Online Personas and the New Web Avatars
The idea of an online persona has become so commonplace that it’s almost easy to forget how recent of a concept it really is. Over the last few years Facebook, Tumblr and other sites have become the go to platforms for teens and Millennials to seamlessly merge their real lives into an online persona that’s equal parts reality mixed with a good helping of hyperbole. Online personas and avatars have become a normal and conventional part of a social media presence where people can easily elaborate on their real world identity while creating a new amalgam where your real life becomes part of a virtual world.
Part of this phenomenon comes from the normalcy most teens feel when going online. They don’t really see any separation between the real world and social media and they view their online profiles as merely an extension of their actual personalities. If you literally grow up within Internet culture then it never really seems false or inorganic; it just becomes another layer of your actual life. Some people take this concept further and create online personas for themselves where they can evolve into any idea they want and shape and mold each and every variable that personifies their online presence.
With the Internet and especially the evolution of new web culture an online persona is easily attainable for anyone that wants to participate. You can create a multifaceted presence within social media by incorporating different elements of your persona through the various online platforms. You can tweet about your avatar’s daily minutia, you can post pics of yourself and your scope of influences on your Tumblr, you can post webcam snapshots or entire vids on your vimeo or Youtube while personally interacting as your persona on your Facebook wall. Each platform becomes another layer of your avatar that eventually accumulates and begins to personify your entire “brand” as a whole.
That’s almost what these avatars turn into, depending on the extent someone wants to get involved or what they’re attempting to accomplish with their persona. Dracula in Dior is a blog that covers current fashion trends from the perspective of a fashion obsessed vampire. Although it’s a persona that’s slightly less real world accented then some other examples, its still exemplifies the infinite possibilities one can incorporate when developing their own persona, avatar, or online brand
Molly Soda has definitely become one of the standout stars of the new web Tumblr era, and her brand has become really well represented through every online platform, eventually leading to physical press like her interview in the underground culture magazine SuperSuper. There’s numerous examples of people that develop an online persona for themselves, whether purposefully or letting it organically evolve over time, which could potentially become as influential for others as some of their own personal persona influences.
That’s another aspect that’s so interesting about the phenomenon of social media avatars. It’s still such a new concept that’s its evolving everyday and someone could start a Tumblr based on aspects of the avatars of other personas and if they’re innovative and standout enough their own “avatar” could eventually come to influence others, and the process and culture would keep evolving and changing from there.
That’s what’s so intriguing for the current crop of tweens, teens, and other Millennials that spend a majority of their waking hours online. Within a certain extent you really can be anything you want online. Sometimes when reality interferes with this concept as in the “documentary” Catfish the results aren’t exactly what’s initially expected, but for the most part developing your own persona or avatar online in the context of creative pursuits only serves to expand your brand and the extent of your creative possibilities.
A lot of people’s online personas incorporate aspects of their real life personality but they expand upon them to include qualities people might feel their lacking or wish they had in real life. That’s why so much of this new culture is so attractive for tweens, teens, and almost anyone who’s grown up or to a certain was extent raised by the Internet. You can be anything online you can dream up and it doesn’t matter which aspects are real or which are hyperbole; they all eventually coalesce into an amorphous mush that’s one part organism and one part entirely virtual until the two are virtually indistinguishable from one another.