Up until recently, when many of us talked about our social media presence, we often referred to it as our online life. We’d often refer to our offline life as our real life. However, as technology and social media becomes an increasing part of our daily lives, more and more of us are realizing that there isn’t a distinction between our offline lives and our online lives. It is all our real life, and it’s who we are.
Since many times we never get to meet our online friends (sometimes we do, you can read one of those stories here), the question comes up again about avatars. I’ve written about this before in Presenting The Real You On Twitter. Do you think it’s important to portray a real picture of yourself on social media sites, or is it okay to create an avatar that might not represent what you really look like? It’s a question in which I’ve heard arguments for both sides.
Since in the online gaming world there isn’t really an option to post a real picture, of course there is a little more room for creativity. I read today about how some kick ass gaming women use a man as an avatar because they think it makes them look stronger and more powerful. Some men use avatars of women or girls because they like to be underestimated. It’s fascinating psychology for sure. I remember several years ago when photographer Robbie Cooper published the book Alter Ego: Avatars and Their Creators. His goal was to reveal the differences between how gamers playing MMORGs view themselves online as compared to how they look in real life. The photographs below are part of his collection.