chapter  17
Face to Face: Avatars and Mobile Identities
ByKATHY CLELAND
Pages 16

With the growing pervasiveness of screen-based communication technologies, including personal computers and mobile phones, face-to-face communication is increasingly becoming augmented and in some cases even replaced by mediated screen-to-screen communication. With this growth of screen-based communication, the self is continually being mediated, remediated,1 and intermediated2 as it is networked and distributed through a variety of different media forms. We present ourselves as visual images on Web sites, in blogs, games, virtual worlds, IM windows and chat sites, and on mobile phones. As well as traditional indexical images such as photographs and videos, the avatar-a graphical 2D or 3D representation of the self-is increasingly becoming a familiar presence in online and computer-mediated environments such as games, virtual worlds, chat spaces, and now mobile phones. This chapter investigates how avatars are increasingly starting to act and interact as proxies for our physical selves, and looks at the sociotechnical forces shaping the design and use of these new avatar identities as they migrate from games and the Web to mobile phones.