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Your Photo. Your Blog.

A photo of me

This is a post I’ve thought of writing for a long time. So long that if ideas were objects I’d have had to dust it off.

Adding my image to this blog has been a constant thought of mine. I know that I like to see the writer behind the blog (I’m therefore somewhat of a hypocrite), but all those worldwide worries sometimes come into play. When I started working on my plan B I realised it was time for my image to be online. I’d put it off for ages and working on my project has been a catalyst for making my decision, it’s pushed me to make that step. To be honest I’m glad. It’s time I stopped deliberating.

In my case, adding my photo to this blog, or any blog I might begin, gets rid of the particular anonymity provided by my name. I’ve never pretended to be the opposite gender, but I’m aware that some people mistake me for it, conversational content intimates as much, as have various letters. Being a ‘Charlie’ has given me a lot of insight into the differences in how men and women are treated, subtly, by both sexes. And whilst most people (at least I assume) know which I am, such anonymity elsewhere can have its advantages.

So there was that to consider. Yet at the same time, the age-old, or rather 21st century, question – why should gender matter?

Moving on to a universal point of consideration – does a blog with the owner’s image grant more authority to what they say? Does it make their words more memorable? The latter is easy to answer – yes, names and faces and so forth. The former not so much. I’d say people can have authority, followings, and the like, without being visually recognisable. Consider the simple idea of the many DJs in the music industry who we wouldn’t recognise except aurally. Yet it strikes me that generally, authority is stronger when combined with a visual. It’s not about power, or putting up your photo with the purpose of authority, it’s that authority can seem a natural effect. You can put a face to the work, there is a certain bond created, and you feel you’ve been invited into the person’s lives.

I’m aware that so far I haven’t invited you beyond edited words.

Editing brings me to my next point – how big an issue is privacy nowadays? In the early days of the Internet, everyone was careful. But now, with so many people online, with companies wanting to show their staff’s faces in order to appear more approachable, with journalling moving online, it’s starting to be the case that online is just as anonymous as a city street where everyone can see you. Though of course on a street you’re nameless.

And the type of writing, the type of online presence we have as bloggers, somewhat begs for a face.

Lastly, another simple point – image has a lot to do with confidence. It’s easy to be confident online anonymously. My decisions haven’t been down to any shyness or lack of – I am confident in my writing – but it’s a point that bares inclusion here.

I guess the best way to end this post is to say “Hi”.

Whichever it is in your case, a photo or not, what factors lead to your decision?


Tanya Patrice

June 3, 2013, 2:18 am

Yay – great to see a picture of the blogger behind the blog – but it has honestly never mattered to me whether there is a picture or not for any blogger.

I try to be careful of what I write about online. My main concern is that if a potential employer saw my “stuff” – would they be put off by it. I want to make sure I write about things I’d be proud to tell the world about.


June 3, 2013, 7:20 am

You know what, I always assumed you were female – I suppose it is a little sexists of me to assume every book blogger I find is female.

I’m not certain I feel wholly comfortable posting an image of myself on my blog (see my about page), but more because I don’t have one I see as up to date, professional or flattering – I certainly don’t want one of me on a night out on there!

In regards to other bloggers, I don’t need to see them to feel interested by them, whereas I do need information to feel a connection with what they are writing. I think it depends on what you blog and how big you want your blog to be – the bigger/more popular the blog the more of a brand I expect to see, which would need to include an image.


June 3, 2013, 10:00 am

It is lovely to see you Charlie! I wouldn’t put my photo on my own blog though. Personally I view my blog as an online diary of the books I read during the year; and I wouldn’t put my photo in a diary either. As you have more discussion style posts on your blog I can see the advantages of having your photo on here.


