You can add a profile picture or avatar to just about any form of social interaction online – it can be discussion forums, Twitter, Social networking sites or Skype. In all cases you can set a picture or design to represent yourself, to the people you’re communicating with.
It occurred to me tonight… why can’t you do the same with e-mail?
It would be cool to see a picture of the person who’s emailing me, even if it’s someone I’ve never heard from before. It would be cool to choose a picture or design for myself, to send along with my outgoing e-mails.
I gave it some thought and figured out a possible way this could be implemented very easily. Decide on a standard where a profile picture is sent as a regular e-mail attachment, only with a standardized file name – say propic.jpg.
E-mail client programs like Outlook and webmail services like Gmail or Hotmail could add support for this feature in a future (and very trivial) update. They could display a person’s profile picture wherever or however they like, alongside the e-mail.
The whole thing is not disimilar to how a standardized favicon file is used to represent the tiny logos next to web addresses in your browser.
I’ve not checked to see if anything like this has been proposed before but it seems like a simple idea to me!