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The Pros and Cons of Avatars

 

The 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 about avatars.

Pros - The potential positive side of avatars

Branding
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.

Relevancy
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.

Attractiveness
An avatar has an attractive appeal. The appeal may be nothing more than a novelty, but it is an appeal none the less.

Cons - The potential negative side of avatars.

It seems pretty useless
Not to downplay the efforts of people using Avatars, 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.

Trust
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 man’s creation.

The future
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.

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