solarcat: (Gen -- Pants Down)
[personal profile] solarcat
Default icons.

Most of us have them, I would venture. But in changing my default icon recently, I got to thinking about how we choose default icons.

I know that in some cases, I associate icons with people almost as strongly as I associate their online handles (which is saying something, since in many cases the only name I have for someone is their online handle!). For example, long before I was friends with [livejournal.com profile] sansets, I knew her default icon (and in fact I had a moment of "Oh, hey, YOU!" during the friending process, which I am admitting here only because it's relevant to the topic at hand *shame*). BTW, [livejournal.com profile] sansets? You are never allowed to change your icon, or I will have to hurt you~, okay? All my <3, Me.

That's just a tiny example, but I was thinking about it. What impact does a default icon have? Do we draw conclusions about users based on their default icon? If, for instance, a default icon isn't overly polished, or if it's pixelated, or hard to read, or not 100x100px, or any number of other things that might be considered "faults", does that affect our perception of the user the icon is representing?

I guess I'm pondering this because icons ARE representational in the LJ/DW-verse, where we often communicate solely by text. The icons a we use may be the only visual representation of us that our friends and acquaintances see.

So besides the question of perception (that is, what impact do you think others' icons/icon choices have on your perceptions of them), I'm also wondering what, if any, consideration goes into selecting your own default icon. Have you had the same icon for years and years, or does it change more frequently? Do you prefer a more general image for your default, or is it a fandom-based icon? Do you mean your icon to make any sort of statement, or represent something about you?


Because I always try to do a bit of self-analysis when I do these sorts of posts, I guess I'll take a look at my own icon, as well as my perception of others'.


It's sort of embarrassing to admit, but I think I do tend to make a first-impression judgment based on icons. For instance, if I see someone posting using a blurry or sort of amateurish icon (where the type is blurred or can't be seen against the background, generally sort of unpolished), I do catch myself thinking, not necessarily anything bad about the person, but perhaps that they're newer to LJ, haven't been around long enough to find icon-makers and snag some of their lovely creations.

Examining that, it's obviously a faulty assumption, and one I shouldn't make, but it's interesting to me that I consider the use of "pretty" icons to indicate familiarity with and activity in the LJ/DW-sphere. What I can't necessarily pin down is whether this comes from the general fact that the people I admire and who I know have been involved in the fannish community tend, on average, to have very nice icons (making it a top-down association), or whether it's a bottom-up association, meaning that I have perhaps encountered more newbie LJ users with amateurish icons. (I really don't feel like the word "amateurish" really captures what I'm talking about, and I'd be glad of suggestions on this. It's not the right word, but using a term like "bad" would be making a value judgment that I feel would be supremely unfair, here, so I'm trying to avoid that.)

As far as my own default icon goes, I have had several in my LJ career. The ones I can remember, at this point, are my Carmen Sandiego icon (which was generally a big hit--favorable perception based on nostalgia? Most of the comments I got about it were of the "OMG is that Carmen Sandiego?? I used to watch that show all the time!!" sort), my recent Misha Collins icon with Star Trek (2009)-inspired lens flare (obviously a fannish icon, which incorporated my current obsessions with both SPN and STXI), and this current one (which I am hard selecting rather than leaving to the "default" setting, because I want this entry to make sense if I ever change it again! XD ).

My current default icon I made myself, out of a stock photo I fell in love with at first sight. However, I've had it hanging around in my icon slots for nearly a year now, and it's only just become my default. I think my motivation was somewhat based in my inability to Stop Messing With Stuff, but also because I tend to view favorably (and remember) icons with simple, somewhat iconic (yes, yes) images. This icon image is one that spoke to me, and continues to speak to me, which is why it has eventually made its way to "default" status. As to what it says about me to outside observers, I have no idea. (Feel free to share your impressions, though!)



Hi there, [community profile] metafandomers! Yipe, okay, so my email didn't bother to give me comments all day yesterday; I didn't mean to ignore all of you!! D= I can't guarantee I'll reply to everybody, I think I'm just gonna hang out and participate in the discussion, at this point, but I really appreciate all of you taking the time to read and share your opinions! Also, I want to make it clear that by making this post, I'm not trying to insult anyone! Your icon is your personal choice; I'm interested in why and/or how you made that choice. *g*
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on 2009-12-15 05:58 pm (UTC)
sofiaviolet: drawing of three violets and three leaves (violet)
Posted by [personal profile] sofiaviolet
It makes me scroll kind of fast when I'm reading at work, I'll tell you that. ;) But since I go back over things when I get home, it doesn't really matter.

