Posted by: E (The Third Glance) | February 12, 2012


I’ve been thinking I really need to make myself an avatar. I’ve had one I used over the years on various web forums, etc, but unfortunately, it identifies me publically in a way that I do not want. My family would recognize it immediately, plus it’s all about one of my special interests and that would also give away too much for my liking.

An avatar is a really neat concept. You can present yourself however you want, and it becomes your alias. You can do so while identifying yourself, or remaining anonymous. I’m going for the anonymous variety. Everyone’s avatar has a story, and carries a unique meaning to the person who uses it.

I’m not very artistically inclined (not even close), but I’m looking for an avatar that matches me that I can use here and on twitter. Not that I don’t like the yellow ring that wordpress has assigned to me, but it’s not really me, and its rather generic. And the twitter white egg blue background is boring beyond belief, though the notion that I’m still a baby at twitter, not even really hatched yet, is actually pretty much accurate. My egg needs a couple of cracks to be more accurate… I’ve tried to get out, taken a few whacks at it, but haven’t really figured it out yet.

I thought about trying to do something with 3 eyes or 3 sets of eyes – you know, “Third Glance”. But I don’t like eyes, and they’re certainly not what I want representing me. Plus I have no skill with or access to photoshop, which poses a problem for making something epic like that. I also considered making my avatar my research subject, but if you figured out what it is, I would be instantly identifiable. So much for anonymity. For the same reason I won’t ever use a picture of myself.

But enough about what I don’t want to use… I love the ocean, so maybe I’ll go that direction. Shades of blue are my favorite. Like the ocean. And I love geometric/mathematical patterns. Maybe that is what I should aim for. Blue, ocean, geometric patterns. Or something like that.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Words of wisdom? Images of inspiration?

What is the story behind the little ~60×60* pixel image that you use to represent yourself online? Every person’s avatar has a story behind it, and I would love to hear them in the comments. 🙂



*not all avatars are 60*60 – Twitter, for example, is 73×73. But it’s an approximation. I could’ve said “little square picture”, but I like numbers.



  1. The first thing I thought of was a TED talk I watched about eight months ago on crocheting in hyperbolic space. Here’s a link to a written interview with the speaker, Margaret Wertheim.

    Basically, she crocheted coral reefs to visually represent this mathematical concept.

    Maybe you could use an image of a crocheted piece of coral in a blue ocean background?

  2. An avatar is really important! I identify people on twitter by their profile pic & when I see the egg I think spam so no, no good!! I also hate eyes and have unfollowed people for having a big eye as their avatar.

    In the very beginning I used a puzzle piece but then realized some people do not like that for a representation for autism so I got rid of that. Both of the one’s I use now are pics of my son from the back somewhere on vacation 🙂 I like the dolphin a lot so that is why that was the first one I made. Gimp is a free photoshop program that may be helpful not that I am very creative either but you can at least do some things with it.

    What about a cat picture? Or third glance also makes me thinking of looking inside of something. Like a geode or something. Outside looks like any other rock then maybe looks a bit different but then inside- wow!

    • I love dolphins too. 🙂 And I *love* the geode idea – I’m going to look for some images I like of geodes or other rocks/minerals. Thanks!

  3. What an interesting question!

    The avatar I use to identify me is a picture of me pondering something in my dining-room… at my computer… reflecting and writing. My glasses are off – and I like that – although in real-life they seldom are – that is if I want to see anything.

    The avatar image I use on twitter is also the image I use for my 30 Days of Autism blog header. It is a section of a photo I took of my husband and son, both of whom have autism/are autistic. I like that it has me thinking about perspectives because there are multiple images and also that it shows the beautiful connection between father and son. It captures the importance of the relationships in our lives.

    I also used this image on the cover of my Master of Education Thesis.

