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Icons and individuality

I was thinking of doing that meme that's been going around, where you ask people on your f-list to post pictures of people to represent their mental image of you, but then I thought that since something like 70% of the icons I use on a regular basis (including my default) are of Chloe Sullivan, that's probably the mental picture most people have of me.

And then I saw this interesting post linked on metafandom, in which the poster talks about getting confused when different people on her f-list used the same icons, and it reminded me that I wanted to do a poll on people's different icon philosophies, because I am curious.

Poll #816425 icon poll

Do you tend to associate people from your friends' list with their icons?


How important is it to you that your icons are unique?

Very important
I prefer it most of the time
Not that important
I don't really care

If someone else started using an icon that is the same as (or very similar to) your default icon, would you

ask them not to use it
change your default icon
personalize your icon in some way
do nothing, but grumble about it
not really care

I've had some conversations in the past with various folks, especially bop_radar, about how I never used to really see icons. That was largely due to the fact that I still have dial-up at home, and my desktop computer has a very slow processor, so I often read lj with the graphics turned off, for better speed. But even when I did have the graphics turned on, I was still rather text-centered rather than picture-centered. I would occasionally notice really cool icons, but mostly I didn't notice icons at all, and I remember being very confused about how many interesting discussions would get sidetracked by the discussion of someone's icon.

When I delurked, I wanted an icon that was not particular fannish, that I could use for any type of post and that people would automatically associate with me. The icon I chose was based on this painting by Corot, which is one of my favorites:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

For some reason, when I was first making icons and really didn't understand how file size worked , I thought that the image was too big for livejournal specs, so I made it grayscale. (I now think this icon is hideously depressing, but at the time I was very proud of figuring out how to make an icon all by myself).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It wasn't until sometime last year that I decided to switch over to a more fannish default icon. I can't remember when I chose Chloe as my avatar, precisely, but I assume it was around last February or so, when I finally broke down and got a paid account and got more interested in icons because I was learning how to make them.

In all those years of lurking and having only one icon, I somehow never learned there were icon communities on lj, but I think I wouldn't have used them anyway, because it has always been more important to me that my icons are unique than that they be really beautiful. (I have about 80 icons now, and I think 5 of them were made by other people, and a couple of those are gifts). Maybe that's because I'm not as visually attuned as other folks, so for me the "branding" function of icons is more important than "ooh, pretty"?

I do notice the pretty a lot more, now that I'm making them for myself, and I'm more likely these days to check out icon journals and look at other people's icon sets, because I have a lot more appreciation for beautiful icons now that I'm making icons myself. For the most part I just go to look and admire, however. I still prefer a mediocre icon that I made myself, that is unique in some way, to a really gorgeous one made by someone else that might be used by another person. And I'm likely to stop using icons I make myself if I realize that the image source is a populare for other people's icons. I had this as a default icon for a while:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Even though this picture of Allison Mack is definitely my favorite, I stopped using this icon because so many other people use this picture as an icon base. I started worrying that I was inadvertantly stealing someone's favorite icon, since I had no way of knowing who used the picture as a base first--and even if I was the first to use it, I want my icons to be immediately recognizable as mine. They may not be quite as pretty as other people's, but they're mine!

But enough about me. What's your icon philosophy?



( 84 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 8th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC)
I would totally FREAK if someone started using my various default icons as they are all pretty much either made for me or so rare that they probably stole it from me. If they refused to stop using it I would both BITCH mightly AND change my icon.

I also get totally side-lined when somone uses an icon that I associate with another LJ user. I'm easily confused :-) I have seen one person using a Chloe icon that you also often use, and I was pretty miffed when I realised it wasn't you posting!
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, all of your icons are pretty distinctive, so it would be pretty weird (I think) if someone else tried using them. Though I guess some folks just think that all images online are theirs for the taking--I remember being absolutely horrified when I saw some random person using lj user="bexless">'s dancing spiderman, since that's one of the first icons I (with my early blindness to icons) strongly associated with someone, and I couldn't believe any one else would take it.

