I think this is the first time I’ve sat down to write a story and been struck with the overwhelming sensation that I’m becoming old. I don’t understand Facebook avatars, I really just don’t see the appeal of making a little… face of yourself. Why not just use your real face? The avatars just look silly, like something you’d expect to see in a bad Dreamworks movie. Yet they’re clearly popular enough to warrant some kind of expansion as Facebook announced this morning that specialised “Avatars for Africa” are being implemented into the social media platform.
If you don’t know what a Facebook Avatar is you’ve no doubt seen one floating around the internet at some point. Basically, they’re little cartoon versions of a user’s face that you can post on Facebook or send via Messenger. I don’t find anything appealing about their design but I suppose they’re a quirky way to express emotions through text. Avatars in Africa is essentially an expansion of the system that allows users not based in America and Europe to create a little identity more suited to them.
“Facebook is home to some of your most personal content and we want to allow people to share and react to that content in the most personalised way possible,” says Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director of Facebook Africa. “We’re excited to give people more options to convey their identity on Facebook, allowing them to share in a more personal, light-hearted way.”
Which is actually great, I’m all about inclusion. Which still doesn’t change the fact that Facebook avatars are dumb and I don’t like them and maybe I’m grumpy and old because back in my day you could just “poke” someone at that was all the expression we needed. Kids these days, I swear.
If you want to create a Facebook avatar, the process is simple. Just head to either the Facebook comment composer or Messenger, click the “smiley” button and then the “sticker” tab. You’ll be greeted with a “Create you Avatar” feature which will let you design your cartoon self. You can then use this personalised emoji to comment on posts, respond to messages and create stories.