Gone are the days of having to express your complex thoughts with a simple like, sad, happy, angry, or thumbs up reaction on Facebook. The world’s leading social media giant has officially rolled out an avatar feature, eerily similar to that available on Apple’s iPhones. Following the successful roll out of the feature in Australia and Europe, the feature has officially launched in the U.S. Now, users can use their avatars in comments, stories, and over messenger. With that being said, Facebook’s Bitmoji-like avatars might not be such a good thing, let’s look into it.
Facebook Rolls Out Avatar Feature
The new Facebook avatar feature has officially been launched in the U.S. Fidji Simo, head of Facebook’s app, said: “So much of our interactions these days are taking place online, which is why it’s more important than ever to be able to express yourself personally on Facebook.” Simo added, “With so many emotions and expressions to choose from, avatars let you react and engage more authentically with family and friends across the app.”
All good and well, right? Particularly in a time where many of us are social distancing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. At first glance, the avatar feature might seem more like a silly gimmick than anything else, but it’s proven how quickly social distancing can turn into social isolation.
Social Distancing and Lockdown Measures are Affecting Millions Worldwide
With more than 5 million Covid-19 cases worldwide, social distancing policies are in full effect. This is of course absolutely necessary – “flattening the curve” is vital to our collective survival. Still, with social distancing comes social isolation.
As humans, we’re inherently social creatures, and going so long without human contact can be detrimental to our mental health. Already, mental health experts are reporting that they’ve seen an increase in anxiety and depression cases, and it makes total sense as to why.
Most of us suffer with some form of mental health issue at some point in our lives – but the scale of this crisis is unprecedented and we won’t know the true ramifications for some time.
Facebook’s new avatar feature can, in many ways, be seen as a way to reignite social connection. Realistically though, it only fuels the fire of isolation. Facebook’s avatars are only a shallow reminder of what it feels like to have a real connection – or is that a reach?
Ultimately, we can’t read too much into them – but are we so desperate for human interaction that we’ll resort to substituting it for Facebook’s avatars?
Facebook’s Bitmoji-like avatars really might not be such a good thing, but only time will tell.
Avatars Aren’t That Serious – But the Looming Mental Health Crisis Is
Facebook’s Bitmoji-like avatars might not be such a good thing, though they seem incredibly superficial on the surface. In reality they’re nothing more than one of the social media giant’s attempts to stay relevant, but there is the underlying current that inherently implies more. As Covid-19 surges ahead, the mental health crisis intensifies – these avatars are only a symptom of a much larger global issue of isolation and loneliness.