by: Idris Mootee
Just as you thought the buzz of avatar is over, a new app now allows your avatar to join Facebook. Alter Ego was created by M iChameleon in conjunction with Coca-Cola’s digital team in London.
It allows you to paste a photo of your face onto an avatar which can then be tweaked and customized with a selection of trendy threads. Your avatar can go partying with your Facebook buddies, or to go out and make some new friends at the Burn Alter Ego bar. The next day, photos of their (or rather your) exploits are automatically uploaded along with details of the evening, documented in a special blog. Cool idea indeed but not sure if your avatar would only be allowed to drink Coke on his/her night out.
You need to decide how often your avatar goes out to tear it up, however, as far as we are aware there is not yet a penalty point system in place for hangovers, so the more your avatar socializes the better. As your profile is boosted on the Burn Alter Ego scene, more souvenirs are provided from each night out, the more you hang out the more cool stuff you will get. This is probably most ambitious and technically advanced applications seen on Facebook to date.
The creator describes Burn Alter Ego as giving users ‘the freedom to maximize your social life beyond reality". OK, we are already getting all kinds of invite to join Facebook everyday and imagine if your avatar is an active partying animal, everyday he will bring you tons of new friends that you may not want. Partying has side effects too.
If you think you can escape the interuptions of advertising in the virtual world you're wrong. These virtual worlds and identities are designed for your escaping the mundanity and vicissitudes of real life which apparently lack excitement. Marketers are not giving up the invasion of this escapsim by real world hucksters. Engagement in one environment does not translate into engagement in your environment. Interruptive marketing is here to stay, there's no escape.