I have a lot of Chloe icons, so it's inevitable that the bases will overlap with other Chloe fans. The only one I *really* care about is the default icon, though.
Sep. 8th, 2006 10:39 am (UTC)
i love and adore userpics. my main lj has over 100 of them (faces). when bases or icons are offered up for use with credit, i take the ones i like best, but if they're used by lots of people, i tend not to use them much.

on the whole, they're photos i've seen and resized/cropped myself, without lettering. that's the way i'm most comfortable, with just a face. since a lot of them are tom welling or michael rosenbaum (right now -- for a while, my daisy lj was all about marilyn manson!), i don't expect to be unique. they're just the photos that appeal to me most.

if someone ripped off a custom-made icon that belonged to me, i'd be annoyed (not that i have one), or one with my own username on it. but otherwise, lj's a big place, and duplication happens, i think. still, i do come to associate lj people with a frequently-used icon, like your laughing AM.
Sep. 8th, 2006 10:44 am (UTC)
oops, you said you have dial-up at home, and here i am giving a link to a page of graphics! my apologies. that was inconsiderate of me.
(no subject) - norwich36 - Sep. 8th, 2006 02:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Sep. 8th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 8th, 2006 11:01 am (UTC)
I'm pretty much addicted to snagging pretty icons *g*

If they're really widely used on my flist, I generally wait until the craze has died down, before posting with it. But really only a few of my icons are unique, the ones people have made for me, and I really love them the most. But I'm not going to limit myself to 6 personalised icons or so, when I have space for 132 :P

Oh and my default icon is snaggable to everyone, so I clicked on I wouldn't really care. But I would probably politely let someone know if they used one of the icons made for me.
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know who that is smooching in that icon, but I like it! And I'm a little jealous that you have 132 icon spaces--I only have 104.
(no subject) - frelling_tralk - Sep. 8th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Sep. 8th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 8th, 2006 11:24 am (UTC)
I would feel extremely weirded out if someone else used my default, simply because I can't imagine why anyone else would want anagrams of "hyperfocused" for themselves. If someone had anagrams of their own name with fannish pictures? I'd still be kind of miffed, but mostly consider it flattery.

I enjoy having icons that you don't see all over the place, more than those you do. Still, I don't have enough of them (less than 40, I think).

I've had one incident of an icon made for me being used by someone else without permission (sort of. They asked, but I had not gotten around to answering yet when they started using it.) I'm a little bit uneasy when I come across it on their posts. Truthfully, I would probably have said no, but am too likely not to want to seem mean spirited.

I feel your dialup pain, by the way. My other icon problem is that my vision is kind of crappy, so much of the time I'm not getting the full impact because I can't decipher them.
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, your default is so connected to your username I can't imagine anyone taking it.

I guess it's nice that that person asked your permission about using the icon, but obviously the assumption was that you'd say yes, which is just not cool! But I guess there are so many shareable icon communities that the assumption must be that everyone is going to say yes?

I think some icons, especially with tiny text, are not meant to be decipherable. When icons have text, I prefer that it is readable, but I think for a lot of icon-makers it's really just there for decoration.
Sep. 8th, 2006 11:45 am (UTC)
For me icons are utterly unique and function more as avatars than pretty pictures. I was actually *sad* when they upped the icons (b/c I kind of liked having to pick and choose and being able to keep track of other people's icons)

I don't share, which is why I rarely ever get cool or pretty or fun icons, b/c very few icon makers don't have the everyone can take everything policy and I'm not a great writer or whatever that people often make icons for me. But I just can't see "my" icons on other people's posts. Just like I don't get people changing their name easily.

i've had the same default for over 3 years now and the same name, and I'd hate to give up either...
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
I was actually *sad* when they upped the icons (b/c I kind of liked having to pick and choose and being able to keep track of other people's icons). Oh, yeah, I remember having that response, too, because suddenly I had to always check people's names on their posts, because I was no longer familiar with all their icons.

