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Ozzie the Ostrich

Have you seen this guy? Oh yes, you have! Ozzie the Ostrich is all over this site. He's the default photo you get if you don't upload a picture of yourself, here at MCX. Getting Ozzie for your pic is a not-too-subtle (we hope) poke to encourage you to reveal your shining face to the world, but some folks still hide behind him. I'm here to tell you why you don't want to look like Ozzie.

I'm prompted to comment because today, Seth Godin, best-selling author, top blogger, owner of the exclusive Triiibes social network (don't ask, you have to be invited), servant entrepreneur and expert on marketing and PR, wrote ten rules for choosing your photo for social networking sites. None of them includes Ozzie (BTW Triiibes gives you a head shot of a monkey if you don't add your own picture).

Seth says it better than I do, so go to his blog and read it (then subscribe), but here is what he won't tell you: If you are a coach who would like to connect with clients via social networking, then not using a good photo of yourself is stopping you from succeeding. So get serious about getting a good digital photo of yourself and upload it asap. In coach-ese that's called, "getting out of your own way".

The point is, nothing will serve you better in the world of social media than a good photo. There are many other secrets to succeeding online, but until you take care of this one, you might as well not even try.

I've attracted some great clients because, literally, they recognized my picture in several affinity networks that they belonged to and thought we must be a good fit.

A great photo doesn't have to cost you anything, but spending a few dollars might be well worth it. I paid an aspiring head-shot photographer in NYC $120 for mine several years ago and I've gotten incredible mileage out of it (As well as a great story about sweltering in his 4th floor walk-up in a surprise 95 degree heat wave - if you blow up my picture, you can see beads of sweat on my face - and then I nearly ran out of gas in a colossal traffic jam on 125th Street... but I digress.)

Here in brief, are Seth's 10 rules for getting your online image right, but do read the entire Power of a Tiny Picture post.

1. Have a professional or a dedicated amateur take your picture.
2. Use a white background, or at least a neutral one.
3. I'd vote for the picture to be solo.
4. If you are wearing a hat, you better have both a good reason and a good hat.
5. Don't sabotage your photo just because you're shy. (This is the Ozzie Rule.)
6. Save conceptual photos (your foot, a monkey wearing glasses) for the second impression.
7. How beautiful you are is a distant second to how happy you are. Smile!
8. Cropping is so important. I should have put this one first.
9. Remember the cocktail party rule: if you wouldn't wear it there, don't wear it here.
10. If, after reading this list, you don't like your picture, go change it.

And to clarify, you may indeed want to break a few of these rules, depending on the online brand you're attempting to establish. For instance, if you're a Parenting Coach, then posing with your kids may project exactly the right image, depending on the picture.

Remember, you don't have to look corporate. You just don't want to look like a dork! ;-)

Your thoughts?

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2009

Tags: blog, brand, clients, coach, coaching, godin, online, picture, rules, social

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1 Comment

Comment by Twootie Patootie on April 8, 2009 at 12:02pm
What's wrong with looking like a dork?

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