Truth in Blogging

A couple of nights ago, I was trolling Blogland, trying to see if I’d missed someone interesting to follow, when I chanced upon the photo of a friendly-faced woman who unabashedly admitted her gravatar picture was 10 years old.

Well, actually more than 10 years, or so she said.

My first thought was if she’d fudged on her age, she might have fudged on everything else!

And while something like that carries little importance in the overall scheme of things, all of us have come to rely on the veracity of the bloggers we regularly read. We see their picture and instantly know what to expect — whether it be a snarky retort, a thoughtful comment, an encouraging word.

And we expect them to look like their pictures. Not to have grabbed the photo of an unnamed stranger from a photo frame at Wal-Mart and pretended to be that person.

Still, if I were going to fudge on my photo, which year would I choose?

Easy — the year I turned twenty-two.

I can still see 22-year-old me after my parents settled me in my first apartment. I’m seated at the kitchen table, fresh-faced, expectant, hopeful.


Twenty-two-year-old me was a clean slate, right out of the sheltering womb of college, ready to take on the world.

To right wrongs, expose corruption. The stuff good journalists were trained to do.

Twenty-two-year-old me didn’t have to agonize over programming languages because she wasn’t running a Web design business.

Nor did 22-year-old me need to finish her novel. Oh, she’d started many a one, and she and her colleagues often joked about wanting to write The Great American Novel one day. But she didn’t really think she could. Hadn’t countless English teachers throughout school told her as much?

Besides, wanting to and doing are two different things.

And it would be years before she summoned enough courage to create, to say something meaningful, in a novel.

But 22-year-old me didn’t have Domer. Or Darling Doggie Dallas. And without those two special boys, my life would be infinitely dreary.

So while I might prefer showing 22-year-old me to the world, I’m not doing it.

The gravatar I use is me — me and Dallas — and it hasn’t been Photoshopped. I’ve always been a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. No sense changing now.

Out of curiosity, though, how recent is your blogging photo??

33 thoughts on “Truth in Blogging

  1. Darn why didn’t I think of using a much younger me as my gravatar? Or maybe I could have picked a supermodel? Nah, I’m one of those what you see if what you get, only some days I look a little better and other days much worse, lol!

  2. My blogging photo is exactly 115 years old. My avatar is taken from Alphonse Mucha’s series called “The Four Muses”. I chose Poetry – you can see her in all her glory here .

    I don’t see any reason for a real photo instead of a symbolic avatar. After all, this isn’t Facebook! 😉

  3. Mine is from a year and a half ago. Actually – mine is a caricature of a blonde with hair pulled back – which is how I wear my hair – but when I got it back I told the graphic designer she looked too young – so we added glasses. But I guess, in looking, I don’t have a picture of myself – not even in my about page. I need to put it there because I do agree with you – it’s nice to put a face with the “friend” we’re following.

    • It’s hard getting a good photo of yourself when you’re the one usually behind the camera! I face the same problem. When I first started blogging, I was so intimidated and private that I let WordPress use their own scrambled graphic as my gravatar. It was only after I became more comfortable with blogging that I acquiesced to putting myself out there. I still reserve the right to pull the entire thing, should it go horribly wrong. But I do like seeing real people!

  4. My picture is current, the pictures I post of my family are real, my name is real and so are the names of my pets, and kid. It is just the way I roll. If I am going to blog about my life, my stories then it has to be genuine me. If I want to keep something private, I don’t share it on my blog.

    • That sounds like a reasonable solution to me! You make many good points — and you obviously have cooperation from your son (I can’t say the same! Domer says it’s MY blog so while he’s okay with my photographing his hands or shoes, that’s about all — nothing identifying!)

      • Cole has say over which pictures I post and sometimes I bribe him…..I have no shame. The shoe and hands is a good compromise for now…when you are a famous author he might want to be front and center with you 😀

        • You make me laugh! Seriously, I hadn’t considered bribing. It was hard enough getting him to take the picture of me and DD (yes, that’s his handiwork!)

  5. Great post topic, Debbie!

    When I first started my personal blog (6 years ago) I was much more reserved about sharing images of myself for paranoid privacy reasons, let alone sharing too much about myself in my posts. However, over the years I’ve gotten so much more open with my personal life to the point of sharing TMI – HA!