My default icon *points* has been my default for a really long time - probably for as long as I've had this username. (Since 2005, probably.)

Hm. *ponders* I'll be interested in reading the comments to this post. And I might come back and share more of my thoughts on yaoi icons when I get home.

on 2009-12-19 10:50 am (UTC)
erinptah: (Maggie)
Posted by [personal profile] erinptah
I used to use a lot more icons. Was on GJ for a while, when it had a 2000-icon limit, and I got up to about 200 icons, all of which were used at least semiregularly. So the question of which one was default didn't matter too much.

For a while on LJ I had a Plus account, so 15 icons. I tried to have at least one for each fandom I commented in regularly, and every so often I would delete them all and put a new batch in rotation.

I also used to have a thing for putting my name on my default icon. Have backed away from that since, although I still use an icon with my name and a picture on other sites (DailyMotion, DeviantArt, various forums) where you only get one, so it's more like an overall avatar than a reflection of your mood at the moment.

I downgraded to the 6-icon Basic LJ account a while ago, and ever since then I've actually been going the low-maintenance route, having a generic default icon and not bothering to upload others. To that end, I'm kind of addicted to [personal profile] jai's beautiful stock icons. On DW I cycle through a variety, but tend to use something classy and stock-y as my default.

And my default icon on every account right now is a festive one, because that's how I roll when December comes around :3

...well, that was rambly and tangential! Hope some of it was interesting ^_^;

on 2009-12-20 05:59 am (UTC)
ar: "It's a lot easier to tell the truth usually." - Elliott Smith (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] ar
Here from [livejournal.com profile] metafandom, if you please.

I tend to glance askance when people use icons that're clearly photographs of themselves or their children. Other than that, I don't generally draw conclusions from people based off their default icons.

Personally, I very rarely change default icons--this one has been my default since I joined DW, and my default on LJ has been my default there for years--but on the other hand, I don't tend to use them very much. (Well, I use my eljay one more often now that I only have six icons there and it's my most neutral-faced one, but this default icon isn't even my most-used Elliott Smith icon, let alone most used icon, period.) They serve less as a go-to icon for most situations and more as...hm. More like a representative picture that's primarily relevant if you're looking for more info about me--which I suppose you would be, if you were on my profile. I always feel kind of boring if I actually use my default icon, like I was just too uninspired to click one of the other ones.

(I wonder what mine would convey to other people anyway--neither strike me as looking superfannish. Actually, I suspect most of my eljay icons would probably look "amateurish" on first blush, but that's for a combination of factors rather than an unfamiliarity with the site or fandom as a whole. Considering that in the world of fandom, I mostly tend to keep to myself, though, perhaps that's fitting. >>)

on 2009-12-20 07:07 am (UTC)
amalnahurriyeh: Dollhouse: Sierra, with text "geek squad" (sierra)
Posted by [personal profile] amalnahurriyeh
I tend to glance askance when people use icons that're clearly photographs of themselves or their children.

Just to say--outside of fannish LJ, this seems fairly common. I have an LJ account that predates my fannish involvement; my default icon is a picture of me, and I have another one that's a picture of my kid (that I use for posts about him). I think most of my non-fandom friends on LJ have icons that are pictures of them that they use at least sometimes, even if they aren't their default. Strikes me as a 'YMMV based on what your intarwebs are for' situation, maybe?

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on 2009-12-20 06:03 am (UTC)
telesilla: a pale art nouveau girl with purple hair (purple girl)
Posted by [personal profile] telesilla
I've had this icon as my default for about eight years now; I can't imagine changing it. I like it because it's not fannish, except that it is in a way because it's clearly Telesilla Sue, purple/pink hair and all. :)

I do tend to judge people by their icons, which I probably shouldn't because most of the icons I make are simple crop jobs with no effects or text. But if an icon is blurry or the text is fuzzy or hard to read, I tend to roll my eyes a little.

on 2009-12-20 06:05 am (UTC)
robling_t: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] robling_t
I've actually never changed the default icon I originally chose for my LJ, which I suppose means I was doing something right in the first place :) -- it's a greyscale closeup of a reflection in the Apple-logo-shaped window of my city's flagship store, from a photo I took myself, which both serves to warn people of my religious platform preferences and harmonizes nicely with a B/W journal scheme. The Dreamwidth default was chosen to reflect that I'm mostly over here commenting on meta, which does get into a lot of "won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?" sorts of discussions.

