Why use an avatar in the first place?


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Why Use an Avatar in the First Place


An avatar is something that is controlled by one person but that takes on the role of another. There are many examples of avatars in movies, literature, and even in religious texts. The variety of avatar discussed here are the ones used online. These range from simple images that are used to mask the true identity of a person, right up to interactive, reactive and dynamic avatars (usually 3D figures) that may have pre-programmed responses, or may be controlled remotely by another person in real time.

Surely, a person only hides behind an avatar for nefarious purposes

Avatars can be used for such purposes, but then so can a Facebook profile or alternate email address. But, avatars do have their place online, especially when trying to build a brand.

People find it harder to trust a concept or a figure, as oppose to one person or even one company. That is why the bigger brands built their customer base with a mascot. Cereals are full of them, such as Captain Crunch and Tony the Tiger. If a person wishes to make himself/herself known online, then it is easier when using an avatar.

For example, the video blogs that are done on the escapist magazine website are easier to tell your friends about because the video bloggers have an assumed identity. It is easier to say, “The Movie Bob review said the movie was worth a watch,” than it is to say, “I saw a review by Robert Chipman, who said it was good.” The first question anyone is going to ask is “Who is Robert Chipman?”

An avatar can make things easier to explain

Web videos that explain things are often dry and hard to watch. They are also lacking a certain interactive feature that restricts their use. An online avatar could disseminate the same information in a more natural and organic way (that is more like how a teacher may give information). People find it easier to trust an avatar because the viewer does not have the usual “who is this guy? What does he know?” reaction.

With an avatar, a person may gain a reputation for just one thing

Let’s say that you are an expert that operates primarily online. You may be an expert in biology and rap music. If you try to sell yourself as an expert in both, then people will naturally assume you are an expert in neither. But, you could set up two different avatars, with two different personalities. One could be an expert in biology and the other in rap music. As each avatar proves its knowledge, it is quickly become perceived as an expert in the field. And, for some reason this reputation will grow even faster if you name the avatar something relevant, such as “The biology professor.”

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