Your icon is one of the ones I have strongest associations with, because you've used it so long, and I would definitely be weirded out if someone else started using it!
Sep. 8th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
I also think part of it depends on how unique the icon is, who had the icon first, and how long they've been using it. Someone above uses bexless's dancing Spiderman icon as a good example. Also, I can't imagine who would be crass enough to use thamiris's default icon, even though it's not personalized with text. It's just *her* and no one else to me.

I like my current default, and yeah, I'd be ticked if someone started using it, but what can you do?
Sep. 8th, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
Declare war? I guess that would be a little over-the-top. But clearly a lot of us really don't want other people using an image we consider ours.

I agree about thamiris' default icon. She's another person whose icon is so totally her that it's hard to imagine anyone else using it.
Sep. 8th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
I answered in the poll that I'd personalize my icon. However, it really would depend on the overlap of our posts. If it was someone highly involved in Smallville or HP, I might change my default icon to avoid confusion.

My default icon is fairly unique though, so hopefully I'll never have that problem.
Sep. 8th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, yours is very unique--it's the only default icon I can think of that's neither a person's face nor a nature scene. I love the colors in it, too. Hopefully no one will ever steal it!
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 8th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, you have very distinctive icons, though it's hard to know what other people will like and assume they can take. Having your name on them should help, I would think.
Sep. 8th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
Huh. Before I read your poll, I thought that I didn't care at all about people having the same icons -- not that I'd ever take one of somebody else's without permission, because that's just rude. But thinking about it, I realize that the vast majority of icons I've ever used as my default have been ones that I made myself, despite how crappy they are. So apparently it is kind of important, and if somebody else started using Mrs. Lovett rejoicing about pie, I'd undoubtedly switch my default back to one of my older ones.
Sep. 8th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
Nobody better steal Yay!Pie, or we'll have to go all Sweeny Todd on them! (Though until you said this I didn't realize who that was in your icon. Omigod, I had no idea exactly how hilarious that icon was! Hee hee hee! All these levels of nuance I have been missing!!)
Sep. 8th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
I prefer text icons and pretty nature icons for some reason. Even though I'm a huge fan of certain shows, I've never really used TV show/actor icons. I feel like my icons whatever they say represent me and if I saw someone else using them, yeah, I think that I might change mine.
Sep. 8th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
And I love that about your icons, how unique they are. I myself like using pretty people occasionally, but if I ever switched fandoms I'd suddenly have something like 50 icons I wouldn't be using again, whereas your text icons are much more versatile. (I particularly like the one you used here).
Sep. 9th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
Wow! I love this poll! You know how I love icons and icon meta. ;-)

Largely I agree with frelling_tralk the most. I trawl continually for the pretty and the unique in icons. I use icons from some of the Big Name Iconists, and I also use ones by people others have probably never heard of. Every icon is special for its own reason. I don't mind using the same icon as someone else, but I do find that over time they tend to 'settle' in such a way that I either associate them so strongly with someone else I drop them, or they become poart of 'my' collection, with others not using them so much. It all seems to evolve pretty naturally.

A personalised icon makes me happier than any other--and my default one is still my favourite--god, I miss duskwillow SO MUCH. :-(

But I do change my default on occasion, when the mood suits. If someone used the same one, I probably would just swap back to my personalised one. I have hundreds--I ain't got no problem with swapping to something else!

And I really like the way peoples icons reflect them, even when it's a matter of which icons they choose. I love Kate's--they're so her. Ditto Becky's and Estrella's. And I think theirs come from all over.

I'm so shallow and lazy! I admire people like you and radioreverie who make all your own icons.
Sep. 9th, 2006 04:13 am (UTC)
You know, I have absolutely no idea what your default icon is, these days. (Runs to check). Hmm. I wouldn't have guessed it was Lex, for some reason. The icons I most strongly associate with you are a couple of your Lois ones (especially "duh," which I really like), the goofy dancing Clark one, the Starbuck "Eek" one, the Lee Adama "smrt is sexy," and your various book/reading icons.