I'm not visual, in general, so the thing that puts me off more RE other people's icons is mostly blurry/unreadable text. I agree with you that "amateurish" might not be the word -- it's more a, dunno, lack of care? Consideration? There's so much out there and this is the best you could do? I guess it puts me on guard that $POSTER might not be one to mind other details either...

on 2009-12-20 06:06 am (UTC)
vellum: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] vellum
yes. sorry, i'm shallow, but yes, if your icon is shoddy, i'm thinking, "wow, what terrible taste. all these icon comms on here and you chose that?"

and it definitely helps using a default in comms (especially ohnotheydidnt) where i'll recognize users by their icons instead of usernames. when i didn't have a paid account i had one icon that i used straight for a year and a half and it felt jarring to rotate it out, and got a "whoa, didn't recgonize you for a moment" when commenting in someone's journal.

on 2009-12-20 10:13 am (UTC)
sarken: leaves of mint against a worn wall (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sarken
So, so true about recognizing users in large comms by their icons, even though I didn't think of it until you mentioned it.

I also judge people by their icons, particularly when it comes to fanfiction posts. If an author I am otherwise unfamiliar with has a shoddy icon, I am significantly more likely to scroll past their story.

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on 2009-12-20 06:15 am (UTC)
bork: Bones Hillman (tardis)
Posted by [personal profile] bork
I change my default icon often, depending on my mood and whims.

This is my current default icon, as I'm on a Doctor Who kick. But, I'm thinking about changing it to my Grumpy icon, because things are making me grumpy.

on 2009-12-20 06:16 am (UTC)
bork: Asgeir Mickelson GRUMPY. (grumpy)
Posted by [personal profile] bork
(And this is the Grumpy icon :) )

*points to icon*

on 2009-12-20 06:32 am (UTC)
sqbr: pretty purple pi (default icon)
Posted by [personal profile] sqbr
A summary of my default icon for anyone who can't read it: "I'm sqbr's default icon and I'm a bad sign. The fact she's using me means she was probably too tired to choose a better one and is spouting crap."

So as you might imagine I don't use it much except by accident. It feels wierd to use it on purpose for this comment :)

I used to have a default icon which was chosen to be my main representation of myself to the world (a cute picture of a flying mouse), but I got a bit sick of it, and once I got enough other icons for specific situations I realised I was only using my default when I forgot to choose another one (I have chronic fatigue syndrome which messes with cognition). Thus I made my current icon. I also have an "out of spoons error" icon for when I'm aware that I'm feeling too stupid to make any sense.

And yet I'm a total hypocrite, since I suck at remembering names and tend to remember people by their userpics!

I tend to associate badly made icons with people who aren't very good with computers or art rather than noobishness. I think it's more the content of the icon that's likely to make me think narrow minded thoughts.

on 2009-12-20 06:51 am (UTC)
915: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] 915
The only thing that bugs me is if it's REALLY ascetically horrible, or out-of-ratio pictures. There are a lot of sites that do cropping for you that turns it in a square, you don't need to upload a RECTANGULAR picture for your icon have it squished.

on 2009-12-20 09:40 am (UTC)
lavenderfrost: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lavenderfrost
you don't need to upload a RECTANGULAR picture for your icon

Meep! *pets her default*

on 2009-12-20 07:14 am (UTC)
amalnahurriyeh: XF: Plastic Flamingo from Acadia, with text "bring it on." (flamingo)
Posted by [personal profile] amalnahurriyeh
here via metafandom...

My LJ default icon is crap; I made it, but I consider it a placeholder. My fandom name is an Arabic pun; I originally had an icon of one of the words in it done by a contemporary calligrapher, but I received a copyright violation notification about it, so took it down. Not being a calligrapher, or at all visual, I made myself one that included the whole phrase. (You can see it here.) I think it's pretty ugly, but it's my name, both possible ways, and it's got the big ol' hurriyeh there in the center, which makes me happy to see. But, because it's ugly, I rarely use it. Maybe someday I'll make a better one.

