This isn’t going to be big news to you I know, but I felt I should explain, and do it here rather than posting one of my usual (of late) really wordy Instagram posts.
I have killed off the duck in the mask that has served as my avatar on line since I first joined Twitter nearly ten years ago. I have never been one for messing about with that photo, changing it around, or changing my name online to match a mood /a season / a cause. Weirdly I always kept it because I wanted to be me on line, and know that people knew I was me. How many times has somebody replied to a comment on Twitter or Instagram and you’ve thought “huh, who are you?” before reading their profile and realising it is somebody you know well but they have changed their name again. I can’t keep up.
Except by hiding behind a duck in a piñata mask I am not me. That isn’t me.
Above is me. It is a photo I took on holiday when we me up with friends who live in Barbados, and who we always make sure we meet up with when we are there. Sadly we didn’t get to spend the day with them this time, it was just a snatched coffee but I made sure I got a pic. But when I looked at it later on, I hated the pic of me. Wonky teeth, fringe going in different directions, red cheeks, it is just one of those pics that make me think “ruddy hell I am not sharing that”, so it just sat in my phone.
Until I watched a video by Molly over the weekend that addressed telling that inner mean voice to do one. To encourage us to look in the mirror and to say one nice thing to ourselves every time we do. It is a picture of friendship that started with a chance encounter ten years ago over an accent that Mr B overheard in a bar. That Mr B identified as being very similar to his own. It was, and we discovered that Martin and Rowena were in fact from the very same part of the world as Mr B, that they had haunts in common, even a shared knowledge of people and events. We chatted and didn’t swap details, which we regretted when we got home. But when we visited the following year, we happened to bump into them again and have remained in touch ever since. That picture reminds me of that and of how happy friendships make me.
Fast forward to being home, and I attended a course on Friday with a group of really inspiring and wonderful women. The day was all about about sharing your brand with clarity and confidence. Really useful insights into Instagram, and a fascinating session on imposter syndrome that has left me really thinking and questioning a few things, as well as wanting to learn more in an effort to shut the voice up in my head that tells me I am that imposter.
One of the points that Helen (@notaboutthekids) made during her session on Instagram is that we should be in our avatar pictures. That we should think carefully about whether we want to hide behind a logo or a product photo, or some other inanimate object because actually it is better that the picture is of you. During the coffee break that followed I really thought at that suggestion as my view was that you should be consistent across all channels so that people recognised you, but not that it would be beneficial for it to be your actual face. Which flies in the face of the philosophy I believe in that people do business with people (a point echoed by Antonia (@antoniataylorPR) in her afternoon session. It is the one thing I have really been thinking about over the past 48 hours and have finally plucked up the courage to change.
So it is time to ditch the duck. I picked it almost a decade ago because back then I did sort of want to be anonymous, I didn’t want my face online. But things move on, life changes. And I think I am now ready to be me on line, for it to be my face in that circle.
I am 50 next year and maybe this is me now admitting I might be ready to be a grown up.