You rotate your icons a lot, though--I think more than most of the folks on my f-list who aren't icon makers themselves. (I know this because whenever I get the urge to make icons I go and look at your icon page to see what you have these days. Because I don't inflict my icons on just anybody!) In fact, when I just went to check and see what your default icon was, you had several ones I hadn't seen before.

I don't think you're lazy for not making your own icons. (I do think you're missing out--icon making can be very addictive, even if you're not good at it. I started making icons of the new promo shots after I got off work at four, and I looked up and four hours had passed while I was playing with color and cropping variations. I find it very relaxing and zen-like, most of the time. I've made dozens of icons that won't ever see the light of day, but that were fun experiments for me.)
(no subject) - bop_radar - Sep. 9th, 2006 05:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
(here via metafandom

To tell the truth, if someone used something similar to my default icon, I think my brain would probably explode. It used to be just a regular baby Ewok, which wouldn't have had quite the same effect if someone matched it. But then my roommate decided I needed something that more fully expressed my personality. One of my friends declared the default I've been using ever since "Your YOU icon." :p The honestly can't get my brain around the thought of anyone else WANTING a rainbow Wokling as their default icon. :p

(And yes, I've had this icon long enough that it's very much how most of my flist pictures me... :p)
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC)
It is interesting, isn't it, how we think of people on our flist as their default icons? Well, at least folks who don't change their defaults very often.

Your rainbow Ewok is very cute!
(no subject) - yubsie - Sep. 10th, 2006 01:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
The reason I'd grumble if someone used something similar to my default icon is not OMGICONTHEFT, or anything like that, but because... my default icon is of my handwriting (and my fic, though I blurred the image) crumpled up. With my pseud (which as far as I'm concerned is my *name*) on it. It would just be *weird* if someone had something similar.

But... I know I'm associated with that icon. At WriterCon this past summer, I had three separate people not know who I was (even with name badge) until I picked up the badge that had my default icon on it. They recognized me immediately, then.
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
Yes, with yours if someone took it they would clearly be stealing your name, too, which would definitely be uncool. And weird.

Is it common for cons to use icons as namebadges these days? That's a terrific idea!
(no subject) - mireille719 - Sep. 9th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, I understand that, actually, because I love it when people use icons I have made. It's pretty cool when someone likes your art enough to use it, and that is a lovely K/S icon. The look on Jim's face is priceless!

Star Trek was my first fandom, though I don't currently have any icons associated with it. (Is there a good site for screencaps you would recommend?)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - norwich36 - Sep. 10th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
(Hi! Here from metafandom.)

I've never used an icon I didn't make. Which means that at times I've used - less attractive icons (I went through a brief but shameful gratuitously-animated icon phase), but they've always been mine. And somewhere along the way I picked up a hand theme, and then made a conscious decision to keep it - I figure it makes it a little easier to recognize my posts (especially as I have only six icons), but I've internalized 'hand icon = me' so much that I've jumped a few times seeing other people using similar pictures.

Actually, at one point I was on a board where another member registered with an icon made from the same image as my default (this) icon, and though it was clear to me that they hadn't taken the image from me (it included a part of the photo that I'd cropped off) a handful of other members were so offended on my behalf that they got him to change it. I don't think I would've asked him to myself, though I did find it slightly offensive/tacky (I'd been on the board for years and had always used that image).

I've also always tagged a corner of them, just - because it seemed like the thing to do. (Also I've found when other people have their livejournal name on their icon I associate the two a lot faster, though I'm not sure mine is easily readable enough that that would happen.)

I find all this icon talk really interesting. I'm glad there are other people that get disconcerted when they associate an icon with one particular person, then see someone else using it. Also I have much love for your Chloe icons - I used to have a hand-themed Chloe icon. I might make one of those again. *grin*
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Using my Chloe toasting icon because of the hands theme, but also because I just went and looked at your user icons, and WOW. I love the one you used for this post, but they're all gorgeous, especially "Crashoverride" and "Handcuffsky." I love themed icons, too, obviously--that's why I have so many Chloe ones.

