At some point, five years ago or so, some application or other asked me to supply an avatar, and the nearest image belonging to me was the scan of this napkin-drawing:
So I cropped it a bit and stuck the image in there, and the image sort of hitchhiked around until it became my image in the Google-Yahoo industrial complex, like this --
If you know me online at all, you've probably seen it beside my comments and so forth. So after five years of this, it suddenly occurred to me that this more or less randomly snipped thing has become part of my "brand," and that I should think about whether it actually presents me as I want to be presented. (I love, by the way, the fact that we use the word "brand" about human beings, since human beings have indeed been branded, throughout history, with hot iron. If they're slaves. Now we cheerfully do it to ourselves, happy to be our own slavemasters and peddle ourselves in the market.)
The hitch is that I have no idea how it lands for people. I took a certain pleasure in the fact that it was a) homemade, b) had moon, stars, hills and water in it, and c) hinted at something possibly, in an off-center way, erotic. As a Buddhist (not to mention as someone tending to morbid self-consciousness) I always have an uneasy relationship with this sort of self-reification, so having once come up with something, I just kept it.
But now it occurs to me that I should do a customer survey of the consumers of my brand. What do you think of it? Does it represent me? Should I substitute something else? Have you always hated it and been too polite to say so? Now's the time to be rude.