    And… by the way… I’d be happy to help you with any graphics stuff…


  4. What a coincidence! I have been working on replacing my giant spooky eye (sorry AspieSide!) for the past two weeks.

    I don’t know if my new avatar will update, but if it does, I selected a serene representation of my world. My life revolves around those closest to me and keeping calm in the face of the internal upheaval of autism.

    My previous icon was a screen capture from my favorite short film, “A Quiet Week in the House.” I realize I selected it because it represented the anxiety of the world looking in on me and judging me.

    My change in heart came from the understanding and acceptance I have had over the past year about Aspergers. I know at last why I am so different and I feel more at ease with myself.

    With regards to your avatar, please feel free to enlist my help! I love to fiddle with graphics and I have a nice stash of images for making avatars and other digital art.

    I can imagine a triptych of sorts, each representational of the glance you described in your opening essay. Perhaps a face/illustration that is repeated three times in increasing intensities?

    Please let me know if I can help! 🙂

  5. 60×60 is a tiny area to work with, but here’s a thought:

    Treat it as an art project. The whole point of art is to incline people to think. Start with the third glance as a theme, and go fishing.

    One of my favorite fishing ponds is Flickr. Start tossing out search terms that might lead you toward images that would let you express what you’re after: ocean, blue, pattern, mathematic, fractal (fractional dimensions are always fun), geometric, glance (why not?)

    Let what you see lead you to what you want to create. Then begin creating. A sketch, a photograph, a clipping out of a magazine, or a willing accomplice who will collaborate with you. Photoshop is one tool that’s used for graphic art, but there are others. Gimp is free and quite powerful.

    For what it’s worth, when I think of “glance” I don’t think of eyes. I think of the turning of a head. The image that comes to mind when someone says, “He glanced” is a figure in a fedora and trench coat, hands in pockets, looking to the side. I never see the eyes or the face. Just the collar and hat. I don’t know why.

  6. My avatar is just an Escher drawing that I thought represented autism in some ways, and it is a cool drawing. But I have been wanting to replace mine too. I know exactly what I want. I can envision it. I just don’t have the artistic ability.

    I couldn’t help but notice that you said you want an avatar that has geometric shapes and is blue. It looks like you already have an avatar with a geometric shape that is blue. 😉

    • Neat. 🙂 Actually, I think wordpress just generates avatars for us and they change based on who is looking. My avatar (from what *I* see) is a yellow circular geometric pattern. Not really my thing. I don’t like yellow much.

      And I totally feel you on the artistic ability thing. Topic for my next post I think… Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. I tend to use a picture of myself, always with many books, as an avatar 🙂 I even use that on my private journal, because it’s friends-locked, and only people I trust a great deal IRL even know about it, much less have access.

    On rare occasions when I don’t want my face to be seen (usually in professional contexts, oddly enough, because I don’t want to be judged on my looks) I use an image of something I’ve handmade.

    An idea for you, especially after your latest entry– how about a rainbow ribbon/streamer, or a rainbow made of silky ribbons? It would be a nice allusion to your favorite hobby, without being specific enough to give away what that hobby is 🙂

  8. So after many an attempt, and lots of encouragement and help from Leah Kelly ( – thanks!) I have an avatar! This is my lovely cat, M, my best friend and cuddle-bug. I love the look he’s got in this picture – I took it while playing with him with a giant rainbow cat toy. It’s the last in a series of photos during which he looks incredibly foolish, as he goes chasing after the feathers at the end of the toy with single-minded pursuit. This picture, however, was the last one, the one where he realized I was snapping pictures. He’s got such an intense (adorable) stare, thinking “What you looking at? Yeah, sure, I’m crazy and quirky and do things that may seem silly, but I’m still this awesome cat, even more awesome because I do these things. So take a good look at me, and take me for the fabulous feline I am.” Now I have an avatar. Now all I have to do is make a banner for the blog. Eventually, anyway. Another project for another month…

    • Hooray for you! Your kitty is just right! The distressed blue text looks very snazzy. And the attitude–a touch sassy! I like it! 🙂

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: