22 April 2020
Facebook is currently the biggest social network on the planet but in the past few years, it has been facing tough competition from rivals, especially Snapchat. This is the reason it keeps looking for ways to reinvent itself and with the same goal, Facebook has launched the Avatar feature for News Feed and Messenger in Australia.
As you might have guessed by now, Avatars are basically digitalized versions that look like you. These are currently being used by various apps like Snapchat's Bitmoji. It is something that is quite popular among youth as they provide tons of customization options to make one's Avatar completely unique. It provides an opportunity for users to create something that resembles them or something that they would like to be.
It should be noted that even though Facebook Avatar creation is currently limited to Australia, all created avatars will be visible worldwide. The creation functionality is expected to arrive for the rest of the countries by the end of 2019 or beginning of the next year. This phase can also be seen as a testing phase to see how people react to the feature and what they do with it.
The process of creating Avatars on Facebook is quite simple and straightforward. Facebook has added a new smiley-faced button that is visible in the Messenger app's sticker selection box and News Feed's comment composer area. There are currently about 18 traits that can be customized which range from skin color, hairstyle, clothing items, and accessories among others. Once created, they can be used in direct conversations, group conversations, and comments on Facebook posts.
One important thing to know is that Facebook does not offer the ability to create avatars by clicking a selfie or by uploading an existing picture. It means the whole process is completely manual for the time being where a user needs to do everything on his own. The team is working on the technology for automatic avatar creation but is ready to wait until it is reliable enough to be used by millions of users.
Interestingly, Apple is also foraying into the Avatar territory as it announced iOS 13 with Memoji profile avatar support. These avatars can be used within the messages application. And like any other avatar offering, it is packed with tons of customizations options. It seems like after years of relying on simple and mundane profile pictures, cool digital avatars are the future of social media and internet presence.