- ‘Stop the birthplace war’: Abbott (bigpondnews.com)
- Coalition takes aim at Gillard staffer on 457 visa (abc.net.au)
- End the ‘birthplace war’, Abbott says (news.theage.com.au)
- Brit spin doctor John McTernan is more famous down under than he was here. (blogs.independent.co.uk)
- All roads out west lead back to 2010 (crikey.com.au)
- Women turn from Gillard (theage.com.au)
- Women voters turning from Gillard (smh.com.au)