    My gravatar back then was (and still is) George Jetson because I LOVE The Jetson’s and people have gotten so used to seeing it and knowing that it’s me. However, on my blog (in my About page), I have an updated REAL (untouched) photos of myself.

    57 years old and happy to BE 57 years old 🙂


    • Ron, you’re an inspiration!! I’ve seen your George Jetson on SuziCate’s blog for a long time and have come to recognize it as YOU! I can appreciate it even more, now that you’ve explained its significance. I well understand the paranoia that comes with first-time blogging — my very first blog was disguised under a completely fake identity (it’s long bit the dust, though!). Don’t you find it more freeing to be real?? Thanks for your comments, as always!

  6. I like to put a face to the name, so it’s nice if the picture is current. Even if the gravatar isn’t their own picture, sometimes the choice of picture used tells a lot about the person.

    My blogging photo is really me and it’s less than six months old. I get bored with the photos fairly often and try to find new ones…but I’m still not comfortable with a full-face photo. I don’t know, it makes me feel to vulnerable. I don’t change my photo as often as I’d like because there’s only so many things I can partially hide behind 🙂

    • I LIKE your gravatar, Janna — it shows us just enough of you to see you’re a real person, yet it protects your full exposure (something those of us who “know” you, know your desire for privacy!) I wish I’d thought of something like that myself sometimes!

  7. Hmmm….I think it’s 3 years old…was from a wedding and they’re pregnant now…so I think that’s about right…might be 4 though…good idea to think about it…actually I don’t remember how I chose it or how to change it…so it might be the same one for a long long time!

    • At least yours shows you’re a real person, Dawn. A few years old, a more flattering time in our lives, whatever — I’ve even seen some who use their baby pictures! Now THAT’s something I wouldn’t resort to, seeing as how my baby pictures weren’t exactly cute, haha!

  8. Mine was taken a few months ago on Christmas, so I’m up to date! 🙂 Really though, much like you, I like the “me now” much more than the “me then.” I’m wiser, more confident, more mellow, happier. When I look at the old pictures, I just see all my shortcomings of that age.

    • I love your picture, Terri — it fits you! Or at least the “you” I’ve come to know through your words! And I know you seem real comfortable blogging about your family, your friends, your dogs — wish I could overcome my secret distrust of the online world enough to be that open!!

  9. Debbie, my photo is about a 18 months old. But, trust me, I haven’t changed much and I still own that sweater. I love the color. So cheerful. Your photo is great, too. I love that Dallas is in the picture with you. You look so joyous together. Tiny, but joyous.

    • Ah, Monica, seriously I’m trying to HIDE behind Darling Dallas’s profusion of furs, haha! I love your photo, too — and I’ve always wished I could wear yellow. Sadly, it washes me out something fierce, so if I buy yellow at all, it’s in accessories, far from my face!

  10. My photo was taken last summer at my favorite spot on the planet. Every time I see it, I wonder if I ought to touch it up a bit, but then I think, no what you see is what you get, the real deal. Maybe that is why I find your blog so appealing. You and of course, Dallas, appear to be so genuine.

    • We’re real all right! I always blame my Catholic upbringing with the fact that I rarely lie (other than those “little white lies” that pop out when I’m cornered!). Something about knowing I have to tell the priest my sins is a BIG deterrent — and now that we go face-to-face, it’s even more a deterrent, ha!

  11. Interesting.
    I’ve never thought of this.
    My blogging photo is 5 years old. I’t sfrom my graduation from college!
    Yes, I was a non-traditional student!
    I want to change it, but I don’t know how. DO YOU?

    Xxxx LOVE.

    • I like your picture, dear, but if you want to change it, here’s how:
      1) Find a photo of yourself that you like.
      2) Sign into your Dashboard.
      3) On the far left (I’m assuming you use WordPress; if not, all bets are off!), click Settings.
      4) On the General Settings page (far right) you’ll see the photo you’re currently using. If you want to change it, browse to the photo you want to use and upload that image. You’ll be able to crop it after it’s uploaded.
      5) Be sure to Save.
      6) Suddenly, as if by magic, all your previous comments, etc. will contain the new you!
      Hope this helps!

  12. Mine was taken a few years ago when I was reading with my grandchildren. Because the internet is so public, I didn’t want to use a “portrait-type” photo, although I have several from when I was working at the schools. Interesting to read various peoples thoughts on gravatar photos.

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