It’s Worth A Thousand Tweets
The picture in question was sent to me by a publicity officer. She works at a major publishing house. She is a person in that company who is supposed to know exactly how to offer photos to the press.
It was a shot of herself — the story carried smart, clever quotes from her and several other publicists.
And when the picture arrived, the file name was?
- Not her name.
- Not her publishing house’s name.
- No contact info, either.
- Just “me.jpg” Exactly as she had probably stored it on her computer desktop, yeah? Where “me.jpg” might make perfect sense, sure.
As soon as that thing landed in some basket on a journalist’s computer, how was it to be filed in a headshots catalog for future use? How did the publicity officer in the photo expect members of the media to spell her name correctly? Never mind that the shot was grainy, obviously something chopped from a larger image (“cropped” is too kind a term); clearly not a professionally lit photo. #cmonson
Here’s a tip: File your self-images with your name. Even a credit if you like:
Then when you have to send it somewhere quickly, it’s good to go.
Being ready and professionally put-together is part of being on — on top of your game and the way you mean to play it. And when I wrote a recent“Provocations in Publishing” piece at Writer Unboxed, I found that many of the writers who contacted me privately later were distressed to think they need to place as much emphasis on “the look” as I was recommending.
By “the look,” most of them were referring to a wider package than just their face shots — authors’ “looks” need to encompass their platforms, their overall evocations of themselves for the world, who they are, what they write. Their “looks” engage not only their headshots but also their blog posts, commentary, biographies, social medium choices, and, of course, their books.
But even when we think of how you “look” to the world as a bigger package than just your avatar on Twitter, we have to remember that — just as IRL, in real life — your mug is your first message. I was about to ask the spirit ofMarshall McLuhan to forgive me, then I realized he’d likely be right on board here: If the medium is the message, your first medium is your headshot, your visage, the face you turn to the world that you want to influence and access.
Here are 10 things to think about in terms of the importance that even professional publicists like Ms. Me.jpg are missing these days in a world that expects you to brand yourself. That image of the guy on the Quaker Oats box is taken and so is Aunt Jemima’s smile. So you’re going to have to work with what you’ve got. And the sooner you get on top of this, the better you’ll do with your “presentation of self in everyday life,” Erving Goffman.
By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
Writing on the Ether: Ten Ways To Look At Your Twitter Avatar
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com