globalful

what we am are

Being your own stock library

I have a tendency to fill presentation materials with pictures of myself. This is because I’m a hopelessly deluded narcissist. It’s also because its free, readily available and in high resolution. There might even be something relevant to the point I’m making, although I can always change the point I’m making if the photo is better than the point I’m making. I’m joking.

It’s not only pictures of myself, of course. Over a number of years I’ve built up enough photos of post-it notes taken at 45 degrees with a depth of field the width of a Sharpie to fill Slideshare. I’ve also got a folders overflowing with close-ups of whiteboard erasers, sketches of mobile sites that will never get built and abstract blocks of colour that I think will represent a particular mood when I’m stood in front of it telling some inane story about a workshop where a client lost a shoe or something.

And naturally, I’ve got a whole arsenal of photos where people I work with have been subjected to embarrassing manipulations and positioning to get the perfect shot that represents someone thinking about something really hard while half-looking at a screen but being really attentive to a random interloper who is being shown something really very interesting on that screen and very possibly pointing at it.

And handshakes. And headsets. And URLs spiralling around a globe.

Maybe I don’t have those last ones. But suffice to say, I’ve got a supply of stuff that I can use, rather than hunting down and trawling through stock sites for hours until you really do want to poke your eyes out with a kitten in a bucket. And if I don’t have what I want, I can often just go ahead and create something specifically for the thing I’m working on. This doesn’t always work if the thing I’m working on is something about, say, camels, but it’s great when I need something which represents ‘someone looking like an arse’.

In the end, it’s a personal preference, and a convenient, cheap way to add something of interest to something which is probably quite uninteresting. It’s not for everyone, but then, neither am I.

You’re more than welcome you use anything I have to add to your own stuff. There a load of stuff all creative commons licensed and available on flickr.

that’s not you, you’re an imposter

so I finally meet the team after about 6 months and nobody recognizes me. there I am wondering around BRM looking all english and trying to put faces to polycoms and I’m just looking like a freak in a tube station after I’ve been kicked out of Ruby’s. you, you’re, um, you must be, well, you look a bit like Liz, but she’s in Burlington. so. no. hang on, you’re, no, I know this, you’re…Bob! Hey Bob! you look just like you do on the video conference. no, that’s a compliment, really. Bob?

hoisted by my own petard. our internal org system means you can look up anyone in the company and get all the details you want, including all the hidden fields they’d forgotten they’d filled in in 1998, which say things like ‘clammy’ and ‘executive’. it also lets you see where people are working, which office they’re in, how you get there, what they’re doing, what they’re having for lunch in Guillemonts and stuff like that. it also has the option to integrate some optional detail, such as your calendar appointments and a picture of yourself. so, calendar, that’s genius, right? I mean, we’re all over the place, literally, so coordinating the time in 2 weeks when everybody you need to be on the phone at the same time to discuss how you’re going to allow someone in france to author a whitepaper that someone in germany can subscribe to without exposing the whole content branch and then arguing for hours about what global content is anyway is difficult, so you look up everyone’s calendars and see for yourself that the only time everyone is free is 22:00 your time when you’d planned to go and see Sin City and get lagered up afterwards because its thursday and you never do any real work on friday anyway.

so that’s good. what’s more revealing, however, is the choice of picture that folks use to let people determine exactly what they are like. mostly people don’t do it at all, which is fine, because a lot of people don’t have the slightest interest in investing the time to find out how you do it, or more pointedly reserve the right to not not let you know what they look like as that’s an infringement of their civil liberty, which is also fine, except that appears to be predominantly the U.S. go to Korea of Singapore and they can’t wait to stick in their pictures of them grinning into a Canon that the manager has taken round the office that morning. those that do upload themselves will generally do the ‘a bit too close and not very well lit in the office but that will do I suppose, I mean it looks like me I guess’ thing. others will play that maverick card and lob in a hilarious offcut from google image search that lets people know the kind of person they are without actually letting you know what person they are. you know, a darth vader, a dilbert, a muppet, a full face blowup PVC gimp mask from a BDSM site they just happened to come across when searching for ‘leather cleaner’, honest. those kind of things are ok. I mean those kind of pictures, not those kind of masks. or sites, er, anyway.

there is another category of image that occasionally turns up, but you only know if you already know what the person looks like, so its a kind of elaborate vanity test that sometimes you pass, or sometimes you fail to excuse effectively. this is the category called ‘well, its always me behind the camera, so there’s never any current pictures of me, so I had to use a 10 year old picture, that’s all I had’. and that’s where I found myself, wandering down the corridors at 5000 feet, blanks looks all around, trying to hide the fact that I might just have added a few pounds and lost some hair and maybe gone a bit gray since that photo you saw of me on the org tool that is 10 years old. my new boss didn’t recognize me until the next day and then she said ‘you’re an imposter! that’s not you on the org tool!’. dammit.

so now I’m up to date and look just like I really look, so if anyone looks me up, it’s their fault.

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