Thursday, November 15, 2007

Avatars and Online Identity

Avatars are important! I believe as online communication increases and as virtual worlds become more commonplace, the avatar we choose to be, becomes part of our online identity.

We buy books at Amazon, music from iTunes; we buy and sell items on eBay. Use a credit card or PayPal and you can buy whatever you want.

Establishing online identity is a vital concern for many forms of online communication and online transactions. This is certainly important in business and financial transactions. It is also important in other areas, for example, online voting and other areas of online activity where verifying who you say you are is who you are.

Certainly, privacy issues are extremely important. However, in many real world transactions, we need to establish identity. When you write a check or use a credit card, often you are asked to display your driver's license. When you apply for a job, you need to present different forms of ID to verify that you can work in the United States legally. When you register to vote you need to verify your identity.

I am a strong privacy rights advocate. However, I do believe that in the online or virtual worlds, there are times that you need to verify your identity.

Avatars are one method to do this. Maybe PayPal can use avatars as an additional method to help verify one's identity. Maybe online customers should establish an avatar to represent their online identity.

Online identity is an important issue. It will definitely grow as online business and virtual worlds continue to grow. It will become more important as online communication grows.

Your online identity is extremely important. Avatars are one way to help define this valuable asset.

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