Although avatars and online presence and the idea of telepresence (an idea introduced to me when I saw Eduardo Kac speak at U-M) interest me, I can't help but think that someday a man will type, "Of course I noticed your avatar's new haircut, honey," while his wife's avatar reddens in the face.
Also, the idea of mocking someone by creating an avatar caricature amuses me greatly:
Janet Weisenfreund discovered an avatar with huge maroon lips wearing giant purple sunglasses and bohemian-style loose clothing named after her on ESPN.com.
"I certainly consider it an invasion of my privacy," said Weisenfreund, a middle school teacher who said she did not create the avatar and describes her real style as "Talbots classical."
But the last 2 paragraphs are the most important. David Kopp says people want a more personal experience. I think that's entirely true. Betsy Book says, "We finally have this medium which is disembodied and free of the physical, and here we are busily trying to re-create ourselves," but I think she only gets it part right. Some people are trying to recreate themselves, or rather, recreate themselves as they are in their own minds. But I think the medium is not attractive to us because it is disembodied and free of the physical—that's its biggest detractor. Of course we want to sense the presence of other people, of course we want it to be more like the physical. The medium is attractive because it is immediate, because it renders geography meaningless, and we have so much control over the medium (or our experience of the medium). But people want their experience of it to feel as real as possible.