June 3, 2013, 12:09 pm

Hello Charlie! I always like to put a face to the name, so it’s nice to ‘meet’ you. And what a lovely photo! I have my photo on my blog, but many of the bloggers I follow don’t use theirs. It’s very much a personal choice – and in my case I use that photo across a number of sites where I use the same pseudonym, so it ties it all together. Plus, back when I started using Leander as my pseudonym, people (understandably) just assumed I was a man so I felt the need to knock that on the head – needless to say that was before I chose the title of my blog :-)

Laurie C

June 3, 2013, 12:20 pm

Nice to see you! I think because of your gravatar, which I thought was maybe a Chinese character, I had always pictured you as being of Asian descent. I see I was wrong. Your next post can explain your gravatar and where it comes from! lol
It took me a long time to post any photos of me on my blog, but I’m gradually getting slightly more personal in my posts, too.

Alex in Leeds

June 3, 2013, 7:33 pm

A pleasure to ‘meet’ you. I haven’t posted my photo for ages only because I’ve been nervous about being judged by something other than my words. There’s photos if someone wants to look for them though and my blog links to Flickr. I might yet post an up-to-date image when I cut my hair short again…


June 3, 2013, 7:34 pm

Great to see your lovely face! I’ve had a photo of myself on my blog for about a year now because I like the sense of connection I feel with a blog when I know what the blogger looks like. However, I do understand why some bloggers wouldn’t want to post their photo or share personal information.


June 3, 2013, 8:34 pm

I love it when bloggers share personal information and/or photos, and will echo what everyone else here is saying, that I love seeing your photo.
I share so much personal stuff it seems to me that a photo is pretty much extraneous, although I have a gravatar on the side of my blog that is an image of me because I do like to picture the person I’m talking to. I also like to see the places my friends and family live, because then I can picture them there when I talk to them.
Kittlingbooks, who writes about crime fiction/mystery novels, used to have a feature called “Scene of the Blog,” and I loved it because it showed where various bloggers did their writing, and sometimes their reading.

Rebecca @ Love at First Book

June 3, 2013, 9:11 pm

Hiii!!! I think it’s super important to be transparent to your readers, but to an extent. There are plenty of things you can divulge without sharing REALLY personal information.

Jenny @ Jenny’s Books

June 4, 2013, 2:09 am

Hi! Nice to see you! I haven’t put a photo with my blog partly because I like anonymity in general — though I’ve met a bunch of bloggers, emailed with my full name, etc. Another part of it is just that I don’t like having my picture taken. My head always looks aggressively huge, and it bums me out. I try to avoid being photographed as much as possible.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

June 4, 2013, 2:29 am

Hello! :)

I didn’t put my photo or real name on my blog for awhile, at least a couple of years. But then I started using it as a line on my resume (blogging is big in journalism now), and I felt like I needed to own my words more.

I’ve never minded people knowing who I am — there’s nothing on the blog that I’m ashamed or worried about — but it is disconcerting to run into people (especially in the small town where I live) that know about the blog.

Anyway, that was a long way of saying good for you and it’s lovely to see you.


June 4, 2013, 3:20 am

Hello! I’m glad you’ve added your photo :) It’s nice to put a face to the name!

Jackie (Farm Lane Books)

June 4, 2013, 9:33 am

Hello! You do look very much how I imagined you, but it is nice to see the photo and have this confirmed because in the past my assumptions have been VERY wrong. There was one incident where I’d been following a blogger for about 2 years before I discovered they were male and about 40 years older than I imagined! It didn’t matter, just proved how terrible our guesses can be!

Andrew Blackman

June 4, 2013, 4:12 pm

Hi Charlie! Very interesting post, raising a lot of issues about privacy and identity online. For me it was definitely a process – at first it feels weird even writing a blog, let alone putting up my real name and photo. So I started off anonymous, and then gradually got used to it and began to put up more information. I still don’t reveal a lot of things about myself, but I do think it’s good to post a bit about my life outside the blog. I think it happens naturally, when you’re commenting and building relationships of a kind with other bloggers. It’s similar to ‘real-life’ friendships, where you start off being guarded and then gradually reveal more. The difference is that blogs are accessible not only to your regular readers but to strangers, of course. So it’s a difficult balance to strike, but I definitely see a trend towards more transparency over time.

