word Avatar is used so much that it has
a blurred meaning. In the case of this
article, the word avatar means an online
representation of yourself, which is anything
from a picture to a moving and dynamic
character with pre-programmed responses.
Here are a few positive and negative points
- The potential positive side of avatars
They are a nice little branding tool.
You can promote your skills through your
avatar. You can use your avatar to represent
yourself physically, having it look like
you, or you can have it as a loveable
character. Being able to create your avatar
to match your target audience is a great
benefit. You can have a fluffy bunny avatar
if you write about kids stuff or Hugh
Heffner, and you can just have a black
screen if you write about Goth topics.
You can have it look like you and represent
your profession, such as having it with
a chef’s hat. If you spend most of your
time reviewing things then your avatar
could have a judge’s wig on it.
An avatar has an attractive appeal. The
appeal may be nothing more than a novelty,
but it is an appeal none the less.
- The potential negative side of avatars.
seems pretty useless
Not to downplay the efforts of people
or the work people put into building an
online presence, but one must ask if the
Internet is a useful arena for avatars.
People do not trust the things they read
and see online (if they are smart) and
people do not pay any form of special
attention to the things they see online
anyway. The Internet is too fast moving
for anybody to take an interest in a certain
person’s avatar. One avatar may be at
the top of the Google results at 8am,
and have disappeared from the first five
pages by 1pm. Plus the fact that people
do not often do repeated searches for
the same keywords means that there is
little chance a person will be exposed
to an avatar enough times to recall it,
in the same way they may be exposed to
a brand multiple times.
People have trouble trusting an Avatar
because why should they? You could place
an avatar with your own face and own name,
but how does the reader know that you
are not a Pakistani con-man, working out
of Afghanistan? A professor’s profile
can be made by a child and a young girl’s
profile could in fact be a 70 year old
Like most online fads the Avatar system
has not yet found a permanent role on
the Internet, which may mean it is doomed
to disappear. If avatars are adopted by
a business on a large scale then it may
find a permanent place online. If there
was a system created where avatars are
needed to communicate securely and in
secret, then they may find a permanent
role. Otherwise, the avatar may simply
be a novelty that some people enjoy.