Avatars, Identity, and Self-Concept

Avatars, Identity, and Self-Concept

Avatars have become the main identity hints for most people, and the type of avatars created are likely to shape their self-representations as well as change how people communicate with others. The type of avatar created also determines the kind of impressions and impacts people want to convey on social media platforms. Choosing an avatar is based on four embodied features including behaviors, visual appearances, voices, and interactions with others (James et al., 2017). Avatars provide individuals which better opportunities for altering their physical representations. Avatars can be customized depending on the circumstances of people. Additionally, they help in reducing the lack of humanity by creating rapport and connecting emotionally when their gestures, behaviors, and interactions seem genuine. The use of avatars not only promotes better interactions online but also provides some sense of perceptual judgments and presence.

My avatar fits into the norms of the dominant culture since its appearance fits that of my generation. This means the way we dress and how we like to have fun. I believe I have created an avatar that is an accurate representation of my cultural and personal identity. My self-expression and reputations are influenced by my visual representations whether it is just a simple text or a full-bodied structure and these things mean the world to me. I created my avatar based on my achievements along with appearances which serve as the most significant contribution to my identity. Despite the advantages of using avatars for online representation of personal identity, research reveals some ethical implications. According to Lau (2017), there are many ethical issues of using avatars that seem detached from the fear real world’s consequences such as spamming, illegal file sharing, identity deception, and multiple identities. Other ethical implications range from professional ethics, breach of privacy to harassment.

If I had to be of the opposite gender my avatar would is a woman in a 3.0-woman body, thin body, and somewhat bigger legs due to the body base she has. Her skin tone would be lighter and fairer. Her hair would be colored light brown with two butterfly-shaped hairpins on the front left and right sides of it. She wears a suit that consists of a white blouse, purple blazer, and skirt. She also wears a pair of black-red high heels coupled with pastel brown tights. She also has some accessories on her face and hair including a pair of rose gold round glasses, a pink pom-pom headband, and a pink heart hairpin on the back with arrows resembling a reverse Volvo logo

People make initial judgments about another person usually based on their appearance. If individuals ever encounter someone who treats them with disrespect simply based on external qualities, such as clothing, skin color, hairstyle, height, width, they are bound to change the way they act or the way they perceive the world. The choice made in my avatar’s appearance significantly reflects on my personality but I do not think it directly affects it to a great extent. But it does indirectly, in that other people act a certain way about my appearance which causes me to adopt a certain personality or attitude in response to them. My avatar’s appearance may have a small influence on my personality. If I hold a negative or positive perception about myself, those negative or positive thoughts are bound to affect my perception of those around me. For instance, if I have a positive perception of my looks, my body, my hair, anything about myself, I am bound to have confidence and happiness.

Self-esteem is one major factor that underlies the challenge of creating avatars as self-representations. Despite the advantages of editing and viewing an individual’s profile in enhancing self-esteem, people are often exposed to other people’s glorified and selective social self-representations which often decrease their self-esteem (Lau, 2017). For instance, people who frequently use avatars believe that other people are more successful and happier than themselves because of the pictures or videos they post on the sites. Thus, they are forced to create avatars that copy the lives of those who are already successful. James et al. (2017) allude that the extent of downward comparisons of people on Facebook is lower than their degree of upward online comparisons which tends to diminish their self-esteem. Facebook usage correlates with reduced self-esteem such that people who are frequently on Facebook and make a greater number of logins per day are associated with low self-esteem. Additionally, people occasionally have low self-esteem after receiving negative comments on their social media platforms as a result of their avatars.

In conclusion, avatars are becoming significant representations of people’s personalities and characters on social media. Even though avatars are made from people’s choices, their personalities can be communicated accurately to other people on social media platforms. I created an avatar that fits into the dominant culture and my identity. My avatar is a young adult in his early 20’s fitting into the current generation. If I was of the opposite gender my avatar would be a woman in a 3.0-woman body, with a thin body wearing a suit and red heels. A major implication for the misrepresentation of identity on social media is the lowering of self-esteem. This significantly affects the way individuals communicate with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

James, C., Davis, K., Charmaraman, L., Konrath, S., Slovak, P., Weinstein, E., & Yarosh, L. (2017). Digital life and youth well-being, social connectedness, empathy, and narcissism. Pediatrics, 140(Supplement 2), S71-S75.

Lau, W. W. (2017). Effects of social media usage and social media multitasking on the academic performance of university students. Computers in human behavior, 68(1), 286-291.

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