Andrew Blackman

June 4, 2013, 4:22 pm

By the way, coincidentally I was interviewed by a book blogger who asked me about just these issues of anonymity and identity just a few days ago. Here’s the link in case you’re interested:


June 4, 2013, 6:23 pm

Nice to put a face with the name! :)

I struggled with not my photo, but with putting up photos of my family. I used to have a personal blog in which I included pictures of me, my son, my husband, etc. I didn’t have a huge readership, but after a while I got uncomfortable with the whole thing. I think I have become especially wary of sharing a lot of photos of my son. He is too young to have a say in his “publicity” so I feel a great responsibility for it. However, I talk about him a lot in some of my features…so part of me started to feel like I should include shots of him here and there. As a result, I have done so in a limited capacity–really only about 3-4 photos total, and many of them are not sharp/clear enough where he could be recognized “on the street”.

You’re right–people are way more free on the internet with privacy nowadays, to the point where it seems like the norm. And that makes it hard to figure out where the line is between “I should provide a pic” vs “I have to provide a pic”.

Literary Feline

June 4, 2013, 7:32 pm

When I began blogging, I wanted to remain as anonymous as possible, but that didn’t last long. People did want to know my real name. No one ever seemed to mind that I didn’t post photos of myself. Since I began blogging seven years ago, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve posted photos of myself. I am not comfortable with the practice and likely will continue to post very few photos of me.

I blame it on my profession. I’m not comfortable putting myself out there so completely for everyone to see. The name I use professionally is slightly different than the name I use in my personal life in order to give myself some semblance of privacy (and yes, safety). I realize it would be easy for anyone to put it all together, but let me have my fantasy. I have become looser in recent years because I am no longer in the field like I once was, but I go back and forth about whether that is a good thing.

I share a lot about myself and personal life on my blog and think that it’s a fairly accurate picture of who I am. I do not talk about work much, however. At least not in detail. I can’t. So I admit that’s a side of me that my blog readers don’t get to see. It took me nearly six years before I admitted what I did for a living on my blog.

I’ve never really given much thought to whether it matters to me if I know what someone looks like on the other side of a blog. It is nice to know, granted, but I don’t think it’s necessary. It doesn’t change my opinion of a person or their blog that I’m aware of.


June 4, 2013, 7:54 pm

I have to say that I am very shy and I have never think about sharing personal stuff and photos in internet. Nevertheless, I have no problem with chatting with hangout with the people I “know” from the blogs. But I don’t like to be seen by “everybody” because you really don’t know who is reading and watching your photos.
But this is a personal choice; I told you I’m very shy.

Now let’s talk about you: I knew you were a girl. Perhaps the first time I looked the name I felt confused, but I after a moment of hesitation, I got sure you were a girl because of the books you read and review :)
Then I have think a lot about the name, and I got to the conclussion that “Charlie” was for girls and “Charly” for boys :))) I suppose I had to find a reason or something, hehehe.


June 5, 2013, 9:04 am

Hello. You look a lot younger than I imagined you to be. :)

I’ve always gone with anonymity online. That’s partly for professional reasons, and partly because I once attracted a persistent troll and my experience with him has made me very wary of putting any identifying information online.

Good luck with your new endeavour, by the way. :)


June 7, 2013, 12:36 am

I go back and forth on this myself–I’ve had a real picture of myself on my blog for most of my blogging life, though I started with the Duchess of Devonshire image when I was just starting. I have had both an image and a personal photo on Twitter, but find that my heart/book image on Twitter conveys more about who I am than the tiny thumbnail.

I think of blogging as one big bookclub and personally, I like to know who I’m chatting with.

vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

June 9, 2013, 11:12 am

I didn’t even have my first name on anything for ages, which was a bit of a cautionary ‘don’t really trust the internet’ thing, but I eventually cracked because I realised no one could spell or pronounce my alias! (I thought you were a bloke, incidentally! I would say ‘happy to learn otherwise’, but that sounds somewhat graceless!! ;-) )



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