I am puzzled, and I’m not being deliberately controversial. Just for a change.

Since I started blogging, close to ten years ago, I’ve used the same header on my cut-price (ie free) Chateau-themed blogposts. My gravatar has remained unchanged too. It’s the guy with his back to you.

The same gravatar also appears pretty much wherever I go. Twitter (though I barely use that now), Facebook (I’m thinking of not using that much any more.) The publishing platforms I’ve used, still use, there’s my gravatar, and on the book covers there’s the guy with his back to the window from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. I adore that painting. Sometimes when I’m at a loose end, I simply look at my WordPress header and ponder and imagine.

There is a reason to my telling you this, a method in my madness as it were. Why do people feel honour bound to change headers and gravatars like other people change their socks and underwear? Facebook group admins are particularly prone to this, and it racks me off. It racks me off with individuals too. When I’m skimming, I often use the gravatar or profile picture to tell me who it is I might be about to read. Then they change it at some random interval, and I don’t know. Do I want to have to dredge through a million Roe vs Wade Handmaidens? No. A zillion Gay Pride flags? No.

A disclaimer. I’m on the side of the angels for both Roe vs Wade and LGBTQ rights. But nothing stands out in all the static when everybody adopts a header or profile picture that’s the same. It’s just a sea of noise.

Then you get the profile pictures where somebody is saying, ‘I’ve had a new haircut!’ So? Very nice, now can we move on? Or a picture of their breakfast. What’s that all about? I really could not care less about a picture of fried eggs and some sausages, largely because so many other profile pictures are identical. I can’t determine whether or not I want to read you.

A word in your ear. Heinz have barely altered the branding, appearance, of their canned goods in over 150 years*. They left the iconic Heinz brandname logo alone too, right the way across the board. They do all right for themselves, don’t they, without endless twiddling? A bit like me, always the guy with his back to the window.

*To be fair there have been some subtle changes on even their baked beans. There’s a really interesting packaging museum in Gloucester where you can track the changes. But the cans are still instantly recognisable right from the starting gun. A marketing genius made that happen.