the avatar as a representation of “self”

One of my current students uses her dog, Bishop, as her profile image. I love that she does that. It gives me a warm feeling about her. She mentioned in one of our discussions that she chose him because she was concerned about her privacy and security.

She said:

I think it is funny that you mention my use of my Bishop for an image. I had a reason. In a class we had on cyber security, it said to never use a real image of yourself unless you want it broadcasted. We learned how to build an Avatar. I do not like my Avatar because when I made it, the selections did not include large or handicapped people as a choice. Everything was “beautiful people” and personally, I think that is very wrong. I have never gone out there to look further to see if there are other places (I used Yahoo) to see if you can build a real person. So I chose Bishop as he is my familiar.


As soon as i read her post i did a google search and started playing with 2D avatar generators to see what i could come up with. Below are links to the ones i found an played with. The resulting images i have inserted in to this post.

Avatar Generators:

  1. http://www.zwinky.com/
  2. http://www.faceyourmanga.it/faceyourmanga.php?lang=eng
  3. http://unique.rasterboy.com/
  4. http://www.tektek.org/dream/
  5. http://illustmaker.abi-station.com/index_en.shtml
  6. http://www.doppelme.com/
  7. http://en.gravatar.com/
  8. http://www.gamedition.com/31/Avatar_Creator

Articles:

These last 2 are my SecondLife 3D avatars. I lived in my newbie SL skin (left) for almost a year before changing her to a more “realistic” me (right) : ) Not sure why, but i never messed with her looks much till i saw someone walk by that looked just like me, and then i started thinking about it and wanted her to look more like the real me, so i plumped her up and got some “good” hair to look more like mine. Then i didn’t touch her looks again till i had to do a presentation in SL (http://etap687.edublogs.org/secondlife-if-my-avatar-could-talk/) and wanted to represent myself more realistically and less like a newbie. Have not really touched her since… i had a hard time finding appropriate clothes. I think about the online representation of self often. Colleagues and i have talked about, especially in the hyper-sexualized world of secondlife. I note it everytime i log into some place on the social web and see how friends and colleagues choose to represent themselves, or when i am required to upload yet another image to another profile somewhere… I am charmed by those who choose animals or some image that whispers insight into the person. I like that invention and creativity very much. None of the new little avatars i generated “really” look like me. There is a suggestion of me, i suppose. Brown skin, hair, and eyes. long curly hair… i really like the little one with the black skirt and shirt, but i will not be running around the web changing my profile images to any of these anytime soon.

I understand and respect the need for privacy, and for some, not wanting one’s “real” image floating about the net. For some there may be a sense of loss of control. I guess i feel “in charge” of what i put out there.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/mar/13/research.privacy
http://news.research.ohiou.edu/notebook/index.php?item=467
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/technology/internet/13iht-cache13.html

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-social-networks-bring

http://technology.findlaw.com/articles/00006/011161.html
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15221095/
http://internet.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_we_represent_ourselves_on_the_internet

http://savageminds.org/2008/06/16/the-presentation-of-self-in-virtual-life/

http://internet.suite101.com/article.cfm/online_image_is_representation_of_our_real_self


One thought on “the avatar as a representation of “self”

  1. Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up!

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