This is my DW one; my DW icons are literally the six icons I was most in favor of the day I uploaded them. I love this icon to bits and pieces--it's a very specific fandom reference (and it's a line from my favorite character), it's highly combative, it's a little cracky, and it's more than a little gay. That's basically me, right there. I use it a ton both on LJ and DW.

I'm also in the "if your icon is ugly, or misspelled, or poorly done, I roll my eyes a little" camp. But that applies to any icon, not just default icons.

on 2009-12-20 07:23 am (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] martasfic
The default icon does have an impact, but not its quality so much. Rather its content: if it is witty or beautiful or whatever that can tell me something about the person's character. It serves the same function as email signatures do where I started online (much of my fannish communication is through email-based listservs).

More than that first impressions, though, icons definitely flavor how I react to a post. If something is longish or if it's behind a cut, I'm much more likely to read a post with an interest-catching icon. Go figure.

Here from metafandom

on 2009-12-20 07:28 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] rotaryphones.livejournal.com
This is actually something that interests me quite a bit, since my background is in graphic design and visual communication and whatnot. I see default icons as a type of logo or branding. I think using the same one(s) frequently makes it easier for others to remember you and what you've written. I know I generally have a harder time recognizing someone who switches between icons a lot, but then again, I'm a very visual person. And I admit, at the risk of sounding shallow, that I definitely make initial taste judgments based on people's icons. It's so ingrained in me, I can't help it!

As for my own icon, I sort of picked something intentionally anonymous, which probably says something about my wary attitude towards lj when I first joined. But I don't want to change it, because I feel that people recognize me by that icon now. Which I suppose is sort of ironic. :)

Re: Here from metafandom

on 2009-12-20 09:48 am (UTC)
lavenderfrost: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lavenderfrost
Fellow design nerd, hi! :D *waves* I got my associates degree in graphic design & animation.

My default is actually an old, OLD design class project that I just co-opted for LJ. I had to do 4 seasonal logos in Illustrator, and once I created my LJ, I figured my "winter" logo was a fairly straightforward depiction of my username, so I just redid it in shades of purple instead of blue & slate gray.

Re: Here from metafandom

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on 2009-12-20 07:33 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
Posted by [personal profile] lilacsigil
If someone has a person in their default icon, I imagine them looking like that person, even if I have seen photos or met them and know what they actually look like. I've sometimes had dreams involving people on my flist (not very exciting dreams) and they look like their icons.

So yes, I do imagine [personal profile] telesilla with long purply hair, even though I have seen a picture of her!

on 2009-12-20 05:52 pm (UTC)
lady_ganesh: Ageha giving the victory sign (ageha (RH plus))
Posted by [personal profile] lady_ganesh
I have had Watari icons on my LJ off and on as default so much people usually think of me as blond, which I'm decidedly not.

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on 2009-12-20 07:43 am (UTC)
mommy: Arshtat; Suikoden V (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] mommy
Here via metafandom.

I tend to pick one of my simpler, more neutral icons for my default, and I change things around every few months whenever it strikes my fancy. This one has been my default for around two months, and I'll probably switch it out around February. I have absolutely no idea what conclusions people get from this icon, but I think it's fairly pretty and not that distracting.

on 2009-12-20 08:06 am (UTC)
torachan: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] torachan
I used to change my default icon every so often. Maybe once a year or every six months. I did like to mix it up a bit. But over the years I've become more attached to my default icons. This current one I've been using for quite a while and can't see myself changing any time soon as I really like it. Before that I think I had the same default for two years or more.

These days I find myself much less likely to even use other icons at all. I used to try and use a different one for every post, even for commenting. Now I rarely use a different icon for commenting, and even more of my posts tend to be my default. Part of it is that I think my default is super cute and thus like seeing it a lot, but also I've just become lazier about icons over the years. I used to think I could never do without the maximum icon slots, constantly filled, but now I think I could do with the minimum or even just this one.

on 2009-12-20 12:15 pm (UTC)
used_songs: (woman made of trees)
Posted by [personal profile] used_songs
Although I've seen your photo, in my head, your icon is what you look like. It's like spotting a familiar face at a party!

