Who’s yer Avatar see in the mirror?

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When you go to an online forum, chatroom, or read comments on blogs, you’ve probably noticed that some people use what appears to be their real name or perhaps the nickname they’re called by friends and family while many more use a screen name they reserve just for use online. Screen Names allow a person to have some level of anonymity which can offer a sense of emotional security, if not real security, and it’s that subtle sense of separateness from one’s “real world” self that often allows people to explore new sides of their personality, to speak their minds, to share their emotions without fear of retaliation, rejection, being laughed at, or ignored. The ways in which people go about selecting a screen name I’m sure varies a great deal and I’ve often found myself wondering where some of the names come from and why they were selected – did the user simply just like the sound of the syllables? Had they selected the name of a favorite character from a book, movie, or game? Were they trying to project a specific image of themselves that they believe will be attractive to certain people they’d like more attention from? Does the name reflect how they think of themselves – or how they’d like to think of themselves? Certainly, some people just randomly select a screen name because they are required to but I have a hunch that most people actually put some thought into it.

If I were a sociologist, I think it’d make a very interesting study, the choice of screen names, and of course along with that would be the Avatar that people select for themselves, as well. And does it say anything about the person who doesn’t have a personalized avatar? Does it mean they’re just not technically savvy enough to know how to go about it (whether in creating their own or finding one they like online and either registering it to a website like Gravatar so it gets automatically associated with their name when responding to blog posts or uploading it to their account at a specific forum) – or does it mean they’re anti-social or snobs – or just have no personality to begin with? Could be any or all of those reasons or some other reason entirely. Maybe I’m just nosy or have too much time on my hands, but I’m curious and think about things like this. It kinda goes along with my idea about creating as a new scientific field, forensic desktop reading. ;-)

If you’d like to have your own custom avatar but just haven’t found one you like yet, perhaps one of these will tickle your fancy.

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