Just a reminder, I'm blogging at The Debutante Ball today. Our topic for the week is "a good scare," and I wrote about my dad's storytelling. Judging from the comments, I'm pretty sure everyone's been too busy ogling my dad to notice there are words on the page.
Since I started my new job a few weeks ago, I’ve been introduced to lots of new people. Lately, the introductions have gone like this:
Staff member: Tawna, I don’t know if you’ve met Jane yet, but she’s our Tuesday volunteer.
Me: It’s great to meet you, Jane. How long have you worked here?
Jane (looking slightly annoyed): We met yesterday. We spent 10 minutes talking about my grandkids.
Right. It’s the story of my life. While I have a terrific memory for most things, faces and names have always been tough for me.
This is in direct contrast to Pythagoras, who has no idea where he left his keys 30 seconds ago, but who once approached a stranger and asked, “do you work at the Welcome Center?”
She eyed him warily, “Um, well, I did 11 years ago.”
“You gave me some brochures when we first moved to town.”
Me, on the other hand – well, it's not so easy. I read an article a few years ago about a condition called prosopagnosia or “face blindness.” People with prosopagnosia have an impaired ability to recognize faces, though their ability to recognize other objects is generally intact. When I first read the article, I was certain I had it.
“Look!” I told Pythagoras, waving the article at him. “This explains everything.”
He skimmed it, his scientific mind quickly absorbing the big words I’d chosen to ignore. “I see. It says it’s generally the result of acute brain damage. That part actually explains a lot more.”
OK, so I don’t have prosopagnosia (though I do like to say it ten times fast after drinking pear martinis).
Nevertheless, I do have to work extra hard to keep track of faces and names. That’s one reason I love it so very much when people using social media like blogs and Twitter and Facebook are kind enough to get a gravatar.
A gravatar is a globally-recognized avatar, and it allows the user to have a single photo for use in all sorts of online communities. I mentioned it here a few months ago, and I shared a fabulous post by Author Jamie Harrington about gravatars (where she even included a link to help people set up a gravatar totally free).
I know, I know…the online world should not be forced to cater to me and my lame-ass inability to remember faces. “I like to change my avatar every week to keep things fresh,” I’ve heard people say.
I get it. I do. But just know that if you’re an author trying to establish a brand, you make it tougher for people – even normal people without face blindness – to remember you.
Ditto that if you’ve got different user names for all the different social media platforms. When you’re trying to build a brand for yourself and get to know authors, editors, agents, and readers in online communities, why wouldn’t you want to make it easy for everyone?
Feel free to disagree with me on this. I know plenty of people do, and I’m OK with that. Do you like to change up your pictures and user names, or do you keep things consistent? Do you have an easy time remembering faces and names, or is it a struggle for you, too? Please share.
And if we ever meet in person, please wear the exact same shirt, hairstyle, and facial expression as you do in your online photo. That would really help me out.