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on 2009-12-20 08:24 am (UTC)
51stcenturyfox: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] 51stcenturyfox
Another person here from metafandom. :)

I've been using the same default LJ icon for quite a while now and can't see changing; it's a neutral to me in that it's not demonstrating an emotional response/expression; I used to have a lulzy icon and though I liked it, I'd forget to swap it out when replying to something less than lulzy.

Don't know that I *judge* anyone by icons; some people just aren't visually-geared. But if something's badly stretched or really out-of-ratio, it's a bit tough to look at.

on 2009-12-20 09:19 am (UTC)
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] toujours_nigel
I usually have my username on the default icon, which, yeah, has been changed recently.

I tend to associate people with their defaults, to the extent that I assume that it's so-and-so because of the icon, and then go back and realise, yeah, different user, same icon.

Here via metafandom to add my two cents.

on 2009-12-20 10:58 am (UTC)
dancing_serpent: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dancing_serpent
I usually stick to my defaults when they fit as good as the one I have now.

I think it's not unusual to make assumptions about people from the icons they use. I certainly do so. But in the end I always tell myself that people's tastes are different and their monitor settings are often different, too. What looks like a dark blob to me might be a nice, easily recognisable icon to them. Or vice versa. *g*

on 2009-12-20 12:18 pm (UTC)
used_songs: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] used_songs
their monitor settings are often different

That's a very good point. When I use my computer, I have this huge screen and everything's clear and colorful. When I use my partner's computer, icons are tiny and often unreadable.

Here via metafandom.

on 2009-12-20 11:36 am (UTC)
susanna: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] susanna
I am one of the persons who almost always use their default icons, because they help me find myself, that is, my own posts. I had one for year, based on a water-colour picture I did myself, and after some time I thought it pretentious and got another one, also based on a water-colour picture I did myself. At DW I have an icon someone else did for me, and I also have a Sasunaru icon someone else did for me, but I consider doing one myself, only that I am out of practice now with water-colours, having adopted fanfiction as a new hobby, and I cannot be good at everything.

Semi-professional icon-makers - they are good, to be sure, but my own icons are personal, and with my icon, personal is better than professional. Even if it's not professional, it's mine, and with my default icons, I would not want anyone grab them.

on 2009-12-20 11:38 am (UTC)
sally_maria: Daniel Jackson looking sideways (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sally_maria
This is my default icon, and I've had it ever since I got my LJ in 2004. So I made it myself, and while I don't think it's dreadful, I have many more polished ones. But it's me, and while I considered changing it when I got my DW account, I decided that I wanted to keep that continuity.

I don't use it that much on posts/comments, and I'm not really in SG1 fandom any more but still, it was an important part of my fannish identity for a lot of years.

on 2009-12-20 11:53 am (UTC)
falena: Picture of a girl hiding behind a camera, reflected in a mirror. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] falena
When I first started using LJ I used to change my default quite often (every couple of months, maybe) or even just to suit a particular occasion (a holiday, season, or fannish event).

Over the years, though, I've changed the way I use my default. First off, I've started to think of having a unique default icon as a way of 'recognising' people on the internet. So, I don't change it as much. (I've changed it just twice in the past 3 years).

Nowadays I tend to choose something that people can easily associate with me and that is not necessarily fandom-related.

I don't judge people by their default icon, but if they use it a lot, in the end I associate them with it, whether I like it or not. It just becomes 'them' to me.

on 2009-12-20 12:11 pm (UTC)
used_songs: (rampant elephant of joy)
Posted by [personal profile] used_songs
Here from metafandom. I tend to use my default on lj frequently and, in the past, I've had people tell me that they associated me with that icon and imagined me looking like the person in the icon (it was Tallulah Bankhead, so all to the good). I tend to stay with a particular default icon for 1-2 years at a time which is probably why people associate me with the pic. Also, I have used the same icon on LJ and on twitter so people see me in multiple locations with the same face on. My default here at DW is a fandom icon, but I don't use fandom icons on non-fandom posts/comments so you get the rampant elephant of joy.

