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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Virtual population explosion 


my rose
Drawing on this report that predicts that 80% of internet users will be using avatars in a virtual world by 2011, Victor Keagan, writing in the Guardian, imagines a future in which your avatar can move across sites and between worlds. A nice idea but will corporate interests prevent it? From my perspective, I’m interested in how we’re represented onscreen in so many different ways – as a user name, a ‘buddy icon’, a tag-line and graphic in MSN, or a walking-talking avatar in a virtual world….and they all feel a little different. I use the same ‘buddy icon’ on Flickr and Blogger, but my 43things/Allconsuming one is a bit out of date (isn’t it time to change that hairdo?). I’ve also been using an off-the-shelf avatar in the virtual world, although I always choose the same one, but as Victor Keegan suggests some people have a number of avatars. I like the idea of being able to present myself differently, but I’m also very excited by the possibility of crossing boundaries in the future that Keegan envisions.

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