Then I read and answered all those messages posted to me elsewhere. It took me two hours.
I have a large PLN (Personal Learning Network). It is comprised of the people I follow on Twitter, people I connect with on Facebook, people I talk to in different forums, people I go to online workshops with and, of course, "my bloggers". Those are the people I blog with.
Blogging may look like a solitary activity, but it is not. Whenever you post a meaningful comment on someone's blog, a connection is formed. You will continue to learn from each other. You might even become blogging buddies, supporting each other along the way, giving each other blogging assignments, linking to each other's posts. It is networking in its best sense.
What has it got to do with Teacher Challenge Number 4? Apart from the "My dog ate my homework" bit. Sorry, teacher, I had to write 'thank you' notes to members of my PLN.
I believe this has everything to do with the Create Your Avatar task. Because your avatar is how other people will see you online, and I mean this literally.
The title of this post? Well, let's say you have been to my blog a couple of times. You have followed my tweets and read a couple of comments I posted in my forums in the rare occasions I went out of my usual lurking mode. You know who I am then. The more you connect to me, the more you will get to know me as a person. Except, you have never heard me laugh or seen me wave my hands when I speak. You don't know what I look like.
It is exactly the opposite from what happens offline. You get to see someone first or you hear their voice over the phone and that is your first impression of the person. Then you get to know them. That's why I think profile pictures and avatars are really important.
This is what I look like on Twitter and in a lot of other online spaces. It is my default profile picture. It is three years old. A lot of people change their profile pictures periodically, but I am too lazy for that. Besides, those who know me will immediately recognise my picture precisely because I use the same one over and over. Or at least that's what I tell myself.
Sometimes I look like this:
That is the photo I use on Facebook, Blip and a few other places.
This is what I sound like:
Finally, what I call myself. My name, Nataša, is pronounced as Natasha. However, my usual profile name is lunas994. Whenever you see lunas994, it's got to be me. That is my Twitter name, for example. Back in the old days I was reluctant to share my real name or my photo, so I took the first letters of the names of my family members (Luka, Natasa, Srećko) and added 994 because 1994 was a good year for me. And it stuck. Like my profile picture, I am not going to change it because it is a part of my online personality.
So, should you use a real photograph as your avatar or something else? I prefer to use a real picture because it makes me look more like a real person, which, of course, I am. It is easier to relate to a 'real person' than a cartoon character. Of course, this shouldn't be a universal rule. If you are uncomfortable using your real picture, by all means post something else. Whatever you feel represents you the best.