While it’s nice that Twitter allows us to change our avatar (our photo) anytime we want in our profile, it’s kind of a pain to do so. We have to login to our account on the twitter website (most of us use Twitter desktop clients) then go to our profile and then upload any new photo we want to use. The bad news is that we are limited to using and storing just one image at a time in our profile unlike other services such as Facebook which at least allows you to store several images at a time.
The other downside to this archaic method is that once you change your avatar, it’s change for every tweet you’ve sent. So, when someone reads your tweet from earlier in the day they’ll see the new image you uploaded not the face you had on when you sent the message. I think the avatar should only change from that point in time going forward.
Speaking of time, I truly believe that we should be allowed to change our avatar on the fly for each and every tweet much like we can with instant messages and emoticons and smileys. This would mean having the ability to store many different photos of ourselves in our profile with different expressions to reflect whatever mood we’re in. This would allow us to match our feelings with our tweets quickly and easily.
You might have heard of the term Gravatars which stands for Globally Recognized Avatar.
It’s a step in the right direction as it allows us to use our photo or image from one site to another. The Gravatar service is from auttomatic, the same people behind the WordPress blogging platform so they understand the value of allowing people to express themselves whether in blog posts or in the comments. The nice thing is that they let you store many different photos of yourself which you can change easily. The bad news is that not too many services support Gravatars at this time.
Before you scoff at this idea, let me show you what’s already happening with regards to instant messaging. We’re moving further and further away from the old yellow smiley face and into animated emoticons even with sound effects and voice.
There’s even a new service called Smirk that allows you to record yourself with any webcam as video emoticons that you can use not only on chat messengers but also on some social networks such as Facebook and MySpace. Sadly, though, Twitter does not support this new format.
This isn’t a matter of if this happens but when. Some day soon we’ll be able to select a visual image of ourselves on the fly to instantly reflect our mood when posting a message on any social network including micro-blogging services like Twitter. Yes, we will also have tiny little live webcam feeds if that’s what we want to use. This could be called Micro-casting and very possible since the video service Seesmic purchased the twitter client twhirl and confirmed to me that they’re working on such an option.
In the mean time, it would be a great start if we could store many different photos of ourselves and allowed to change our avatar with a simple click for each message or tweet. It would give our communication on twitter another layer of information and only enhance the experience.
What do you think? 🙂