Bear with me on this one, folks. I have to get this off of my chest.
I am not of the Instant Messaging herd. I'm a stay at home mom, so there's no need to Instant Message my way through interminable meetings. And if I tried to Instant Message my way through life with my five year old, he'd turn into an axe murderer. However, I Instant Message a bit when I'm doing internet volunteer work with my friend Wendy.
Yesterday, I was using Yahoo's Instant Message function. I noticed the new avatar program. At least I think it's new. Cute. I don't bite with most of the internet "Look! It's the Coke(TM) logo. Let's play" stuff (did I mention that too much computer time for mom turns junior into an axe murderer?), but I gave it a try. What an awesome idea.
I went in and created someone. Gosh. Did I want goo goo eyes, big baby eyes, ordinary sloe eyes, eyes that look like an asian after 10 drinks, or just ... wierd eyes. Ahem. This is it? So I chose the ordinary sloe eyes. Little ones. Then I moved on to hair. And my heart sank. It's bunny land. Ick. It was then that I realized that this avatar function was for young folks, teens and twenties. Yup. It's the year 2005 and Yahoo has created a Cosmo-look for the masses.
Hear my cry: I want an avatar for people who are married with kids, feeling kind of schlumpy, mildly bitchy, and just flat-out *difficult.* I want an avatar so that I can explore my psychotic side while talking with people. I want an avatar so that my perimenopausal girlfriends and I can convey our ever-more-complex moods to one another - instantly, dude. How about someone who is, like 240 pounds. There have to be at least six different 240-lb interesting body types, you know? Male, female, heck, what about a transvestite look? 280 pound transvestite, black, blonde, tattooed ... you know. And with better clothes. Uniforms are always fun. Nurses, meter readers, postal clerks... Maybe just a pair of biking shorts?
I mean, let's think about it. An avatar should be fun. An avatar should be cool! But most of all, an avatar should be alternative
. Now that I have had a child and my brain cells are toast, I have started watching some TiVo TV at the end of the day, and I have to tell you that the advertisements on TV are a hoot. Very different from how they used to be. Seems like they're letting the 22 year olds have a blast. But Yahoo has apparently put in the Utah contingent to create avatars.
Don't believe me? Check out the outfits or, better yet, the "backgrounds." Excuse me? Folks, these are valium-taking, slit your wrists backgrounds. Dressed in perfect little matching outfits, holding a rake with leaves, in front of a nice suburban house. Ick. These avatars look like Martha Stewart with a razor cut. I cannot imagine someone trying to look like that as an avatar unless they're a child molester.
Here's what I want. Shark teeth. Wouldn't that be cool? They have the technology to morph it right onto human facial characteristics, and it would be your only chance to sharkily leer at people. Or you could use it if you were, say, Instant Messaging someone to collect on an unpaid debt. Or negotiating a marriage settlement! And why stop there. William Gibson, here we come!
Or how about this one. Dumpy. Yes. Not chicklet-like. Like 150 lbs at five foot two. And for clothes... how about a pink fluffy bathrobe and slippers? And how about another option -- the same clothes, but really dirty? I'm thinking that,instead of the chic razor cut they offer something disheveled, with a one large curler in, the rest falling out look. And carrying.... Hmmn. Not a perfect rake but perhaps a beer?
Yahoo. Loosen up. Or release the API and let people create their own avatars. I just don't believe that it's 2005, the hip hop folks rule the fashion scene (?) and Yahoo's got a bunch of cake-carrying, turkey-hugging, leaf-raking bunny razor cut clones for the kids to play with.