As regular readers may have noticed, I’ve been tweaking the look of the blog lately. When I first started it I didn’t have a picture of my face at the website. Now I’m experimenting with a few ideas.
The current image at the top of the page might not be everybody’s idea of what they should see at a somewhat academic blog (and this may or may not make any sense to you depending on when you’re reading this, given that I may have changed things by then): Flames, guns – a few people have even said that I’m promoting violence. The same goes for the podcast with it’s heavy metal introduction, or the very phrase “say hello to my little friend” and its association with guns, or for that matter, the name of the website even before there was a blog: Beretta (for those who don’t know, the saying “Say Hello to my Little Friend” comes from the classic 1983 Gangster Movie Scarface, starring Al Pacino). The general idea is that I find the image to be fun, and in a way it depicts the way I like to ruthlessly “whack” bad ideas (and hopefully promote a few good ones along the way).
The latest renovations got me wondering a little more what blog readers make of a blog’s image. What sort of influence does it have over how much you like a blog? Does it ever seriously put you off? Do you like it / hate it? (No, I won’t be changing it for you.) Do you think a blog’s image (in particular, this blog’s image, as well as the podcast) can change whether or not you think of the blog as having an academic tone? If you were the head of an academic department, would you look at something like this and think… “Hmmmm, maybe I should ask Glenn to tone things down”?
I’m curious about your thoughts. To give an air of academic respectability to this inquiry, I could say that I’m doing a short study on the noncognitive factors that influence online research preferences.