I've been thinking about icons lately.
(Well, actually I've been thinking about the kerfuffle about the Russian hamster-skin coats on sale in Scotland and if wearing one would make you want to go round and round on the London Eye and whether Clare Short has finally lost her mind, but I assume we all prefer a diet of relentless trivia here.)
What makes us choose the icons we have? I know that some of it is "oooh lovely" (the icons of oxoniensis, dtissagirl, iamsab and saava spring to mind) or the joy of sarcasm, but something must speak to us about our icons to make us choose them.
They're significant when it comes to the LJ identity too. I love a good icon that sends me into paroxysms of envy and I get very confused when two people whose journals I read regularly have the same or very similar icons.
Sometimes, I think, they're the haiku of LJ -- as much meaning as possible compressed into a tiny little space, showing who we are through team/person/artist, favoured shiny object/person, leisure love (I'm thinking of those pen icons) or snark of choice.
Sometimes I think they're the soccer shirt of LJ, proclaiming allegiance and setting out boundaries. For example, I notice that a lot of slashers use the slashy icons. While this is pretty much a "well, duh" observation, it does work as a way of discouraging the interest of anyone who might happen upon the journal who dislikes slash, while offering a welcome mat to anyone who does like slash to read further.
Some are dependent on intimate knowledge of an episode or fanon. One of the most best icons I've seen like that is this one, used by cofax7 and made by fourteenlines
it depends heavily for its effect on knowing what follows. Anyone who's a fan will instantly say "that's brilliant".
It divides between the we, who have seen the show and love it enough to understand a message from just one episode of a four-year run, and the not-we, who see a bird in goggles in a desert.
Another icon like that that I think is brilliant belongs to kita (who has many wonderful and funny icons). It also depends on knowledge of what happened in one episode and the resonances that have carried through, summed up in that one line
As Dean began his run, I noticed a lot more icons with political content. I think my favourite was this somewhat partisan one of lenadances, made by jood if memory serves
I wonder whether we're going to see more political icons as the run-up to the US election begins. I can't imagine any Brit on LJ could be arsed to make a pro-candidate icon, though I expect I might see some pro-Kerry and pro-Bush icons about the place.
Then again, sometimes they're about us. Often they're about our cats and the comfort of seeing a much-loved picture on the page.
So I'd be interested in hearing, in a meme-ish sort of way:
1. What's your favourite icon at the moment?
I think. Still. It makes me laugh to see Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor in Corrie-style drag. Also, it has a private jokey vibe because it's from the video of I want to Break Free
2. Which of your icons have you had the longest, what is it, and what do you think it is that appeals to you and makes you keep it?
Farscape. John alone in a jail cell, afraid. I like it because it's pretty with all the green and because it sometimes reflects the way I feel. It's a very quiet picture, and they're also the ones that tend to stay in the list
3. What do you look for when you're choosing? The funny? The pretty? The fandom/interest appropriate? The personal?
I like funny and pretty but I get bored with them very quickly. I do not like personal because people do not need to know what I look like and I have no cute pets. The ones that stay tend to be quiet pictures, like lovely broody Tom, or Kirsty
4. Animated icons. Good, okay in small amounts, or bloody annoying?
Good, in small numbers and without much blinking
5. Is posting with the same icon as someone else the equivalent of going to a wedding and wearing the same dress as the bride's sister? Or worse, her brother?
6. Any kind of icons you don't like?
Blinking anime icons, non-worksafe ones. That's just bloody inconsiderate
7. If LJ removed the icon function tomorrow, would it bother you enough to make you migrate elsewhere?
No. But I'd miss it.
8. Pick, say five or so icons, that work for you or made you sit up and take notice (Or if you can't be arsed with all that right-click, img src crap, point to the user who has it and describe)
I like ropo's icons. So pleasingly retro, and different and funny. This is one example
Sort of brilliant but probably the most disturbing icon I've ever seen. By wikdsushi
saava's icons are genius
And this one of JET's cracks me up
* * *
Randomised first 20 MP3s this morning (total play count, according to iTunes)
1. Brighter Than Sunshine - Aqualung (8, a current favourite)
2. Morning Song - Kathryn Williams (1)
3. Walking 2 Hawaii - Tom McRae (3, but just reinstalled it)
4. Fell In Love With A Boy - Joss Stone (6)
5. Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers (5)
6. Overlap - Ani Di Franco (1)
7. Molly's Chambers - Kings of Leon (2)
8. Wild Horses - The Sundays (3)
9. Keep Myself Awake - Black Lab (7)
10. Driftwood - Travis (1)
11. Meeting in the Aisle - Radiohead (25. It's an instrumental I play when working)
12. Metal Mickey - Suede (2)
13. Watching the Detectives - Elvis Costello (2)
14. Wide Open Space - Mansun (1)
15. Heroes - David Bowie (8)
16. A Little Respect - Wheatus (2)
17. Last One Standing - Neil Finn (10)
18. Saint - Texas (1, but I only just reinstalled it)
19. Damn Dog - Manic Street Preachers (2)
20. How to Disappear Completely - Radiohead (8)
The 10 MP3s I play most often
1. I Aint Scared of Lightning - Tom McRae
2. An Ending (Ascent) - Brian Eno
3. Save Me - Remy Zero (shut up)
4. Meeting in the Aisle - Radiohead
5. Blue - Lucinda Williams
6. White Flag - Dido
7. Caught by the River - Doves
8. Strange and Beautiful - Aqualung
9. Teardrop - Massive Attack
10. Everything's Not Lost - Coldplay