It is a mystery to me why people join social networks, but do not share who they are on these networks. On Twitter, instead of their face—we see that egg shaped avatar; on Facebook there is the profile with the question mark, and on some blogs the author’s identity is nowhere to be found. This is counter productive. Social networking is about forming relationships.
Before I get a ton of responses saying the reason that you don’t have your photo on social networks is because you do not have a photo or you do not know how to upload one—take a deep breath. I was in that same boat a few years ago and with a little effort I found a solution: I got a photo of myself, uploaded it to my computer and I use it whenever I join a network that has photos. This is a lot easier to do today. You probably know someone who can help you.
Many people can take photos with their cell phones and forward them to you via email. New computers have cameras and photo taking software installed, so you can take it yourself, and last of all—you probably know at least one person who has a digital camera who would be willing to take your photo and email it to you. If you have a camera on your computer you can take your photo from Facebook and upload it immediately. (Go to your Facebook profile, click “Edit Profile”, then click “Profile Picture” and you will see directions to either upload a photo from your computer or to take a photo right there.)
If you get a photo as an email attachment, right click on the attachment and save it in your picture file on your computer or on a flash drive. When a platform invites you to post your photo—you just “browse” to the location where you saved it and click on it. It is uploaded.
Take a few minutes to share something about yourself when a profile description is requested. This should not be the intimate details of your life—just the big picture that gives context to what you are sharing. I always start by saying “I am a Sister of Notre Dame from Chardon, Ohio.” Others share that they are married with kids, in college, retired, or have special interests, expertise, hobbies, etc.–just a few words to help someone learn a little bit about you.
In recent years, I have come across three different blogs on the Catholic faith (or I should say the blogger’s “take” on the Catholic faith) where there is no clue who the author is, no photo, no name (just a pen name in two cases and the first name and first initial of last name in another) and no bio on any of them. One pen name blogger said that he kept his identity “secret,” because his fulltime job would be jeopardized in some way; the second person felt that identifying himself would bring negative repercussions from his local faith community and I don’t know why the third person only uses first name and initial of the last name. I don’t know what to think about this, but I do not follow any of these blogs today. How do you feel about “anonymous” blogs? Do you follow any?
How comfortable are you in letting other people get to know you on social networks?