I think that story about the guy using a similar image as yours is a great example of how we do strongly associate people with their icons, since the other users were more upset than you. (I know I've definitely gotten upset on behalf of friends in similar situations).
Sep. 9th, 2006 05:30 pm (UTC)
My poll questions don't entirely fit together. I said that I don't care if my icons are unique *and* that I'd ask someone not to use an icon if it duplicated my default icon. That's because my default icon is a picture of my daughter. I'd find it a bit creepy if someone else used her image.
Sep. 9th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
Wow, yes, I can definitely understand why you'd find that creepy! (Though I guess someone who doesn't know you might just think, oh what a cute little girl, and not think anything of taking it). I actually had the idea of making an icon set of little girl faces a while ago, but when I started googling images and realizing how hard it was to tell which pics were just people's family pictures they had posted online and which weren't, I decided not to do it for precisely that reason. Now I only use pics of kids that are clearly professional photshoots (like this one in my icon), so at least I know the parents had some idea that their kids' images were going to be out there for everyone to see.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 9th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
I can be an attention whore, especially when it comes to fandom, but I try to be a higher-class attention escort instead of the kind you might find on the corner of fandom_wank and Main Street. :)

Hee hee! That's a great line.

Yeah, I definitely use icons to express moods and shipping preferences too--especially now that I bought the extra icons. I think I did that somewhat less when I was limited to six. And thinking about it, I think I was a lot more concerned about having unique icons when I had fewer of them--now I only want the ones I use most frequently to be unique.
Sep. 9th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
I would get extremely upset if someone decided to use my default, because for a year-plus, I've used a picture of myself in some way, shape, or form. I've made them all, too. It also upsets me when someone ganks a userpic from me that uses an inside joke, because ... the stealer probably doesn't get it, so what's the point of stealing an inside joke you don't get?

Most of my icons I've made are my style, so it's pretty easy for my friends to pick me out when I'm using another icon that's my default, and they're usually related to the Caribbean, pirates, filmmaking, or... Pirates of the Caribbean.

Sep. 9th, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, if your default is a real picture of yourself, I can see that you wouldn't want anyone else using it!
Sep. 9th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
I love icons - be it making them or sharing them or giving them to other people. I think that people can have a different take on the same base picture and make it unique even if every one else under the sun is using that same base - it's all about perception. I've made over 100 icons (lol, not that I'm counting or anything.... really...ahem) and I know others have used the same base as me, but I don't generally see ones that look just like one I've made.

There are ones I've made for people, ones I've made for anyone to use, and ones that are just mine. While I'd freak if someone took one of my personal icons and started using it, it wouldn't bother me if they had something similar. Like the icon I'm using now? Every one and their brother has used that picture (it's a great picture), but they are all different in some way - be it where you cut the picture, an added effect, a phrase or word used, etc.

I think I've rambled on enough now *g*
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, I agree with you about individualizing a certain base--because there are only so many pictures out there, different cropping, or a different design, can make an icon look different. (Like this icon I'm using from the new promo pics that came out yesterday--I'm sure there are lots being made from that same base, and that doesn't bother me.)

I think it's my default icon that I definitely want to be unique. And if lots of people are using an icon that is similar to another icon I commonly use, I might retire it from rotation for a while, or only use it occasionally.
(no subject) - arianstarr - Sep. 9th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norwich36 - Sep. 10th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC)

Well, I make all my icons (unless on the rare occassion I see something really funny and great that I MUST use), and have an icon journal. So it doesn't bother me if people use my icons, because most of the ones I use for my LJ are in my icon journal anyway.

As for defaults - I change my default icon to match my current layout, which I change about once a month or so.

