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Judge Me Not by My Avatar!


by azellica

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Let’s face it; an avatar can say a lot about a person’s interests. But let’s not be so hasty to judge a person on their avie!

For example; I, Azellica, am a loyal minion of Sloth. In fact, when I’m not at the Space Station, I generally chat on the Virtupets board with some of my fellow loyalists, formulating endless plots for the domination of Neopia. It happened a few months ago while I was sporting the Illusen’s Glade avatar. I and several other minions began to form an intricate plot to present to Master Sloth. I won’t go into details as the plan is strictly confidential but the point is that one of my fellow minions doubted my loyalty to Our Great Master because of my avatar!

I’ll admit that an Illusen avie does not give the impression of a super faithful evil follower of Sloth, but, as I’m trying to say, we shouldn’t be using avatars to judge people! The most evil, sinister Neopian citizen could skip about the boards with a pink Cybunny avie and no one would suspect their true nature.

Now, I don’t spend a lot of time collecting avies, but I do use the neoboards quite often and I have realized that an avatar can say a lot. Let me explain what I believe to be some of the common avatar assumptions.

Newbies-

Allow me to ask you a question. When someone is using the classic yellow default avie, doesn’t it practically scream newbie? I mean, this person is so new to neopets that they haven’t even bothered to switch their avatar! Therefore, it is logical to conclude that this avatar is used by newbies.

Now, in most cases, I imagine this conclusion would be correct. Just how many older users do you see with the default avie on display? But again, let’s not judge! I might just switch to the old default avatar with the purpose of confusing you all. ;)

Also, the basic pet avatars tend to indicate newbie status as they are available to everyone. But don’t be hasty; I have met some older Neopian citizens with the pet avatars on display!

Interests-

I believe this one is a bit self-explanatory. If you have an Acara avie, you like Acaras. If you have a Moach avatar, you like Moaches. These assumptions are easy to make as avatars are usually used to display your interests. But wait a minute...

As I said, I am a faithful Sloth minion, so why don’t I use a Sloth related avatar? And why, if I’m on the ‘evil side’, am I currently displaying the cute little Snicklebeast avie? Hmm ... I guess avatars don’t always display your interests. In fact, the reason I’m not using a Sloth related avatar is because I don’t really like any of the ones I have and the reason for the Snicklebeast avie is because I’m showing off my new latest one. So really, an avatar doesn’t always reveal a person’s interests. That’s just another common paradigm we seem to easily fall into.

Personality-

This one is a bit more skeptical, but I believe it’s worth mentioning. I have found that certain avatars seem to give the impression of what a person is like. Permit me permission to explain. Does not the Soup Fairy avatar register a subconscious impression of generosity? And, don’t the pirate avies almost promote the notion of aggressive determination? I have many a time, gotten the feeling of wisdom from the Island Mystic and the sense of creativity from the Jazzmosis Elephante.

Of course, these impressions are based on connecting the user to the subject of their avatar. And this isn’t always good thing to do. I’d like to return to my example of being judged un-Slothy because of my Illusen’s Glade avie. My fellow Sloth supporters linked Illusen’s righteousness to me and assumed that I was also a do-gooder. You see what I mean? If I had had a Sloth avatar, my personality would have been assumed to be perfectly evil and I would have been immediately accepted.

Mood-

This one is quite similar to personality. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but different avies display different moods. The ‘grey fairie’ avatar as well as the ‘gloomy’ avie both give the impression of depression whereas avies like the ‘quiggle-cheesy grin’ seem to imply that the user is happy. I’ve found that I have often connected the expression on an avatar with the person using it. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Well, it is. People’s moods change all the time, but their avie will stay the same unless they change it.

Skill-

Ah, yes, the game avatars. They certainly are a good way of proving you’re a pretty good player! I’m afraid the only one in my possession is the ‘Meepit vs Feepit’ avie! I don’t really think that you can wrongfully judge someone with these. After all, if they have the avie, they have the skill it took to get it! So if someone has the ‘Whack-a-Kass” avatar, then they earned it.

There are many more things that avatars can say, but I believe that these are some of the more common ones.

The point I have been trying to make is that avatars don’t always give you accurate information about a person. They’re not even supposed to! So why do we use them to make assumptions about people? Well, most likely because when you’re plotting the downfall of Neopia with your fellow minions, you don’t really have any way of knowing what the others are like. And since a person’s avie is right beside every message they post, it is very tempting to start drawing conclusions about a person, based on their avatar.

So next time, you’re chatting on the neoboards, remember that an avatar doesn’t really tell you that much about a person. And if you ever find me on the Virtupets board, plotting the end of the world, judge me not by my avatar!

 
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