How I Started Contemplating My Metaverse Avatar
the invention of self in the Metaverse
When I was a child, I always wanted to be blonde. I had a feeling this hair color automatically makes your heart lighter, gets you more friends and gets you to become the life of the party. This association was created by a range of factors starting from Barbie dolls of my time being mostly fair-haired, Marylin Monroe iconic skirt performance, and up to a majority of comedy movies with blonde characters that seemed like easier and more approachable people. Silly stereotype reflecting how brainwashed media can get us. Now I am wearing a thick dark mahogany red hair color that is essentially black.
Metaverse immersion and the expansion of VR will set new questions ahead of us. Will we still chase the dream of the Perfect Self? If you can choose to be anything and anybody, how will you act? What choices will you make? What colors and styles, fonts and symbols, genders and identities will represent your personality the best way in the new make-belief universes?
Ernest Cline’s 2011 science-fiction novel Ready Player One — turned into a 2018 film by Steven Spielberg — takes place in 2045, when our planet has been gripped by an energy crisis and rapid climate change. With the physical world falling apart, humans spend most of their waking hours in the OASIS, an immersive virtual reality universe. The OASIS has become mankind’s playground. In the protagonist’s words:
The OASIS is a place where the limits of reality are your own imagination. You can do anything, go anywhere. Like the Vacation Planet. You can surf a 50-foot monster wave in Hawaii, you can ski down the Pyramids, you can climb Mount Everest with Batman.
Then, the protagonist says something profound:
People come to the OASIS for all the things they can do, but they stay because of all the things they can be.
Is there such a thing of Perfect Self anyway?
What will become of us as these new avatars? Is there a digital nation of perfectly buffed up bodybuilders and fashionistas, or will we embrace our diversity, overcome our insecurities and build our own true selves in these ? What kind of new connections will we be able to create thanks to the Metaverse — professionally and personally?
Will we choose to be our realistic selves or create a persona that is completely different? What set of personal qualities will we choose: a personable life of the party, a tech geek, or
Another question, is whether we’d build our light and dark avatars to reflect of each set of qualities we possess? Will we need even more avatars than 2 or 3? How much is enough to self-express?
Is it an opportunity to become more of what we are as a physical entity, go beyond what we are born into, or is it a chance to lose ourselves and our identity in the ocean of opportunities that Metaverse will have to offer.Is the concept even new?
Scazy is a digital avatar that was born in 2016. Scazy’s face is a smiley emoji which makes him extremely relatable to everyone. Scazy had a girlfriend, another digital-only character Lil Miquela, a 19-year robot living in LA, and now Scazy started seeing a virtual 24 year-old VR chef Sasha.
It might sound crazy but we have lived in the world of fictional characters from the moment humanity was born — in the form of myths, legends, first religions. Some creators gave life to dozens at the same time and even produced universes like the ones of the Game of Thrones, Middle-earth or Hogwarts. Those imaginary worlds gave emotions to billions of people, alongside with real jobs in the economy too. The limit is the imagination. The difference is the level of immersion and technology behind what has already been created by the human mind.
Scazy’s creator, artist Zorian, decided to put his more real self into Metaverse with Metazorian. It received 3 times the size of Scazy’s following on Instagram. Here’s Metazorian’s statement on the matter:
My name is Zōrian. I welcome you to the Metaverse. This new dimension has only recently appeared in our life. Some of us are ready to splicing here, others are afraid. But we are here and we are communicating!In the Metaverse, I have two avatars that I created myself. Each of them helps me to realize certain possibilities of my personality. The cartoon avatar @scazy embodies my dark side. A realistic avatar @metazorian embodies my light side. Avatars allow you to express yourself in different ways. That’s what I do. I’ve been passionate about self-realization and I know how important it is to express our feelings, realize our plans, create and be realized. It so happened that I intuitively discovered and began to practice the tools that are an integral part of web3.0 today. The prototype of my first avatar appeared back in 2011. @scazy was born in 2016. @metazorian in 2021.
Where will things take place?
Look at this jazzy Christmas cafe. Wouldn’t it be great to sit in an artificial but so real place like that without wearing a mask, in the comfort of your home?
How about this tropical island beach? No need for airplane tickets, waiting in lines and taking the risks of the flight cancellation.
We are also well acquainted with the world of games, so nothing new for us here. According to Statista, Latin America has 274 million gamers, the Middle East/Africa has 388 million, and Europe has 391 million. The most astounding audience is in Asia, though, with 1.5 billion gamers. That means that, worldwide, the number of gamers in the world as of 2020 was roughly 2.77 billion people. 68% of American adults (163.3 million) are gamers, while 70% of American kids aged 18 and below (or 51.1 million) are gamers, too (ESA, 2020).
There are more than 171M VR users worldwide. 78% of Americans are familiar with VR technology now. 19% of the entire population use VR technologies regularly in 2021. The industry is forecasted to grow several times by the end of 2022.
What will Personal Brands mean in the Metaverse?
We’ve defined above that creating characters and imaginary or real places in the digital space are nothing new. VR and AR technologies have also been around for a couple of years. So the new thing is that now you and me actually get to put ourselves in real-time interaction with these new tools. What does it mean for us? How do we stand out populating this new hype planet where there are multi-million real estate deals already?
The journey of the Metaverse will stay similar to real life in many ways. You still have to find your people, your Tribe. You still have to find Audiences that you bring value to. Their descriptions and attributes become more sociographic as compared to demographic (age, gender, appearance and geographic location matter a lot less in the Metaverse populated with avatars) but values, purpose and integrity start to matter even more.
How do we start this journey? Let’s go step-by-step.
A little exercise for you:
Choose one adjective from the list below and try to build associations with it in comments — what comes to mind? How would you express that quality in an Metaverse avatar?
13. Non judgemental