January 15, 2008

Your Blog = Your Photo Goes Here

I know I'm joining this tirade party late. Joe Wirtley has preached it before (in fact almost exactly a year ago) and I know I've heard others proclaim the same. I'm a convert after bumping into a ton of people at CodeMash who I think that I know (from their blogs) but not with absolute certainty because I have no idea what they look like.

Please put a photo of yourself somewhere obvious on your blog. If not on every page then on the home page or at least the "About" page. If I don't know what you look like and you're not wearing your name on your forehead then how am I supposed to bombard you with claims of being your biggest fan when I run into you at a conference or at a user group meeting.

I know that I'm an offender. I have vowed to correct my blog this week.

Some other thoughts:

  • Put a picture of yourself on your blog (it is worth stating twice)
  • If you have a domain name or blog name that does not include your name in it then make sure you have your name displayed prominently somewhere on the site. Leon does a good job with this (domain name = fallenrogue.com) using his Facebook badge. Joe Brinkman does not (domain name = blog.theaccidentalgeek.com and no About page). I had to browse to Joe's first post on his blog make sure that it was him when linking to him in an earlier post.
  • Speaking of About Me pages... add one of those, too. Seriously, it's not bragging - it's letting people know who you are and what you do. Think of it as Facebook or LinkedIn except that it's on your blog. Your blog is the one place that stuff belongs more than any other. I know that your blog may have many audiences and it doesn't need everything about your job history and all your personal references. But it does need some basic information so that you know that I know that it's your blog. This is another area where I currently fall short, but I will correct that as well.

One more thing... if you want to use a cutesy picture of you wearing a cowboy hat or some kind of frenchy-looking beret or making stupid faces then by all means go right ahead. Who the hell am I to tell you not to express your inner whatever? However, make sure that I can see your face enough so that I'd be able to recognize you in a crowd (presumably without the stupid hat!). If your blog picture has your hands partially covering your face so that only your eyes are visible (Leon, I'm talking about you now) I'll guarantee you that I won't recognize you just from your beady little eyes. Unless you have wonderful green eyes, a pirate patch over one eye (or both), a handlebar mustache or purple hair or something else that makes you extraordinary please just post a "normal" face shot. For the creatively challenged who don't want a traditional mug shot, here are some good examples of "basic" photos that still show a little character [removed link - domain expired].
 

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  1.  avatar Terri Morton says:

    Great post, Dan.  You've hit one of my pet peeves.  Every blog needs an About page with a photo.  And please, especially if you are with Microsoft, include your title and division on the About page as well.  These things go a long way to connecting with your audience and help people get their bearings when they stumble across your blog.  Please don't make me have to Google, hoping to find your bio at some speaking engagement you've done just to find out who you are.

    On the flip side, nothing is more surreal than happening upon a group of people at an industry event who you've never met before in person but all of whom your recognize from blog or other photos. :-)

  2. You're absolutely right and I fail at both for not having a picture and not having an about page. It's been on my radar to do both for some time, so maybe I'll do that this week.

  3.  avatar says:

    Thanks, Terri, good idea about the title and division for Microsoft folks. I'm sure the same would probably go for Google, Amazon, IBM, SUN, etc, though we don't run into them nearly as much in our world.

    Darn it, Dave. If I would have realized that you were an offender then I would have definitely called you out!

  4. Hmm, I'll have to take a shot for my blog then.  Should probably shave first. :)

  5.  avatar says:

    Ken, just use the one from the UnprofessionalCommunityServer.com site!

  6.  avatar Terri Morton says:

    Ken -- why shave?  Dan certainly didn't. :-P

  7.  avatar Terri Morton says:

    So, um, where'd your photo go? :-)

  8. It's right at the top of this post! I know, I need to add it to the blog. Right now the header image is paying homage to my puppies (7 yr old male and 5 yr old female boxers) who we had to give up recently because of the little guys serious allergies to dogs, cats, and nearly everything else. :(

  9.  avatar Terri Morton says:

    I'm really sorry to hear that; that must have been a difficult decision.

    It looks like the unprofessionalcommunityserver.com domain is now dormant, so you may want to remove the link from this blog post.

    Thanks for adding your photo. :-)

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  1. It's been a couple of weeks since CodeMash , since then I've had a little time to collect my thoughts

  2. It's been a couple of weeks since CodeMash . Since then I've had a little time to collect my

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