I think my current default is the only icon I have where I'd be really pissed if someone took it, because it's a part of a piece of artwork that I made, and is very personal to me.
Sep. 10th, 2006 07:51 am (UTC)
Is that your default icon? It's lovely.

It's interesting to hear about the different ways people use icons. I've changed my journal colors before to match a new default icon, but I haven't done the reverse.
Sep. 9th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
I think there are two schools of icon thought: your icon represents you as a person or your icon represents your mood.

I'm one of the latter, and I'm completely non-possessive about icons. They represent my mood or are a part of the dialogue that happens in the course of leaving a comment, so I don't feel protective of them in the least.

I also--and this is bad, I know--tend to associate the quality of one's icons with the quality of their posts. This probably developed because users who have been around LJ longer typically have both prettier icons and more well-written posts. Or at least it seems that way at times.

However, I'm not really icon focused. There are very few friends whose icons I'd recognize in a line-up, so I really much more heavily on actual usernames.
Sep. 10th, 2006 07:54 am (UTC)
Re: Icons
I think it is probably inevitable that people make judgments about other people based on their icons, especially people they don't know, since they have so little other information to work with. It still makes me cringe a little to think about, though, since I know I have used some bad icons in my day, when I was first learning how to make them.
Sep. 9th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Here via metafandom, yay!

I think I'm a little different from most people concerning default icons--I don't choose it because it matches me, I choose it because it matches my layout (colourwise, at least). I also have a tendency to get utterly sick of my default, so I change it far more often, and usually to something that was made by someone else. If I make an icon, I want to keep it around a long time, not get sick of it, so I rarely use one of my own as a default.

I also tend to use my other icons for commenting, posting, etc. Most people probably don't know what my default is unless they get involved in a really long comment thread where I'm tired of choosing keywords. I used to have a lot, but I'm really not liking where my icon making skills have taken me lately, so I went and deleted all but 26 of them and am now slowly adding new things. It's probably hard for newer people to recognise me by my icons, but my friends recognise me by the first 11 or so, and a few of the later ones 'cause I redid them (same icon, different border, etc.).

I love how I'm totally writing a novel here, but anyway.

I have a few not-made-by-me icons, but I prefer to use my own. I tend to use stockish icons made by other people; most of the people pictures I run around with are of Japanese musicians and while there's a fanbase out there, I don't like what the fanbase does to the icons. :oP I would probably be cranky if someone took something I've made, especially... oh, this one or this one, especially since they're both in-jokes and the latter was drawn for me... and now that I think about it, this one too, because for some reason it is very near and dear to my heart. If someone asked to use one, I wouldn't be bothered so much, but it does give me a jolt if I see my icon around being used and I'm not sure I like it. But keeping an icon, especially a base-style icon, all to myself seems pretty silly so I say yes no matter what, and thankfully it doesn't happen that often. So... yeah. I think uniqueness does matter quite a bit, just not with my default.
Sep. 10th, 2006 08:01 am (UTC)
I really love that "Satan" one.

A couple of other people have also commented that they change their icon to match their layout, which I confess is something that wouldn't have occurred to me to do, but I'm clearly more on the "icon as avatar" than "icon as art" end of the spectrum. I was interested by what you said about getting sick of icons, though, because I get sick of mine, too, sometimes, but I'd rather get bored with ones I've made and replace them, because most of the ones I have that other people made were gifts, so I don't want to get bored with those. :D
(no subject) - amaltheia - Sep. 10th, 2006 08:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Another here from metafandom (in a way...links sure get around on this old internet thing).

I make all of my own icons. I always used to feel weird about using ones other people had made (I was worried I'd screw up the crediting thing), and now it just makes more sense to me to make something me-ish to use. I save a heck of a lot of icons, but just so that I can sneak looks at the pretty every so often.

