Definition of Avatar

Avatars were once refered to as the descent of God to Earth in mortal form the Indo-Aryan language Sanskrit. Since 1985 it was used to describe the digital representation of ones self.

Wikipedia Definition Of 'Avatar':

An avatar is a computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego, whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games, a two-dimensional icon (picture) used on Internet forums and other communities, or a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs. It is an “object” representing the embodiment of the user. The term "avatar" can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.

Reference URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(computing)

Dictionary.com Definition of 'Avatar':

  • An embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life.
  • Computers. a graphical image that represents a person, as on the Internet.

Reference URL: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/avatar

Where Avatars Exist

Avatars have evolved into many different forms and will continue to evolve with the evolution of Social technologies and tools. The following list outlines areas where Avatars are most popular:

  • Desktop/Icon Avatar: the image is used to represent its purpose
  • Favicons: used in URLs and Tabs for Marketing and Advertising
  • Virtual World Avatars (MMORPGs)/Avatar Representation
  • Help Avatar-Microsoft Office Assistant

The Use of Avatars

There are many reasons why Avatars are widely used in Social Technologies:

  • It provides an extended version of its creator in to a virtual world or in Gamer profiles (Second Life, World of Warcraft, Zoombinis, PS2, XBox 360 Live)
  • The interests of the creator are portrayed by the avatar.
  • To Escape from the real world to a virtual world.
  • Enjoying the activities you can do in a virtual world that is unable to be done in the real world-disabilities or the gamer unable to skate in life but is able to in the virtual world.
  • Socialising with different people from all over the world in virtual environments (Second Life, World of Warcraft, PS2, XBox Live, MSN, Yahoo)
  • Experimenting with the virtual world and the objects available- MSN: Video Conferencing, group convos/ Second Life: Create your own virtual business/ XBox 360 Live: Be the best gamer by challenging people from all over with the games available on XBox 360 Live

Avatar Examples

You can create Avatars to show a persons emotion, personal view, dreams etc. Avatars are created for many reasons and there are many different types of Avatars available. Avatars can be used to illustrate the identity of oneself through actions carried out by the one using the Avatar.

Virtual worlds:A person who may not be entirely good at a skill being confident or be able to take part in activities sport may create an avatar to carry out the activities they wish they could do. In virtual gaming it can be very easy to get carried away with the life you create for your avatar, people create avatars to escape the real life to explore a world of oppertunities.

Image of the Avatar:Avatars are used in everyday life either to advertise or to perform as a way of communication to people in everyday life and on the internet. Alot of people who may lack in self-esteem or feel low about themselves may create an Avatar of who they want to be- an image which represents their inner being. Some create their Avatar to represent their true appearance, some create an Avatar from experimenting with the tools available and some use images which represent their interests. There are many different types and uses for Avatars it all depends on the way a person feels when creating their Avatar.

How To Create an Avatar

Avatars can also be:

* a bookcover of something you enjoyed from your library's online catalog (easy and fast)
* a photograph of something you drew or made yourself (easy if you have the photo already)
* an avatar someone else made (easy; however picking one out can be time-consuming)
* your library's logo or a picture of your library card (easy if you have the photo already)
* a photograph of your pet(s) (easy if you have the photo already)
* An avatar from a free avatar maker (very fun, but time-consuming and the difficulty depends on the generator)

Reference URL:http://bakersdozenarizona.wetpaint.com/page/%232+-+Avatars,+Identity+and+Privacy?t=anon


To summarise the virtual image of the 'Avatar' is to simply say that Avatars are a tool in technology and the virtual environment. Avatars are simply used to represent a person, an emotion,a dream or anything. Avatars are very good to use, as they can provide security and trust and make a person feel relaxed or happy- Avatars can also be bad, misleading, offensive and troublesome, due to the way the Avatar is chosen or created by its user. An avatar can be seen to be evil if the user makes it seem evil i.e. facial expressions, animation etc. an avatar can be offensive and misleading if they are being used to pretend they are a person in the real world. It all comes down to the user of the Avatar and how they feel their avatar should be.

From the definitions given Avatars can be created within games and writing, a few sites which allow you to create Avatars are as follows:

Avatars are fun and enjoyable to experiment with!
It is part of Social technology, the Social Community and functions within virtual worlds.1

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