The Playful Avatar Experiment



Our online personas are things we carefully groom each day. We all seem cooler, smarter and more popular online because we can highlight our success and hide our fears, failures and faults. Just look at your own Twitter history and your real life and see how they differ.

But what if we gave up part of that control? What if others could directly influence those perfect created caricatures of who we are? I started playing with that idea and came to the conclusion that the best way was using the profile picture. Profile pictures are the visual representation of how we want to be seen condensed in a 100x100 pixel jpeg, it's the perfect tool for this experiment of giving away control of my online persona.

That's why I took 40 profile pictures. Some cool, some funny and some weird and let them be triggered by the tweets people send me. To make it more exciting new profile pictures have to be discovered first. Those will be shown here with the word that triggered it. If you use that word in a tweet to me it will switch to that profile picture again.


Some tips/notes:

  • English and Dutch triggerwords are used, all single words and are at least four letters long
  • All tweets that trigger a profile picture change will be saved in a database, for later analysis
  • All pictures have more than one word connected to them, but only the word that was used to discover it wil be shown. This allows for accidental triggers
  • All pictures taken by Rachel Kremer, who is awesome with camera's and cintiqs