Most of my userpics I've shared or (now, since I've just changed most of them) plan to share. I don't think I'd feel too weirded out seeing anyone else using my Led Zeppelin icons, the stock one I've got, my John Lennon-ish one or the one from "The Wall." I like them but they aren't particularily important to me. The one I'm posting with (my default now) is a bit of a different story, since it's the only one I've used for making actual posts for quite a while now. When I'm scroll my friendslist and see my particular Syd Barrett icon I automatically think "okay, I posted there so I've seen everything earlier than this." If someone else was using it (which I doubt, even though I shared it, since - come on, how many people know who Syd Barrett even was?) I'd probably think "I don't remember posting that! What's going on?"

That said, I don't think I'd ask that person to stop using it. I always think its a bit futile to get possesive over fandom based 100x100 pictures on the internet. If it was, say, a picture of myself, that'd be a different story.

Gosh, that was longer than I intended, sorry!
Sep. 10th, 2006 08:06 am (UTC)
I agree that it's pretty futile to get possessive (especially since usually these are pictures that somebody else took--if anyone has the right to be possessive it's the photographer!)--but clearly from the responses above a lot of folks do feel miffed if someone else starts using the same icon.

Oh, and I know what you mean about using your default to see if you've already posted somewhere, or commented on something. I do that all the time, and I'd get very confused if someone else started using this particular Allison Mack picture for that very reason!
Sep. 9th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
Here via metafandom. I have a fairly laid-back view of icons. While I do associate a few people with their default icons, especially if I see them around a lot, it's not always the default icon that I associate the person with. I did one of those friend's list icon memes and I was surprised by how many default icons of my friends I didn't recognize.

As far as the icons I use go, I am like ivorytowers in that I use them based on the mood or subject of the comment/post, and rarely use my default icon. Instead, I often choose my default icon based on the layout I want to use, or something similar.

For the most part, I could care less if someone uses an icon that I am using. The ones that I made were all offered up for public consumption at one point or another, and the ones that others made (because I am perfectly willing to snag icons made by others if they are pretty/fit a mood/etc.) are all pretty much from public, shareable posts. The only two icons I would be loathe to share are my current default and another one that were made specifically for me for my birthday. Even then, if someone else used them or a similar icon, I wouldn't be too upset. They're just 100x100 pictures, after all. :)
Sep. 10th, 2006 08:29 am (UTC)
Do you rotate all of your icons a lot, or just your default? I'm wondering if part of the difference has to do with how attached you (the general you, that is) feel to particular icons, vs. how much you prefer variety and change. And it seems like a lot of the folks commenting who feel a strong sense of attachment to their icons are those who've had the same default for a long time, while the folks who don't care tend to change their icons pretty frequently anyway.
(no subject) - meredith44 - Sep. 10th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 10th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Here from metafandom.

My default icon (this one) and my icon for Hellsing fandom were both made by me, and I personalized both of them. Somebody took the latter and modified it; I sent s/him a note, and s/he changed it. (People were giving this person comments on how cool the icon was, which ticked me off because I'd spent so much time about it. But it vanished after I sent the note. If it hadn't, I would have dropped the politeness.)

Nobody's taken the default - wouldn't be much point, as it's so specific. I wouldn't mind if people used the idea to make themselves personal icons, though.

I have one icon that I've seen lots of variations of. I found the original picture and cropped it to make this icon, as opposed to taking one of the others, and I've seen one instance where someone just took my variation. But I didn't think that was worth complaining about because it isn't like I put a lot of effort into it.

I don't make a lot of icons, but I tend to prefer using the ones I've made when posting in communities (as opposed to my GJ, on which you get a thousand userpics and I just use whatever I feel like), because I'd like to be recognized. And, yes, I tend to recognize people by their icons. (It also helps me to specify custom colors on my friends page. Two of my friends right now have a similar color set, and it keeps throwing me.)
Sep. 10th, 2006 08:34 am (UTC)
I've often wondered why livejournal can't offer us all 1000 userpics! Heck, I'd put up with ads for that.

I really, really don't understand people who steal icons. But that's partly because I do think of them as avatars, and I guess not everyone has the same opinion.
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