When I joined Friendster in 2003, I uploaded my first avatar. It was Chuck Close’s undeniably gritty and terrific “Big Self-Portrait” from the 1960s, dangling cigarette and all. When I joined Facebook a year later, I used the same one. Friends I hadn’t seen for ages thought my life had taken a turn.
I liked the anonymity of using an artist’s self portrait as an avatar, and I still love the painting. But eventually, I settled on an appropriately awkward self portrait of my own, blurrily shot with an ageing Canon Powershot in my Brooklyn bedroom and sloppily Photoshopped at my office in Manhattan. My mum thinks it makes me look sad. She’s not wrong.
But what about you? What was your first avatar? How did you decide to present yourself to cyberspace back in the Web 2.0 days — or well before social media was even a term? Let us know the story behind your first avatar in the comments. Heck, drop it in if you’ve still got it. Too embarrassed? We’re all a little embarrassed of things we did on the internet when we were younger. Let’s do a little bit of group therapy.
Picture: Pace Gallery / Adam Clark Estes