Earlier today I was daydreaming about online and real world identity and anonymity. My daydream followed the theme of the short film from 2010 below: what if people appeared in the offline world like their primary online persona?
In the “Avatar Day” of my musing, there would be visual indications of the digital identity one uses the most. I’m picturing a lot of war gamers and zombie hunters, a whole band of Marios and Luigis, lots of kids who look like LEGO and Minecraft minifigs, some Wii Mii types, Flappy Birds and Angry Birds, and an assortment of WoW, SL, Sims, and other avatars. Sports figures, car thieves, and assassins. Perhaps casual gamers without an embodied experience would get a glowing icon above their heads: a letter tile from Words with Friends, a Candy Crush piece, online poker chips, or a mini image from Pogo. Of course, there’s much more online persona management beyond games and virtual worlds. Perhaps some would appear as forum trolls, Pinterest pins, online dating site Casanovas, Facebook Like buttons, Twitter birds, LinkedIn network icons, or texting emoji.
What would it look like to walk down the street that day? What surprises would there be? (Some people would be horrified by their own indicator or others, I’m sure.) How many people would have no digital identity indicator? Would attitudes shift? Would we feel frivolous and superficial or relieved at how much company we have? Hmm.
What a silly daydream. I blame some particularly painful yoga asanas.