Joe Wirtley (a CodeMash attendee) blogged an appeal for folks to include a photo of themselves on their blogs. I think it's a great idea - this weird bloggy world of electronic chatter is the most useful when we keep it linked to the world of flesh-and-blood. It's a shame to think that I've probably walked right past people at conferences whose writings I knew well.
I'm thinking of taking the appeal a step further. I love being able to recognize people and call them by name. Unfortunately, I'm a nerd, and I'm not very good at it. I struggle to find techniques to empower my socially deficient brain. Often, after I get someone's business card, I rush away to jot notes on the back - notes about what they're involved in and what we talked about, but also notes on their appearance. This is a desperate attempt to enable myself to recognize them the next time we meet, probably months or years in the future. The trouble is, a few phrases like "tall; curly hair" or "beard, glasses" really aren't enough.
I fantasized today about buying a cameraphone, snapping a photo of each person I meet, then finding a tag-based filing tool so that I could store the photos with the people's names and keywords about where I'm likely to see them again. Then, before arriving at an event, I could review the photos of people I'd be likely to see there; when I arrived, I'd call out to them by name and feel so cool.
Now, just imagine if somebody gave me a business card with their picture on it. Wow! I'd be so grateful! It would short-circuit this entire dilemma!
It's almost time for me to get new cards printed, and I could lead this incredibly useful trend by putting my own photo on them. Except... I'm nervous that it will come across funny, like I'm a wannabe model or something. Traditionally, geeks are supposed to imagine themselves as not really even having faces, as just being disembodied intelligences free-floating in the ether. The thing is, that's really not a useful myth. Talking to each other - face-to-face when we can - has very real value.
Maybe I should go ahead and do it anyway, and not worry about what people think. Maybe just being "the weirdo who puts her picture on her business cards" isn't so bad - for networking purposes, being weird isn't as bad as being forgotten. It's not "goofiness", it's "branding", right?
Hmm. Opinions? Would anybody join me on this?