It's not always easy to express your personality on the web. Certainly the way you write can say a lot, but sometimes you want your thoughts to be more than just the words on screen. Fortunately, the software behind allows you to add a personal touch to your posts and your profile on the site.

A Signature is a small chunk of text that can be automatically appended to the end of every message you post. Like those used often in e-mail, it can be merely your favorite signoff as when you end a letter, a little bit of information about you (like your title and company), your favorite saying, or even a link to your website.

To create your Signature, simply log in to the Control Panel and choose Edit Signature from the menu.

You'll notice that when you post a message, you are given the option to include or not include your signature. Generally, if your post is a short one, you probably don't want to include your signature, or else it can overwhelm what you're trying to say. Indeed, for both Signatures and Avatars, we suggest you think of them as bumperstickers on your car rather than a billboard they're accents or accessories, but shouldn't be the most memorable or noticable part of your message.

An Avatar is a small graphic that is displayed alongside your handle (username) on every post, providing an easy way for people to recognize the author of the message as well as a fun way for you to make a small statement about yourself.

The site offers a basic gallery of 72x72 pixel avatars to choose from. However, you can easily make and use your own. We're particularly fond of members who use pictures of themselves, but there's nothing wrong with a flower or a puppy. You can even search the web for "avatars" and find all sorts of icons you could use.

Whether your avatar is taken from the web or made on your own, however, please be aware of copyright concerns try not to use pictures you don't own or that aren't clearly free to use. Especially provocative or obnoxious avatars are frowned upon, of course, and animated images are rarely worthwhile. Viewing a long thread filled with distracting graphics might feel more like a drive down the Las Vegas strip than a stroll through a friendly neighborhood!

To set or change your Avatar, just go to the Control Panel and select Edit Avatar.

Finally, you can include a Profile Picture in your Member Profile here at So, in addition to sharing where you're from or your website address, you can include a slightly larger (100x100 pixel) image. Moreso than your Signature or Avatar, your Member Profile can be seen as your standalone "calling card" of sorts. Here it definitely makes sense to include a picture of yourself, or perhaps your website or company logo.

As with the other personalization features, you can set your Profile Picture in the Control Panel.