A lot of people follow that advise even further than that: Not only do they not put party-pics on their site, they do not want their real name or picture on them either.
Instead they use so called “avatars” (artificial, virtual identity) and made up names.
But why would you do that? Of course there are several reasons:
1. You fear that if you speak your mind too freely it might come back at you.
A lot of people feel that they cannot express their opinion, follow their likes (like playing online games) or just curse their boss openly when it has their real face and name on it.
“Anonymity allows you to express and view opinions (…) you wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable with elsewhere,” says Christopher ‘Moot’ Pole, founder of 4Chan.org where you can post content without signing up.
2. You just feel that your web personality is different from your real life personality.
“I wear pants outside, but I don’t wear them in the shower. I put my real name on my passport, but not on a website I use to kill time at work,” user ‘ProTeacher‘ explains.
The internet can function as a big role play game. Creating identities, having then interact with others, acting in a way that suits their ‘life’, but not necessarily the ‘players’ – everything becomes possible.
This might work fine on some sites like facebook, but it’s rather unhelpful and mean on online dating sites.
3. You think your real pics look ugly.
In fact this is a reason many avatar-users give for using pictures other than their own.
“My real picture scared the hell out of people,” user ‘Gordon‘ says with a sad smiley behind it.
Well, is there something like cyber-bullying then where people go around and tell others ‘your pic is ugly’?
I’m sure there is.
4. You are afraid that the “cyber-police” finds you.
That’s at least “mistikos parasite”’s reason for hiding his face from the online worlds.
He/ she seems to believe that not using your real name and face makes it harder to track down illegal actions on the web.
Fact is that i.e. illegal music download is traced via the IP address of the user and not the name, real address or pictures.
Therefore this reason is not a good one.
5. It’s fun.
Creating an avatar allows you to reflect your own characteristics and ways.
For example: When you decide to create a doll or manga avatar you have to try and see yourself in a totally different context.
You can either find ‘your nose’ and ‘your chin’ which makes you see yourself with real honesty, or you can entirely change you and therefore get rid of the features you don’t like.
It’s like re-inventing yourself.
However, I will stick to my real name and a real, unphotoshopped picture of me. Because I believe that doing that makes you more trustworthy and more responsible in how you enact with others.
If you want to avatar-yourself try these:
- Yearbook yourself
- eLouai Doll Maker
- Create my picture
- Hero Machine
- Simpsonize or South Parkize yourself
(browse through the centuries and turn your pic into a yearbook pic from the past)
(turn yourself into an animated doll)
(select from a list of features to create a cartoon or 3D self)
(pick and mix from a lot of different features to create your hero-self)
(turn yourself into a character that looks like it could be from these shows)
Read more about social networking.