In the computer world, an avatar represents the graphical ‘alter ego’ of the user and can take all sorts of forms such as 3D images or 2D icon-type form. This is meant to represent the user in front of other users making them distinct from one another. The origins of this word take us back to the Hinduism practice where it represents the descent of a deity (a formless manifestation) in its terrestrial form.
Creating an avatar online has its inception back in 1985 with the release of the ‘Habitat’ game, it was in this game that an on-screen representation of the user was first introduced. In this post we will present you with some interesting facts that you may not know about avatars:
* Did you know that nowadays you can find more male avatars than there are female avatars online? The explanation to this oddity lies in the fact that males have made more use of the World Wide Web since its inception.
* Did you know that although there are more male than female avatars online, women internet users are more likely to use an avatar than men? Yes, it seems women prefer using avatars, many of the websites that aim at the female consumer market have some kind of avatar functionality installed.
* Did you know that many Islamic countries have avatar designs that contain babies in the image? This is because in Muslim and Arab regions there is a high social emphasis on childbirth and motherhood.
* Did you know that certain groups living in India believe that the creation of an avatar can be ‘translated’ as an incarnation? But an online avatar is another way of presenting your image in the virtual world, this doesn’t mean that one incarnates in another human being.
* Did you know that some people believe that the actions of an online avatar are not the responsibility of the real life user? They believe that through an avatar they can participate in an activity called trolling, they think their avatar enables them easily spread insults without being held accountable for them in their real life. It is definitely a new perspective to look at and it has started to be seriously considered by the courts and law enforcement with so many networking services and their users hiding behind this ‘alter ego’.
* Did you know that some religious people believe that avatars are a users’ method to separate their identity from the obligations they have in the real world? The same people claim that this ‘method’ comes as a test that God puts people through to check whether that person can be a bad or a good person. Now, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in God, this can indeed a way to show the true face of people; this is why some people see it as a good thing.
*Did you know the popularity of smartphones has seen more people using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. and therefore increaseing avatar usage?