I generally associate people with their icons so it's jarring for me when they use a different icon than their default (or the small set of icons that they frequently use). It's always strange when I see someone else using on of the icons I associate with a a friend.

As far as judging others ... I do sometimes see icons that are really hard to make out or the aspect ratio is screwed up, but it doesn't bother me and I don't think it affects my view of them.

yay for waxing on about icons \o/

on 2009-12-20 12:24 pm (UTC)
goodbyebird: Batman returns: Catwoman seen through a glass window. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] goodbyebird
My default icon has remained unchanged for just about my entire stay here on lj. It's from one of the first icon batches I made, and depicts Faith's nightmare scenes in This Year's Girl. The reasons for keeping it are:
1. I'm somewhat habitual.
2. Also holding on to it due to emotional attachment(as well as some of my other not so pretty cons. heh).
3. I doubt anyone else would ever snag my default, and I like having that one to myself.

I rarely use it for actual posts though.

As for judging others by their userpics, I go more by content, not quality(though when I see icons where their aspect ration is all screwed up, I wanna shake somebody). If someone's userpics are all about the hot boys or all about the hot girls, I find it unlikely that we'll be interested in the same things. If they have icons with a great sense of humor, or a good variation when it comes to characters/fandoms/stock, that's always a plus in my book. Some also have quotes or such in their icon descriptions, those I always find interesting. There's a lot of personality in people's userpics :)

Re: yay for waxing on about icons \o/

on 2009-12-20 12:27 pm (UTC)
goodbyebird: Batman returns: Catwoman seen through a glass window. (AD like a cat)
Posted by [personal profile] goodbyebird
hah and I am now on dreamwidth *facepalm* Serves me right for not paying attention to where metafandom sends me off to.

Well, my default here isn't of Faith, but it's still got the actress that played her :p

on 2009-12-20 12:50 pm (UTC)
dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dira
I just changed my default to this one, from Jon Walker (which I had for two and a half years, before I even actually got into bandom). I wanted something sort of emotionally-neutral and associated with a fandom I'm still more or less in, and I got all excited at the idea of actually having a WOMAN as my default. *g*

I definitely mentally associate default or frequently used icons as my mental image of the user--Kat Allison has had an icon of Patty Smith as her default possibly for as long as I've known her online--five or six years--and I cannot see pictures of Patty Smith without thinking it's Kat, even though I have MET Kat and know what she looks like.

I even mentally associate myself with my longstanding default icons; not that I think I look like Jon Walker or Daniel Jackson, but I have a sort of instinctive "that's me!" reaction--like, once I was working where people could see my computer screen and was looking at my own LJ post, and someone walked up and as I quickly minimized I thought they will see the icon, they will recognize me and know I posted that. I am like one of those chimps raised by humans who sorts pictures of humans and chimps with itself in the human category--I would probably sort my own icons into the "pictures of me" category if you caught me off-guard. *g*

on 2009-12-20 02:03 pm (UTC)
amelia_eve: Apple Queen (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] amelia_eve
After a very brief time on LJ, I decided I wanted to create a very specific and recognizable default icon for myself (see above). Since I came in through Harry Potter fandom, I wanted something with a bit of witchery in it, but not a straight HP character. I'm also fond of Disney witches and Apple products. My first inspiration to try a non-HP witch was from [personal profile] mctabby, who uses a picture of Bewitched's Endora with the motto "Slytherin" underneath.

I so identify posters with their icons that the first time I went to a con, I made alternate name tags for all my RL friends who coming, featuring our user names and default icons. I wish more people had done something similar -- it's totally how I recognize people.

I do have lots of other icons, mostly just because I like making icons Sometimes I even forget about them for a while, if they relate to an interest that has been dormant. But I always come back to the wicked queen of all things Apple.

Sidenote: Obviously this icon is a collage of images that belong to other people, but the collage itself was made by me, and is widely known as my default icon. A few years ago, I discovered someone using it as her avatar on Flickr, and I wrote asking her to take it down. She was kind enough to do so, but it made me think that I had no real way to claim it as my own except through consistent usage and self-branding. It hasn't come up again, and I'm pretty sure I know which mutual friend she swiped it from (that is, via one of my comments in their LJ), but there really isn't any way to prove it except if it's your own original artwork or photo from scratch.

(via Metafandom)
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